Friday, January 9, 2009
Think back to Spain’s and France’s earlier efforts to establish a universal monarchy. Compare them to Napoleon’s Grand Empire.
Well, obviously neither Spain nor France under the Sun King came as close as Napoleon did to attaining universal monarchy. But, I think one of the big problems for anybody that tries to take over all of Europe is England. Not only did the Brits resist all three of these attempts but also (though just barely) the attempts of Hitler during the 20th century. It's almost as if the Island of Britain is just as strong as the island of Europe (well. . . if Asia weren't there at least, even still Europe is a peninsula). I've been thinking about this for the past couple of weeks. This little fighter has remained undefeated throughout history where invasion is concerned. Perhaps the sea is more a barrier than we'd like to imagine. Wasn't one of the reasons for Constantinople's strength was the fact that it was surronded on three sides by water and by one on desert. It's the same deal with the U.S; if we weren't stronger than Mexico, Canada, or the Indians we might've had a lot more trouble maintaining our independence. I mean look at D-Day even with that gigantic operation we barely made it though. The sea is an excellent shooting range for "sitting ducks" like ships and disboarding soldiers. Not to mention the problem of the British Navy which was the best Navy of the world in its day. Considering the Brits were surrounded by water it's no wonder they behaved so effectively in it. It's been hard throughout history for a foreign power to maintain control over a colony that hates it. "you'd have to put a redcoat behind every tree" in the case of the American War for Independence. People (as a whole) aren't things you can just get, they will never all agree to an unwanted rule for long, especially when they have armed forces, unity, and a developed civilization. Infact, perhaps it is the human trait of wanting to be free that prevented universal monarchy from coming to pass. One of the biggest reasons, other than the superiority of the French army, for Napoleon's successful take over of The Continent was the fact that people welcomed the revolutionary ways he brought with him. They were getting something they wanted too (kind of). Had Napoleon been simply a foreign brute like Atilla the Hun or something he probably wouldn't have been so succesful because brute force only lasts for so long and once it's gone a leader has nothing to protect him other than his people's opinion of him. Had Louis and Charles been more well liked (and had had larger more unified armies) perhaps they would have gotten farther in their conquests than they did.