Thursday, January 15, 2009

Napoleon's Empire V. Earlier Universal Monarchy bids (late)

Think back to Spain and France's earlier attempts at a universal monarchy. How do they compare to Napoleon's Grand Empire?

I think the key difference between the earlier bids for European supremacy and Napoleon's empire are in the fact that much of Napoleon's empire consisted of allied states that were not completely under the French heel. Granted, Napoleon could force all the countries within the empire (not counting Russia as a part of the empire) to act/not act, but much of the states that Napoleon had conquered were still allowed some semblance of self-government. I think a large reason that Napoleon was so able to control such a portion of Europe (i.e. most of it) was because he left this illusion of some self-government. It may have been the state of politics in his age, but for whatever the reason, strong political figures in many countries (tied, in essence, to whatever bit of Volksgeist the country had) were left with some power. I believe that this "delegation" of power, versus the earlier attempts at total control/domination, made Napoleon's empire more stable. The way I see it, the larger the area controlled, the greater the diversity of the population. With population diversity comes a differentiation of desires, and it is desires the deviate from the intentions of authority that cause problems. Napoleon was able to spread his control out across leaders who identified with their countries, where the earlier French and Habsburg reaches did not.

4 comments:

The Captain said...

I agree with you Sam, but i think Napoleon's empire also differed because of the means of conguest. Back in the Spanish Empire Days it was brutal and gruesome and as you said promised no illusion of self-government or peace. Just we came, we saw, now you're conquered. Which as you could imagine wasn't very affectivevor popular.

Hanjae Lee said...

Were the earlier attempts really aimed at "total" control domination though? And was Napoleon's attempt "not" aimed at total control? I rather think that Nap. had a bigger ambition of a complete control and he simply found the better way to to that than the ones preceded him.

Atticus said...

i see what sam is saying and i agree. i mean hanjae has a point when saying Nepoleon was definetly trying to pull a ceasar but id say he made a vallid effort. Also i agree with you when you say it was different this time because he had allies and conquered countries that he could call apon if needed. He certainly made a breakthrough in ruling the world. and i think hitler probably took some notes.

Cote Laramie said...

Yeah I kind of agree with Sam and Hanjae. I think that Sam is correct in saying that Napoleon made his empire more stable by allowing more self government. However, I'm not so sure those were his intentions. He just favored rationally constituted governments in the places he controlled. Being such a highly intellectual person, I don't think he would've had a government based on anything but reason.