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At Austerlitz, Napoleon defeated a larger force by employing masterful military and psychological tactics.In 1806, Prussia and Russia declared war on France.Again faced with the Austrians in northern Italy, Napoleon led his army through the Alps and won the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800.
Czar Alexander had quit the Continental System, demanded that France abandon Poland, and was prepared to invade.
Napoleon moved first, and in 1812 led his army into Russia.
In October 1813, a massive coalition of forces defeated Napoleon at Leipzig in what became known as the Battle of Nations, sealing the fate of the first French Empire. Napoleon abdicated on 11 April and was exiled as Emperor of Elba, a small island off the coast of Italy.
On 1 March the following year he returned to France to reclaim his throne from the Bourbon Restoration of Louis XVIII.
Napoleon conquered Prussia and signed a treaty temporarily ending hostilities with Russia in 1807.
In 1806 he established the Continental System, an economic blockade of England that lasted six years, doing economic damage on both sides but ultimately failing to break the island nation.On 2 December 1804, backed by the Senate and the people, and to thwart efforts by Royalists to assassinate him, Napoleon consolidated his power still further, and was declared Napoleon I, Emperor of the French.However, his imposition of the progressive Napoleonic Code over his successive European conquests, effectively dismantling the centuries-old conservative European social order, arrayed all the monarchies of Europe against him, and war soon returned.He won at Borodino on 7 September and entered an abandoned Moscow, which was soon engulfed in flames ignited by Russian partisans.Napoleon withdrew, and the campaign cost him 90 percent of his army.Nonetheless, the Napoleonic Code remains the basis of French law, and it was the primary influence on nineteenth-century civil codes throughout continental Europe and Latin America.Napoleon’s sale of the Louisiana Territory to the United States helped lead to that nation’s greatness, and he had a profound influence on the rise of European nationalism: his efforts on the Italian peninsula and in the German principalities foreshadowed the unification of both Italy and Germany.He put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne, but Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, invaded Spain and the French forces eventually withdrew.When Josephine proved unable to bear children, Napoleon reluctantly divorced her and in 1810 married the Austrian Emperor’s daughter, Marie Louise. By 1810, England and Russia were the only major powers outside the French Empire.Napoleon married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796 and immediately left to lead the French army in Italy, which was fighting the Austrians.He was soon victorious and formed the Cisalpine Republic out of part of northern Italy.