French Napoleon – History Test

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French Napoleon – History Test

The key terms of HistoryTest include, French Napoleon, Propaganda, Revolution.


Describe Napoleon’s propaganda and popularity:

– Napoleon was a skilled self-promoter: During his rise to power and particularly during the early years of his reign, he employed propaganda techniques to emphasize his leadership qualities and spread his message to the world.
– He claimed that his aim was to break down the national barriers in Europe for the benefit of different populations, bringing to them the advantages that France had gained from the revolution.
– He also made much of the claim that he was a liberator in his early campaign in Italy 1796.
– Napoleon embarked on large-scale public activities that were often intended as propaganda for his rule. When he invaded Egypt in 1798, he took archaeologists and historians with him to study and brink back ancient Egyptian records and artifacts.
– During his time as first consul, he encouraged the work of scientists. Famous French artists recorded Napoleon’s heroism and achievements.
– Festivals were organized throughout France in Napoleon’s honor.
– Napoleon had a series of medals to celebrate his accomplishments: Napoleon emphasized not only his military skills and his desire for peace, but also his role as a patron of the arts.
– Napoleon was keen to ensure that the French only received positive messages about his regime through policies of control and censorship. Napoleon established 6 newspapers, designed to spread his own messages to the widest possible spectrum of the French people.
– Theatres were controlled and used to gain popular support.


Explain the end of the Consulate:

– In 1804, Napoleon abandoned the Consulate and had himself crowned emperor. His coronation was a magnificent event, following the style of coronations of the French kings (except Napoleon placed the crown on his own head)
– Pope Pius VII was in attendance, to represent the approval of God and the Church- His position as emperor contradicted the idea of a republican government; Napoleon claimed that the change would unify the country enforcing the best features of the revolution.
– The establishment of the empire was confirmed by popular approval through plebiscites, giving the impression that France was a democracy however these votes were arranges to result in an overwhelming majority in favor of change.
– Napoleon styled himself “Emperor of the French” to emphasize his links to the general populace.
– The title ’emperor’ simply implied more grandeur than that of consul. Having an emperor might reconcile royalists to the new regime. It would have been too controversial to declare himself King, but emperor was a title known throughout Europe and would still ensure that the succession would be hereditary, unlike the elected consuls.
– Napoleon ruled in regal splendor from this time onwards. Like other emperors, he had a large court and placed an emphasis on ceremonies.
– His soldiers were given new uniforms and favored followers were bestowed with imperial titles.


What was the Napoleonic Legend?

– Napoleon may have arrived at a position of power controversially, but he soon gained the support of most of the French population. Although he ruled as a dictator and made little attempt to fulfill the revolutionary ideal of democracy, he was not a harsh leader.
– He encouraged people to forget the past, and only those who refused to do so were punished the extreme royalists and republicans would never have been won over.
– The most convincing proof of his popularity was his return from exile in 1814, with a great deal of popular support, he drove out and restored monarch Louis XVII and once more assumed power himself.
– It was not French uprising that defeated him, but foreign enemies.
– Napoleon’s fame and influence (often described as the Napoleonic legend) lasted long after his death in 1821. Many of his laws and methods of administration continued even under the restored monarchies from 1815 to 1848.
– In an effort to increase his own popularity, Louis Philippe allowed Napoleon’s body to be buried in Paris in an elaborate ceremony in 1840. His tomb still attracts thousands of visitors- French and foreign every year.


What economic changes regarding tax did Napoleon make?

– As first consul, Napoleon attempted to address France’s financial problems.
– The revolutionary governments had recognized that the inefficient tax system was a major issue.
– Before 1789, tax farmers were used in France- groups of financiers who have bought the right to collect taxes for the government.
– Tax farmers were widely unpopular among the French because they often took a large share of the money for themselves instead of paying it to the government.
– After 1789, local authorities responsible for collecting taxes had replaced the corrupt system of using tax farmers, but this move had not resolved the situation.
– Napoleon decided to use his own officials, the prefects to collect taxes.


What other economic changes did Napoleon make?

Napoleon confirms the Le Chapelier law, introduced in 1791 banning trade unions and making strikes illegal.
– When Napoleon came to power, there was no reliable banking system in France. After the Revolution, four banks were created but they did not have state backing and quickly foundered.
– The government-backed Bank of France was founded in 1800 and was run by the influential Swiss banker Jean Frédéric Perreguax.
– This strengthened France’s finances, although debts remained high due to war costs.


Explain Religion under Napoleon’s reign:

– The Church’s links with the monarchy and the ancien régime meant that it came under immediate attack when the revolution broke out.
– Napoleon was not religious but he recognized the importance of it for the French. Napoleon saw religion as a social bond, useful support for his government.
– Priests were still influential members of society, especially on the poor clergy who lived in villages.
– In 1801, he made a concordat with Pope Pius VII, Napoleon recognized Roman Catholicism in France. In return of this acknowledgement, he was allowed to nominate the men who would serve as bishops, usually those who supported his regime.
– The concordat was soon revised without reference to the pope.
– Papal bulls (official statements) could only be published in France with the permission of the first consul, and bishops placed under the authority of Napoleon’s prefects giving Napoleon immense power. He controlled the bishops who controlled the clergy.
– The church became an important agency for Napoleonic propaganda and centralized power.
– A few people believe that the pope made a poor bargain; some radicals opposed any deal with the Church. Most of the population was content- they had their churches and priests, but kept lands that the Church forfeited during the revolution.
– Minority groups such as Huguenots (French protestants) and Jews were tolerated and allowed to practice their religion free of persecution.
– Napoleon extended the policy of tolerance to territories that he conquered.


Describe the raid in Italy by Napoleon?

– Many believe that Napoleon wished to liberate Europe from the control of tyrant rulers and spread the high ideals of the French Revolution. Others think he was driven by the increasing desire for power, seeking only to enhance his own prestige.
– Under Napoleon’s leadership, France was almost continuously engaged in conflict with foreign powers.
– Napoleon went to Italy: France’s political interests were a more significant reason for French interference there than any feeling of responsibility towards the foreign-ruled Italians. The Directory saw this raid on Italy as a sideshow- the main attack on Austria was intended to be in the North and Napoleon’s expedition was meant primarily to divide the Austrian army. French gains in a treaty with Austria were considered to be more important than Napoleon’s successes in Italy.
– Napoleon’s foreign policy was an important reason why Napoleon gained power as first consul in 1799 and was later able to establish himself as emperor.


Explain Napoleon’s abdication:

– By 1799, the French people were comparing him with the directors whose success in governing France seemed limited however, once he was in power, France enjoyed only one year of peace until his final defeat in 1815.
– Napoleon was an outstanding general and his victories against continental countries continued until he over-reached himself. He made two major errors that proved fatal: He became involved in a long series of campaigns against Spain and Portugal and then made an even more serious mistake by invading Russia. This drained France’s resources, whilst Britain- always supreme at sea continued to resist him.
– Napoleon was forced to abdicate and leave France in 1814 however his defeat at Waterloo was followed by a permanent exile on the remote island of St Helena.


Describe Napoleon’s propaganda and popularity:

– Napoleon was a skilled self-promoter: During his rise to power and particularly during the early years of his reign, he employed propaganda techniques to emphasize his leadership qualities and spread his message to the world.
– He claimed that his aim was to break down the national barriers in Europe for the benefit of different populations, bringing to them the advantages that France had gained from the revolution.
– He also made much of the claim that he was a liberator in his early campaign in Italy 1796.
– Napoleon embarked on large-scale public activities that were often intended as propaganda for his rule. When he invaded Egypt in 1798, he took archaeologists and historians with him to study and brink back ancient Egyptian records and artifacts.
– During his time as first consul, he encouraged the work of scientists. Famous French artists recorded Napoleon’s heroism and achievements.
– Festivals were organized throughout France in Napoleon’s honor.
– Napoleon had a series of medals to celebrate his accomplishments: Napoleon emphasized not only his military skills and his desire for peace, but also his role as a patron of the arts.
– Napoleon was keen to ensure that the French only received positive messages about his regime through policies of control and censorship. Napoleon established 6 newspapers, designed to spread his own messages to the widest possible spectrum of the French people.
– Theatres were controlled and used to gain popular support.


Explain the end of the Consulate:

– In 1804, Napoleon abandoned the Consulate and had himself crowned emperor. His coronation was a magnificent event, following the style of coronations of the French kings (except Napoleon placed the crown on his own head)
– Pope Pius VII was in attendance, to represent the approval of God and the Church- His position as emperor contradicted the idea of a republican government; Napoleon claimed that the change would unify the country enforcing the best features of the revolution.
– The establishment of the empire was confirmed by popular approval through plebiscites, giving the impression that France was a democracy however these votes were arranges to result in an overwhelming majority in favor of change.
– Napoleon styled himself “Emperor of the French” to emphasize his links to the general populace.
– The title ’emperor’ simply implied more grandeur than that of consul. Having an emperor might reconcile royalists to the new regime. It would have been too controversial to declare himself King, but emperor was a title known throughout Europe and would still ensure that the succession would be hereditary, unlike the elected consuls.
– Napoleon ruled in regal splendor from this time onwards. Like other emperors, he had a large court and placed an emphasis on ceremonies.
– His soldiers were given new uniforms and favored followers were bestowed with imperial titles.


What was the Napoleonic Legend?

– Napoleon may have arrived at a position of power controversially, but he soon gained the support of most of the French population. Although he ruled as a dictator and made little attempt to fulfill the revolutionary ideal of democracy, he was not a harsh leader.
– He encouraged people to forget the past, and only those who refused to do so were punished the extreme royalists and republicans would never have been won over.
– The most convincing proof of his popularity was his return from exile in 1814, with a great deal of popular support, he drove out and restored monarch Louis XVII and once more assumed power himself.
– It was not French uprising that defeated him, but foreign enemies.
– Napoleon’s fame and influence (often described as the Napoleonic legend) lasted long after his death in 1821. Many of his laws and methods of administration continued even under the restored monarchies from 1815 to 1848.
– In an effort to increase his own popularity, Louis Philippe allowed Napoleon’s body to be buried in Paris in an elaborate ceremony in 1840. His tomb still attracts thousands of visitors- French and foreign every year.


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