Category Archives: Napoleon & Romanticism

Napoleon and Romanticism


Napoleon Bonaparte- Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1851) was a military commander who became the leader of France from 1804 to 1814 and then briefly in 1815. Napoleon Bonaparte conquered a significant portion of Europe during the time he was leader of France.

Treaty of Campo Formio- was a treaty signed on October 18, 1797 by Napoleon Bonaparte and Count Philipp con Cobenzl. The treaty officially gave conquered areas, such as areas of Northern Italy and several Mediterranean islands to France. It also redistributed territories along the Rhine River.

Constitution of Year VIII- was a national constitution which established the French Consulate on December 7, 1799. This constitution gave Napoleon Bonaparte significant power as leader of France.

Consulate- the Consulate was the French government from 1799 to 1804 which was dominated by Napoleon Bonaparte.

Second Coalition & the Treaty of Luneville Refractory Clergy & the Concordat Organic Articles of 1802- the Second Coalition was a signed alliance between Austria, Russia, Turkey, the Vatican, Portugal and Naples against Napoleonic France. The Treaty of Luneville in early 1801 took Austria out of the war. The Refractory Clergy were members of the church who refused to accept the terms of Napoleonic Code. The Organic Articles of 1802 were presented by Napoleon and gave him partial control of the Catholic Church in France. The Organic Articles faced large opposition by the Catholic Church in Rome.

The Napoleonic Code- in 1804 Napoleon ratified a constitution that made him consul for life, and then he soon produced another constitution that granted him full power of France.

Peace of Amiens 1802- the Peace of Amiens of 1802 between France and Britain was merely a truce. Napoleon’s large ambition of conquering Europe made it impossible for the Peace of Amiens 1802 to assure true peace.

Horatio, Lord Nelson & the Battle of Trafalgar- Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was a British officer in the Royal Navy. The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement between the French and the British on October 21, 1805. Admiral Horatio Nelson was fatally wounded during the battle by a French sharpshooter. His death made him a national hero in Britain.
Ulm, Austerlitz, Treaty of Pressburg- the French victory in mid October 1805 at Ulm allowed Napoleon to capture the Austrian city of Vienna. In December 1805 at the Battle of Austerlitz the French forces engaged against the combined forces of the Austrians and Russians. The French secured a decisive victory and gained considerable territory in Austria.
Treaty of Tilsit- the Treaty of Tilsit were two signed agreements between Napoleon of France in the small town of Tilsit. The first was signed by Tsar Alexander I of Russia and the second was with Prussia. It was at the time to Russia’s advantage to align temporary with the French so that they could try to defeat the Ottoman Turks in the Black Sea so the Russians could gain a warm water port.
The Continental System- The Continental System was a blockade by the French Navy against the British. The French did not allow their territories to trade with the British in hope of weakening their economy. Unfortunately for Napoleon, this tactic did not work because Russia still maintained trade with Britain and Britain did not need the raw materials from Europe due to there prosperous overseas colonies.
Invasion of Russia- the invasion of Russia by the French began on June 24, 1812 when Napoleon’s army crossed the Neman River into Russia. The French sustained heavy losses during the invasion. The Russians would retreat and burn the land behind them so that the French Army could not live off the land. As the winter of 1812 came around the French army had started to encounter serious problems. Food shortages, water shortages, low moral, and extreme cold plagued the French army. Finally the French gave up their efforts and abandoned the campaign. As the French army retreated the Russian Army would attack the French rear. Over 400,000 deaths were sustained by the French Army by the end of the campaign.
Prince Klemens von Metternich- Prince Klemens von Metternich (1773-1859) was an Austrian political and statesman. He is known for organizing the Congress of Vienna.
The Congress of Vienna- the Congress of Vienna was a meeting between the conservative leaders of Prussia, Russia, Britain, and Austria. The chief goal of the Congress of Vienna was to prevent a situation like Napoleon from happening again and to establish peace in Europe.
Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh & the Treaty of Chaumont The Hundred Days- Robert Stewart and Viscount Castlereagh were both diplomats from Britain. The two and and the British foreign secretary brought about the signing of the Treaty of Chaumont on March 9, 1814. The treaty restored the Bourbon Monarchy in France. It also resized the territorial borders of France back to what they had been in 1793.
Holy Alliance- the Holy Alliance was an agreement between the rulers of Russia, Austria, and Prussia signed in 1815. The alliance was an attempt by the conservative rulers of Europe to restore the traditional rule back to Europe and to rule by Christian ideals. The British declined being part of the alliance. The Holy Alliance transitioned into the more secular Quadruple Alliance.
Quadruple Alliance- the Quadruple Alliance was a coalition between the rulers of Russia, Austria, and Prussia that was signed in November of 1815. Its purpose was to bring harmony to Europe. The leaders of these countries knew that war not only affected armies but also was a detriment to the civilian population as well. These rulers wanted to prevent war from raging in Europe.
Romanticism- was the reaction against the rationalism and scientific thought of the Enlightenment. It focused on the importance of human feelings, intuition, and imagination as supplements to reason.

Immanuel Kant- Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was a philosopher and writer during the 18th century. He sought find a balance between the ideas of the Enlightenment and the belief in god.

S.T. Coleridge- Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) was an English philosopher and poet. He and his friend William Wordsworth were founders of Romanticism in England. Coleridge’s works were a dominant influence on Emerson and American transcendentalism.

W.Wordsworth- William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was an English poet and philosopher. He and his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge played a major role in introducing Romanticism to England.

Lord Byron- Lord Byron (1788-1824) was an English poet and writer. He was a key figure during Romantic Movement. He is best known for his works “Don Juan” and “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage”.
Methodism- methodism was a movement that began in England by John Wesley, Oxford educated Anglican priest. Methodism was the first major religion to intertwine ideas of Romanticism. It emphasized religion as a method for living rather than a set of doctrines and guidelines.

G.W. Hegel- George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) was a German philosopher. Hegel believed ideas cannot develop without first involving conflict. Acording to Hegel, ideas will only be accepted after they are combined with a conflicting idea to form what he called a synthesis.

Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam- Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam is a Muslim text of Nishapur, a Persian poet of the twelfth century. It was first translated in 1859 by Edward Fitzgerald. Romanticism presented the Muslim culture to Europeans in a positive way.


1. How did Napoleon rise to power? What groups supported him? What were his
major domestic achievements? Did his rule fulfill or betray the French

Napoleon rose to power as he ascended the ranks of the French military as an artillery gunner. As a young artillery officer Napoleon defeated the British Navy at the battle of Toulon. After the battle Napoleon was promoted to general. Eventually Napoleon gained more power over France’s military than French government of the time. Napoleon Bonaparte supported a sense of French nationalism, a tool which helped him muster such a large army. Napoleon also established the Napoleonic code which ended hereditary privileges, preserved the goals of the French Revolution, and also made him the official leader of France. The beginning of Napoleon’s rule fulfilled the goals of the French Revolution. Although women did not have the same rights as men, the some ideas of the Napoleonic code resonated with the ideas of the French Revolution. Towards the end of Napoleon’s rule it seems as though he completely abandoned the ideals of the French Revolution due to his own greed. He had hoped to establish a dynasty in Europe. Napoleon did as any human being would have done in his position. When one has seemingly unlimited power and wealth, they will be led astray from their original ideals by their own greed.

2. Why did Napoleon decide to invade Russia? Why did the operation fail? Can Napoleon be considered a military genius? Why or why not? 

Napoleon invaded Russia in attempt to further expand his already vast empire. When Napoleon invaded Russia in June 24, 1814 when Napoleon’s army crossed the Neman River into Russia. The French sustained heavy losses during the invasion.

The Russian general Mihail Kutuzov adopted a technique of burning the land behind them as they fell back further and further into Russia. This caused Napoleon’s troops to suffer heavy losses as they could not live off the land. The expanse of Russia made it difficult for Napoleon’s supply chain to reach the front line. Once Napoleon reached Moscow the Russians decided to set the city on fire. After the Russians did not surrender Napoleon decided to fallback. This led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his soldiers. Napoleon’s campaign in Russia failed because he did not expect the Russians to keep retreating drawing him further and further into their country. The French Army was not equipped to handle the frigid cold of the Russian winter. Napoleon was a military genius who became numbed by victory. In the beginning of Napoleon’s rule he was a military prodigy. He was able to attack and defeat the most daunting enemies. After he had conquered most of Western Europe, he had gradually become too confident in his military skills.

3. What were the goals of the major powers at the Congress of Vienna? What were the results of the Congress of Vienna, and why were they significant?

The Congress of Vienna was a meeting between the conservative leaders of Prussia, Russia, Britain, and Austria. The chief goal of the Congress of Vienna was to prevent a situation like Napoleon from happening again and to establish peace in Europe. The end result of the Congress of Vienna was the “concert of Europe”. The Congress of Vienna established peace in Europe for one hundred years until World War I. The peace that lasted in Europe after the Congress of Vienna was called the “concert of Europe” because at this time all of the European countries were in harmony with one another. The Congress of Vienna created a Europe in which no country dominated. The Congress of Vienna ended the Holy Roman Empire. This made it much easier for the German States to unify in 1866.

4.Compare the role of the feelings for romantic writers with the role of reason for
Enlightenment writers. What questions did Rousseau and Kant raise about reason? Why was poetry important to romantic writers? How did the romantic concepts of religion differ form Reformation Protestantism and Enlightenment deism? How did romantic ideas and sensibilities modify European ideas of Islam and the Middle East? What were the cultural results of Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt? 

Romanticism was the reaction against the rationalism and scientific thought of the Enlightenment. It focused on the importance of human feelings, intuition, and imagination as supplements to reason. The role of reason was less important to Romantic writers than it was to Enlightenment writers. Romantic writers focused more on human feelings and emotions.

Rousseau and Kant both agreed that pure reason can be useful but they also both agreed that reason is not always right. Rousseau believed that the lives of humans before civilization were better than the lives of people today. Kant believed in how humans gain knowledge from nature not purely from reason. Romantic concepts of religion differed greatly from previous forms of religion. Religion during Romanticism transitioned towards being more of a method of living your life to “perfect yourself in the eyes of god” instead of living according strict guidelines as “god would have wanted”. Romantic ideas and sensibilities portrayed Islamic culture as different but acceptable. This acceptive attitude of most Europeans allowed the two cultures to be more acceptive of one another. The cultural results of Napoleons’s invasion led to a deeper understanding of Ancient Egyptian culture. The Rosetta Stone let translators decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.


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Kagan, Donald, Steven E. Ozment, and Frank M. Turner. The Western Heritage: Since 1300. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.

Ramírez, Susan E., Peter N. Stearns, Samuel S. Wineburg, and Steven A. Goldberg.Holt World History: Human Legacy. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2008. Print.