Napoleon Ascendency

Napoleon Ascendency:

At the time when the Revolution started in France, Napoleon was in Corsica but was soon called to suppress the revolt in Leon. In 1793, the British had captured Tullein port but Napoleon drove them away from there in three months.

It was his first triumph which heralded his glorious future. He was promoted to the prestigious rank of Brigadier General for his achievements. After the end of the “reign of terror”, Napoleon was incriminated for making plans for Robespierre. Hence he was divested of his power and authority and confined in a small fort, but after some time, he was exonerated from charges and reinstated in his previous rank. On October 5, 1795, Napoleon exhibited such unprecedented valor and common sense that France perceived its future in his fate. A huge, violent mob surrounded the Convention on that day. Napoleon was ordered to disperse the mob. He dispersed the miscreants by raining bullets upon them. He won great favors with the commander-in-chief Burreis. After some time, he married a beautiful widow Josephine Beauharnais in 1796. Josephine played a key role in Napoleon’s progress.

Napoleon’s ambition and military caliber had a great impact on the Directory and other leaders. They decided to give Napoleon the reins of military command during the ensuing campaign against Italy. The Italian campaign ran from April 1796 to April 1797. The combined forces of Austria and Piedmont consisted of 70,00 soldiers but the strength of Napoleon’s army was half of his enemy’s force. First, Napoleon defeated Piedmont badly and humiliated it to settle a pact by which Savoy and Nice were conceded to France. After that, he defeated the Austrian troops in several battles. Ultimately, the Pact of Campo Formio was concluded between France and Austria on October 17, 1797. According to it, Austria acceded to the dominance of France over Belgium which France had already won. Austria also acceded to conceding to France two-thirds of the area on the South-coast of the Rhine, which was part of the Holy Roman Empire. The regions of North Italy possessed by Austria were also given to France. That pact confirmed the supremacy of France over Italy. That pact symbolized Napoleon’s military marvels, political finesse, and great diplomatic triumph.

In 1798, after the settlement of pacts with Piedmont and Austria Napoleon was sent for an Egyptian campaign. Carrying a colossus fleet and an army of 38,000 soldiers, he launched his Egyptian campaign. Napoleon thought that if he defeated Egypt, France would get possession of those routes which lay between Europe and India, and in that case, the British trade with Eastern countries and Britain’s naval power could easily be destroyed. In July 1798 he took possession of Alexandria the famous city of Egypt and captured Cairo after defeating Egyptians in the war of Pyramids. But in the meanwhile, the famous British commander-in-chief Nelson defeated the French fleet and destroyed it in the battle of the Bay of Abu Bakr. When the Sultan of Turkey, who had subdued Egypt, heard the news of Egypt’s defeat, he declared war against France. Hence in January 1799 Napoleon launched an attack on Syria a Turkish province but returned to Egypt without taking possession of it. There he got a message that European countries had formed a second alliance against France. On the strength of money, England had formed that alliance with the help of Austria and Russia. Austrian forces marred all the achievements of Napoleon’s Italian campaign by conquering Italy. He was aware that Austria’s victory would reflect the weakness of the Directory and it would be uprooted very easily. Napoleon seized upon that golden opportunity to fulfill his ambition. Therefore, he left his troops there and came back to France with his reliable friends. As he reached France, the public was thrilled with enthusiasm and went mad with delight. People began to embrace one another on the roads. Napoleon brimmed over with ecstasy when he saw such scenes of affection. He said to his companion, “It seems that everyone was waiting for me. Had I come a little earlier, it would have been too soon; if I had come a little later, it would have been too late. I have come at the right time. Now the pear is ripe.” Napoleon’s return from Egypt to France makes a new chapter in French history. With the help of his supporters, he eliminated the corrupt Directory. Administrative authority was assigned to three counsels and Napoleon became the Chief Counsel. The task of drafting a new constitution was also assigned to the counsels.

Important Links:

Intellectual Enlightenment
Political Causes of the French Revolution
Economic Causes of the French Revolution
Beginning of the French Revolution
Functions of the Constituent Assembly
Unsuccessful Attempt of the Royal Family to Flee the Country
Phases of the French Revolution
Role of Philosophers in the French Revolution
Nature of the French Revolution
Correlation Between the Objectives and Achievements of the French Revolution
Do you agree that the French Revolution achieved far less than what it intended to achieve?
Importance of the French Revolution
French Revolution of 1848
The Foreign Policy of Louis Philippe
Causes of the Revolution of February 1848
French Revolution– Wikipedia