Napoleon and the Transformation of European States and Societies
Napoleon has been one of the most influential people in our world history, most specially in the European community. It has been his heart and perseverance to overcome such political and economic turmoil during the revolutionary years in 17th century has changed a lot and made Europe what it has become today and it has continue to become influential in all parts of Europe.
One of the most well benefited country in Europe that was France, it was in the latter part of the 17th century where the country faced tremendous problems due to inexperienced administrators and it resulted to weak political and economic system, until it was Napoleon who was considered a big surprise and slowly lifted the dying economy and political status of the country. In this situation, it was well considered that during that time public education must be lifted and the study of science specifically must be enhanced and continues to be the main priority in school. As this was a big development in France, both the Historian in France and Historian in Science considered it a good one and they are very supportive about the plan of enhancing and moving the education sector for its people. As the Republican ideal has also provided a statement that with men studying about the universe and how they live and other important matters that concerns national interest and with friendly and intelligent debates is an important way in enhancing human knowledge. And this was the main focus and idea of the type of education that needs to be implemented, that is why later on this was called as Napoleonic educational system
But this was not that easy as problems starting to hinder the developments that Napoleon wants to happen. Some of the common problems are facilities, educators who would not want to do their task of teaching if they will not be paid according to what was expected in the law, students do not have consistent attendance and most of them are bored in class which results to less number of students come to class. With this situation it was raised this problem to Chaptals. But even it was a true challenge for Napoleon to change the free thinking of the people what he still urges is that people should follow first and be obedient in following the law instead of criticizing and always providing reaction and criticism to the government. This has also been the principal goal of education, for Napoleon which is still to give everyone the right to learn and gain the right knowledge necessary for him to acquire. With the popularity of hierarchical form of organization that is applied almost any organization in France, it was also the same organizational structure that were applied in studies. Like in particular for those who will be expected to perform mental tasks, they will be expected to take subjects: reading, writing, arithmetic, together with the principles of religion and propaganda which were supporting the Napoleonic regime is most expected to be taken seriously in class. While for secondary education is just like today, a preparatory education for students before they enter professional schools.1 (Williams, L, 956).
Based from historical studies, Napoleaon years were considered regrettable or inevitable dictatorship to the Revolutionary times of our history while on the other hand it was also a great political-military episode in history. But the most important thing is that for both of this insights, it was still a big influence in the western European community as it was the main starting point for true progress and the development of new societies in France and other European countries that were directly affected by the revolutionary reform by Napoleon.
And this was proven through political and military progress that for most military historian has recalled as one of the most well studied military experiences that happened in history.
1 L. Pearce Williams, “Science Education and Napoleon I,” JSTOR, Vol. No. 4 (December 1956), pp. 369-
Its significance to history has developed two main consequences: (1) this was in terms of relations between Europe and what it was called extra-European world. This was despite the success that was experienced by the Spaniards over their colonies in South America, Napoleon and his troops were still been much recognized as it has reinforced the European dominance, most specially during the British Naval control. This was greatly appreciated because it has also provided big change in other implications such as in trade and slavery, and has imposed better settlement for people which eventually help the economy of Europe progress. (2) Secondly, as the people are already see better things to come and as both the political-military and it follows economic success starting to be achieved, nationalism has been the next target for most western European countries, most specially France and this can only happen through revolt against Napoleon. Again with this actual discussion of events, whether there was a failure in the administration of Napoleon or not, it is still the initiatives and the influence that napoleon started in Europe was the main key for change that brought them to overcoming tremendous turmoil which has happened before his time2. (Woof, S, 1992).
Napoleon was not only greatly helped in transforming most European states but it was also in his military powers that helps developed and further improved economy. One of his greatest influences to the progress of economy was during the boom of Europe in textile business. As Charles the Great as one who he also idolizes has provided favors to this imperial town. With his great influence to military community, Rhineland industry, he has planned to satisfy the rising military as well as civilian demand for cloth and this was greatly appreciated by the industry because it has helped the cloth industry in their problem regarding shortages.
2 Stuart Woof, “The Construction of European World-View in the Revolutionary Napoleonic Years,”
JSTOR, No. 137 (November 1992), pp. 72-74.
That also has helped prices to increase which also follows the prohibition of English imports. And it does not stop there; Napoleon was also provided cloth manufacturers with subsidies and even rewarded them in some of their innovations with prizes. And for him he made some very timely decisions and initiatives in prolonging the success of the cloth industry since there are a lot of competing countries that are also producing such products, but due to disallowing imports, they have focus on providing and enriching their local cloth industry. The decision that has helped a lot was to promote local sheep rearing; this is in order to provide much supply for the local market.
As the industry continues to experience high progress, it doesn’t stop there as more and more quality clothing were developed with fine design and high quality materials. It was in 1794, when cashmere of the highest quality was introduced. Followed by Kalmuck, coating cotton, ‘Bomnassin’ and wool coat cloth mainly for French, specifically for Paris market. t6his will not made possible without the brilliant and strong ideas as well as decisions that Napoleon gave to Europe and that was also why among all the countries in the world, Europe , most specially Paris France, has been continually been recognized in the world in terms of fashion3. (Kisch, H, 1962).
It was always said that heroes are born and that was true in Napoleon’s life and years of influence in the Europe. This has been proven in the policy that he has implemented and the decency of approach he applied in colonizing England. For most of us, we would consider that as based on historical facts, Napoleon has been a big military strategist and leader that have colonized many territories in Europe.
3 H. Kisch, “The Impact of the French Revolution on the Lower Rhine Textile District-Some Comments on
Economic Development and Social Change,” JSTOR, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1962), pp. 311-313.
But all of these was not through drastic approach instead it was through his charisma and leadership quality, he has made colonization in a way of diplomacy. Most of his colonized countries have benefited a lot in all his political policies implemented in them. His intention was truly to helped countries to progresses and that can only be done through military superiority since there are other colonizers that are truly focus on employing corrupt and exploitation of resources of the country. This was proven in his colonization to England, but at first as expected there was resistance and England has to call for assistance for other military powers, and one country that is suitable for assistance is Russia but it was refused and that was due to Napoleon’s presence. It was the same result for German powers, and the only one that is expected is Austria and Napoleon even considered this country as an Enemy during his early years of administration but still Austria has something planned and disregarded as well the support that they may give to England4. (Deutsch, H, 1930). Instead it was a secret meeting that turn out to be a join forces agreement between Russia and Austria military forces that wants to off-guard French forces without the complete knowledge of napoleon. With this turn of event, Napoleon has promised England its own freedom without even harming its country and even has provided support for economic progress by implementing military policy that has been securing the business in the state. With that decision, France and Napoleon forces faces the lying partnership of Austria and Russia and was very eager to overcome their forces as they do not have the trust and loyalty from their words and it was again a good proof of diplomacy and progress that was the only main focus of Napoleon’s policy and until this time this was given a high respect in all of our historical studies5.
4 Harold Deutch, “Napoleonic policy and the Project of a Descent upon England,” JSTOR, Vol. 2, No. 4
(December 1930), pp. 541-544
5 Harold Deutch, “Napoleonic policy and the Project of a Descent upon England,” JSTOR, Vol. 2, No. 4
(December 1930), pp. 550-552.
As in the early and post revolutionary years in Europe and also in the world, arts have always been one of the most stable successes in history. People have become very fascinated with art and its value throughout the years has been observed to be increasing. Napoleon has also provided major change and development in the works of art. Modernizing it by letting it be seen by most people through numerous exhibits and presentation and if needed transporting art works from places to the museum was made possible during his time. In his military dominance and influence, it was also his attention to arts and culture; it was one of the main reasons why he has also extended his military presence and dominance in those early years.
Some of the most popular museum that were introduced during those years that were truly a showing of his conquest to cultural arts are: Musee Napoleon, Arc du Carrousel, The Madelaine, The Vendome Column, which emulates the column of Trojan, and some of the monuments that were erected by his own well selected and appointed architects. This erected structures were also proclaimed as Paris as the new “Rome”. It has become a true showing of decency and political legitimacy for Rome since it has helped the country in improving its community to adopt a more stylish and more descent places that has enticed tourists from all over the world. but in order to do this according to his own will, he has confiscated all the cultural legacy of the past, instead he has developed a more legitimate ruling by linking him to all the successful political leaders and even erected his own monument with the likes of Charmagne and Louis the XIV.
He has even used his military forces that for most countries that they have battled, he seized some work of arts that may add to his collection and put that in display to some of the well known museum, like the opening of Louvre in 1793. But just a year after where there was obvious and clear exploitation and overpowering of most countries in their colonized territories of seizing work of arts. A commission was formed in 1794, and that was Commission on public Instruction that has suggested that all sized work of arts be turned over to Paris. But as time goes by, Napoleon has considered that art and politics is a good potential for greater success and that only widens his idea of pursuing his dominance alongside with his military leadership6. (Martin, R, 1985-86).
With this development in the art, it has helped in the progressive years of Western Europe and it was greatly appreciated not only in the political status but also in the economic world as well.
Paris as the center for business and all style in Paris has also been the eye for Napoleon’s years in history. Not only he started to admire culture and has given him much confidence that it can prolong his popularity having it. But it was during the early 18th century were he found out that there should be something that need to be changed in Paris, even though it already has the initial look and probability to become a global center for arts and other modern-cultural standards, it was observed that there are structures that are not fit in the city.
What he did was he made it clear that the ports and buildings need to be rebuild and make it more amusing to the eyes of the public and the result was ports were replaced and then there was a three lined parkways and other major development in the city. This has influenced the economy and the political status of France specifically Paris as visitors starting to appreciate the place and most of it has appreciated the development and the major beautification projects that Napoleon has initiated. This was the start of something big for Paris and progress continues to be eminent in the city.
6 Martin Rosenberg, “Raphael’s Transfiguration and Napoleon’s Cultural Politics,” JSTOR, Vol. 19, No. 2
(Winter, 1985-86), pp. 180-184
And for France and as well as the Napoleon era as families and Napoleon clan continued its embarking on enhancing the beautiful Paris in making it not just a beautiful city but the most beautiful city in the world. This has been one of the major achievement of the Napoleon’s which did not stop from the time they have served the country specially the city of Paris. This is very evident in the present were still Paris is being considered as one of the most glamorous and beautiful as well as fascinating city in the world7. (Pinkney, D, 1955). (126 128)
Another inclusion of Napoleon to history was the start of balance of power actually after his reign. Balance of Power did not happen during Napoleon’s era as he conquers one country after another during his reign in the European continent. This has been the starting point also as how the world feels that there should be a balance of power. No one should be practicing its dominance over the world or certain region. This was applied greatly during the middle of 19th century where wars also been a factor for changed in those years.
Nazi Germany and its allies have been the most dominant allied forces in the 19th century years. It has created a balance of power against all parties. But, again this was initiated and was formed through numerous studies and findings by great scholars and political leaders who have been looking at preventing to have an imbalanced on power that may result to also imbalanced in the economy and opportunities throughout the world8.
Until now, that was also being the main focus for all regions in the world, to have a balance in power. Because it will help in proper allocation of resources to all parts of the world and that will result as well to better success and productivity
7 David Pinkney “Napoleon III’s Transformation of Paris: The Origin and Development of Idea” JSTOR,
Vol. 27, No. 2 (June 1955), pp. 126-128
8 Richard Rosecrance “Balancing Stability and War: The Mysterious Case of the Napoleonic International
System” JSTOR, Vol. 27, No. 2 (June 1955), pp. 126-128
Deutch, H. “Napoleonic policy and the Project of a Descent upon England,” JSTOR, Vol. 2, No. 4 (December 1930), pp. 541-552
Kisch, H. “The Impact of the French Revolution on the Lower Rhine Textile District-Some Comments on Economic Development and Social Change,” JSTOR, Vol. 15, No. 2 (1962), pp. 311-313.
Pinkney, D. “Napoleon III’s Transformation of Paris: The Origin and Development of Idea” JSTOR, Vol. 27, No. 2 (June 1955), pp. 126-128
Rosecrance, R. “Balancing Stability and War: The Mysterious Case of the Napoleonic
International System” JSTOR, Vol. 27, No. 2 (June 1955), pp. 126-128
Rosenberg, M “Raphael’s Transfiguration and Napoleon’s Cultural Politics,” JSTOR, Vol. 19, No. 2 (Winter, 1985-86), pp. 180-184
Williams, L. “Science Education and Napoleon I,” JSTOR, Vol. No. 4 (December 1956), pp. 369-372
Woof, S. “The Construction of European World-View in the Revolutionary Napoleonic Years,” JSTOR, No. 137 (November 1992), pp. 72-74.