Archives for category: Scientific Revolution / Enlightenment
  • Opposed
    • Napoleon
      • War
      • Chaos
      • Rebellion
      • Nepotism (putting family in power)
      • Napoleonic code (giving people rights)
    • French Revolution
      • Liberty
      • Egality
      • Fraternity
      • Democracy
  • The Congress
    • Austrian Empire: Klemens von Metternich (strong central ruler)
    • Russia: Czar Alexander I
    • England: Viscount Catelreagh
    • Prussia: Frederick William III
    • France: Charles Talleyrand
  • Supported
    • Collective Security (Concert of Europe – Treaty)
      • Alliances, preserve peace
      • Monarchies help each other
    • Legitimacy
      • Royal families returned to thrones
    • Suppression of Nationalism
      • Monarchies in control
    • Balance of Power
      • All nations are equally powerful
    • Conservatism: Monarchy, Church, Nobility
  • Legacy
    • The first ever continent wide agreement


The other European leaders wanted to create a long-lasting period of peace in Europe after Napoleon’s defeat. They met in Vienna, the Congress of Vienna, where they set up policies for this goal. This congress lasted for eight months, not the expected four weeks.

  • Metternich’s Plan for Europe

    Many decisions made during the Congress of Vienna were secret, carried out by Russia, Prussia, Austria, Great Britain, and France. The most influential was Prince Klemens of Austria.

    He distrusted the democratic ideals of the French Revolution, feeling that Napoleon’s behavior was a result of democracy. Metternich wanted to restore the past by surrounding France with other strong nations to keep France weak. He also wanted balanced power so all the countries were equally powerful. Finally, he wanted the royal families restored to their thrones.

    • The Containment of France
      • The Congress of Vienna made the countries surrounding France stronger by joining the Austrian Netherlands with the Dutch Republic, creating a German Confederation, forming Switzerland, and expanding the Kingdom of Sardinia.
      • The other countries of Europe believed this could help stop France from overpowering their nations.
    • Balance of Power
      • The other nations wanted to make France weak, not powerless. They did not want to be too harsh and end up encouraging France to rebel. Therefore, France was still a major power. Therefore, no country in Europe could conquer another.
    • Legitimacy
      • The great powers decided on the principle of legitimacy, returning the original rulers to their thrones. France, Spain, and many other states were once again ruled by the royal families.
      • This congress succeeded as the entire continent had agreed on peace. The Congress helped prevent future wars. This peace lasted for 40 years.
  • Political Changes Beyond Vienna

    The Congress of Vienna helped the conservatives, allowing Kings and princes to regain power. However, some countries had major differences: Britain and France were constitutional monarchies. Other governments were more conservative.

    • Conservative Europe
      • The new rulers were scared of French Revolution ideas. They united in an Alliance to combat the revolutionary ideas. Finally, the Concert of Europe made sure the nations would help each other defeat revolutions.
      • The conservatives were strong rulers, but they could not stop the ideas. France was divided between Louis XVIII and the legislature.
      • This split between Enlightenment and traditional ideas led to many other political upheavals.
      • The Congress of Vienna could not stop this, and new ideas came into motion.
    • Revolution in Latin America
      • The Congress of Vienna’s decisions spread across the world. The colonists had broken free. When the Spanish government tried to regain control, the colonists fought back.
      • The Mexicans revolted and fought off Spain. Many other colonies also declared independence. At the same time, Brazil became independent from Portugal.
    • Long-Term Legacy
      • The Congress of Vienna’s legacy continued to influence the politics of the world for nearly 100 years. This attempt to create peace weakened France but strengthened Britain and Prussia.
      • Nationalism spread across nations, leading to revolutions and forming new nations. Colonies broke away from their founders.
      • Meanwhile, ideas were still evolving and democracy became the best way to ensure equality and justice for all. The French revolution had changed European ideas and assumptions, starting a new era.
  • Continental System

    Top Enemies: Britain, Russia, Austria

    • Cut off Britain
      • Make Britain weak
      • FAILED
        • British navy is too strong, smugglers smuggle food
        • Britain retaliates, blocks off France (this also affects and annoys Americans)
    • Britain fights back (Battle of Trafalgar) – beats France
  • Peninsular War
    • French armies try to attack Portugal
      • Army has to go through spain
      • Spain dislikes it
        • Guerilla warfare
    • Spain’s Nationalism
      • National pride
        • French are foreign invaders!
      • British help Spain fight France
      • Other nations rebel
  • Invasion of Russia
    • Russia dislikes the continental system
      • Alexander I refuses the blockade, but pretends to be Napoleon’s friend
      • Russia needs the warm-water port (only one at Black Sea)
      • Napoleon Is offended by the betrayal
      • Alexandar I -> Napoloen
        • Tilset Peace
          • Agreement to not fight
    • Russia Trades with Britain
      • Napoleon invades
        • Reaches Moscow, which was already burning
          • Russians rather destroy city than let French have it
        • Began retreat in winter, with limited food
          • Russians had destroyed all food sources
          • Many die
  • Other Nations Attack
    • Napoleon’s army is weak after the Russian invasion
    • Battle of Leipzig (1813)
      • Prussia and Russia wins
      • French army is gone
      • Napoleon is exiled to the island of Elbao
    • Louis XVIII Rules
      • Fails the people
      • Napoleon recieves news
    • Napoleon Rules Again (100 Days War)
      • Returns to France
      • Welcomed by people
  • Europe Attacks – Again
    • Defeat at Waterloo
    • Exiled to island in Atlantic (even farther)


Napoleon was extremely worried about his empire after his death. Without a heir, the empire would collapse. He divorced his current childless wife and maried another, Marie Louise who gave birth to Napoleon II.

  • Napoleon’s Costly Mistakes

    Napoleon’s desire for power ended up destroying his empire. By trying to crush Britain, Napoleon made some disastrous mistakes.

    • The Continental System
      • In November 1806, Napoleon blocked of the British ports. This was the Continental System, intended to force Great Britain to become self-sufficient and destroying the economy.
      • This plan failed as the blockade did not hold. Smugglers sneaked through, allies refused, and even some family members disagreed.
      • The blockade weakened trade to Britain but did not destroy it. Also, Britain responded by blocking off France. The British navy was more successful, stopping neutral ships to check and tax. This policy also affected American ships, leading the US Congress to declare war. Though this was was 2 years long (War of 1812), it was not major in weakening Britain.
    • The Peninsular War
      • Another costly mistake was using Spain as a route for military troops. This angered the Spanish people, and Napoleon decided to get rid of the Spanish king. The new king outraged the Spanish people, who formed guerrilas, small bands of fighters. They ambushed French troops and fled. The British sent troops to help the Spanish. Napoleon lost nearly 300000 men in this Peninsular war.
      • The loyalty of the spanish people to their country was a great threat against Napoleon. Many countries under his rule felt like he was a foreign conqueror and rebelled.
    • Invasion of Russia
      • This was the worst mistake. Napoleon decided to invade Russia, sending more than 420000 soldiers from his Grand Army. The Russians retreated, burning and destroying any sources of food on the way. However, Napoleon reached Moscow. The Russians let him reach but he found the city burning up. The Russians rather destroy their city than surrender it. Finally, the French began to retreat. However, the harsh winter and lack of food killed many people. This retreat killed many soldiers, leaving only 10,000.
  • Napoleon’s Downfall

    Enemies quickly began attacking while Napoleon was weak. Britain, Russia, Prussia, and Sweden all joined against him.

    • Napoleon Suffers Defeat
      • Napoleon created a new army, but this army was not ready in time. They were quickly defeated.
      • Napoleon wanted to keep fighting but his generals refused. Napoleon was exiled to an island and was forgotten.
    • Louis XVI’s brother became the new king. However, he was unpopular and news of his troubles spread to Napoleon. He escaped and went back to France, where he was welcomed by thousands of volunteers for his army. Soon, he became emperor again.
    • The European nations soon attacked. Two days later, Napoleon’s troops gave up, chased away.
    • This was Napoleon’s last battle, called the Hundred Days. This time, he was shipped to an remote island in the Atlantic, where he lived alone for six years.
    • Napoleon was a brilliant leader but he lost millions of lives. He was a great military commander but his defeat led to many freed countries to develop their own government.
  • Background
    • Directory ruled before Napoleon
    • Napoleon is a hero
      • People believe he is fighting for them
      • Protect rights
  • Coup D’etat
    • 1795
      • Protects National Convention
    • 1796
      • Commands French army (appointed by Directory)
    • 1799
      • Directory loses some power
        • People unhappy
      • Directory want Napoleon to rule
        • Takes over
        • Creates 3 consuls
          • Separation of powers
  • Napoleon’s Reign
    • 2nd Coalition (1799)
      • Other European nations dislike Napoleon
        • Signs treaty with Britain, Prussiam Austria
        • Boosts his ego and moral
      • Plebiscite (1800)
        • Vote for new laws, rights
        • Napoleon is voted new supreme leader
      • Becomes Emperor (1804)
        • People support him


    • Domestic Official
      • Tax System
      • Removes corrupt officials
      • Open schools for training future officials
    • Concordant with Pope
      • Takes crown from pope
        • More power
      • Agreement with Church
        • People = happy
    • Napoleonic Code
      • Unified set of laws (hobbes)
      • Religious freedom
      • Not bound by social classes
      • State is more important than individual
        • Socialism/communism


Napoleon was short in stature but left a lasting influence on the history of the world. He was one of the greatest military geniuses such as Alexander, Hannibal, and Julius Caesar. He rose from a lowly officer to the master of France.

  • Napoleon Seizes Power

    Napoleon was born in 1769 on the island of Corsica. He attended military school, and became a lieutenant. During the revolution, he joined the new army.

    • Hero of the Hour
      • Napoleon, a young officer at the time, defeated thousands of royalists, forcing their attackers to flee in panic. He became a hero and was hailed as the savior of the French republic.
      • The Directory made Napoleon the leader of an army against Austria. He crossed the Alps and crushed opposition. Next, he attacked British trade routes. However, he failed at this task, even so, Napoleon kept stories about his failure away and remained a hero to France.
    • Coup d’Etat
      • In 1799, the Directory lost control and Napoleon seized power. He surrounded the national legislature and kicked out its members. The remaining lawmakers got rid of the Directory. Instead, they created 3 consuls to rule, and Napoleon was named the first consul. He became a dictator. This was a coup, from the word “coup d’etat”, or “blow to the state.”
      • During this coup, France was still fighting with Britain, Austria, and Russia. They tried to get rid of Napoleon. However, they soon gave up, signing peace treaties with the France. Europe finally was at peace.
  • Napoleon Rules France

    Napoleon only pretended to be the leader of a “free” republic. He held a plebiscite to approve a new constitution. The people quickly approved it, giving Napoleon all the real power.

    • Restoring Order at Home
      • Napoleon did not return to Louis’s policies. He kept many changes that came with the Revolution. However, he supported new laws that strengthen the central government and some goals of the Revolution.
      • He reset the economy, creating a new tax collection and national banking system. This helped supply the government with a steady stream of money, promoting financial security and a better economy. He also attempted to get rid of corrupt and inefficient policies and officials. He created public schools, lycees, to educate future officials. These schools allowed all mall students to attend, appointing leaders based on merits, not family connections.
      • Napoleon restored the church, signing an agreement with the Church. The government agreed to recognize the church but did not allow the Church any real power in national affairs. This helped Napoleon get the support of the Church and the French people.
      • Napoleon’s greatest accomplishment was his system of laws. This gave everyone an uniform system and got rid of many injustices. However, it limited liberty and individual rights, such as freedom speech and press. This code also restored slavery in colonies.
    • Napoleon Crowned as Emperor
      • 1804, Napoleon decides to name himself emperor. He dressed in purple velvet and was crowned by the pope. Napoleon became more powerful than the Church.
  • Napoleon Creates an Empire

    Napoleon also wanted to rule over the rest of Europe and Americas. He thought of his new empire as including Louisiana, Florida, French Guiana, and the French West Indies. The key to conquering was a sugar-producing colony on Hispaniola – Saint Domingue (Haiti).

    • Loss of America Territories
      • Revolutionary ideas reached small territories such as Saint Domingue where they began demanding rights. Enslaved Africans also demanded freedom. Finally, rebels took over. Napoleon tried to retake control but disease weakened the French forces and they were defeated by the fierce fighters.
      • After this failure, Napoleon decided to give up on the Americas, selling the Louisiana land to the US for 15 million. Now, he could gain money for his operations, and the US could be a rival to England, humbling her.
    • Conquering Europe
      • Napoleon gave up on the New World, but still wanted to grow in Europe. He already controlled the Netherlands, parts of Italy, and Switzerland. Now, he wanted to grow further. The British were allied with Russia, Austria, and Sweden against him.
      • Napoleon crushed them with brilliant battles. These successes forced the other nations to sign treaties, allowing him to build the largest European empire since Rome. The only enemy left was Britain.
    • The Battle of Trafalgar
      • The Battle of Trafalgar was the only battle Napoleon lost. This loss destroyed the French naval fleet.
      • Napoleon gave up invading Britain, trying to find other ways to take over. This persistence led to his downfall.
    • The French Empire
      • Napoleon’s victories had helped him expand over almost all of Europe. The only areas still free were Britain, Portugal, Sweden, and the Ottomans. Napoleon was also the leader in some other “independent” countries like Spain and German kingdoms.
      • This empire was large but not stable, collapsing soon after its creation, (5 years).


Peasants, nobles, and clergy were all frightened by the Great Fear. The angry peasants fought against the upper classes, destroying manor houses. Some nobles in the National Assembly decided to respond.

  • The Assembly Reforms France

    The noblemen made speeches, demanding liberty and equality. They said this out of fear, but still managed to destroy the Old Regime.

    • The Rights of Man
      • 3 weeks after the death of the old regime, the National Assembly created the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This document was similar to the Declaration of Independence, declaring that “men are born and remain free and equal in rights”, including “liberty, property, security, and resistance to oppression”. Freedom of speech, religion, and justice were also promised to the citizens.
      • The French slogan became “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity”. However, these revolutionary ideas did not apply to everyone – when a declaration of the rights of women was created by Olympe de Gouges, she was rejected and executed as an enemy.
    • State-Controlled Church
      • Many reforms included the church. The National Assembly claimed church lands and created elected church officials. The assembly did this so they could sell church lands and get some of the debt off.
      • However, putting the State in control of the Church frightened devout catholic peasants. They believed that the pope should rule over a church -they began to oppose the assembly’s reforms.
    • Louis Tries to Escape
      • Louis XVI tried to escape to the Netherlands in 1791, however, they were caught and taken back to Paris.
  • Divisions Develop

    Soon after their independence, they began to argue over a new constitution.

    • A Limited Monarchy
      • The constitution was a limited constitutional monarchy, creating a Legislative Assembly. This group created laws / declared war. The king only had the power to enforce the laws.
    • Factions Split France
      • The revolution succeeded, however, many old problems such as food shortages and government debt continued. The Legislative Assembly split into 3 groups. Radicals on the left, Confederates in the middle, and conservatives on the right.
      • Many nobles who had fled wanted to restore the Old Regime. On the other hand, small shopkeepers and Parisian workers often wanted more changes. They used the streets to influence the assembly.
  • War and Execution

    The upper classes in other European nations saw the changes in France and were frightened a revolution could take place near them. Some countries took actions to stop the revolution. Both Austria and Prussia both urged for Louis to be returned as an absolute monarch. The Legislative Assembly declared war on Prussia in April 1792.

    • France at War
      • Prussia forces began to advance on Paris, threatening to destroy Paris if the royal family was harmed.
      • This infuriated the Parisians who invaded the palace of the royal family. They massacred the royal guards and imprisoned the family.
      • Soon, the French troops joined the army to fight. Angry citizens broke into prisons and murdered over 1000 royal sympathizers.
      • Finally, the Legislative Assembly created the Constitution of 1791, getting rid of the king, dissolving the assembly, and electing a new legislature. This new body, the National Convention ,abolished the monarchy and made France a republic. However, women were still not allowed to vote.
    • Jacobins Take Control
      • Many people involved in the new government were Jacobins, a club that called for the death of anyone who supports the king.
      • The National Convention already reduced Louis XVI’s position from king to a prisoner. Now, they tried Louis for treason, finding him guilty and sentencing him to death. He was guillotined on January 21, 1793.
    • The War Continues
      • The National Convention continued the war on Austria and Prussia. When they took office, France won an amazing victory at the Battle of Valmy. However, Britain, Holland, and Spain all joined in the fight against France. The French army began to suffer a series of defeats. Finally, the Jacobins decided to draft 300,000 French citizens between 18 and 40, expanding the army to 800,000, including women.
  • The Terror Grips France

    The Jacobins had also made enemies of many citizens in France. These peasants were horrified by the king’s execution, the priests did not like the state controlled church, and rival leaders who wanted power. This became an issue.

    • Robespierre Assumes Control
      • In 1793, one of the Jacobin leaders came out on top. His supporters and he agreed to build a “republic of virtue” where the old France would be wiped away. They believed in reason, changed the calendar, and destroyed religious churches.
      • Robespierre ruled France almost as a dictator, using Revolution ideals to justify his “Reign of Terror”.
      • As much as 40000 people were executed, and almost 85% of the people were peasants.
  • End of the Terror
    • In July, 1794, the National Convention turned on Robespierre, demanding his arrest and execution. The radical phase of the Revolution was over. They created a new plan of government, creating a 2-house legislature and an executive body of five men. They were moderates, not idealists. Some were corrupt and made themselves rich. However, France still had a period of piece and gained a new general to command the armies – Napoleon Bonaparte.
  • The Old Regime
    • Economically Weak
      • Mismanaged government
      • Population growth
  • Revolution
    • Symbolic Acts
      • Estates General
        • National Assembly
    • Planning
      • Tennis Court Oath
    • Role of Forth
      • Storming the Bastille
      • Great Fear
      • Emigres (old regime flees)
  • Rule of Moderates (peaceful, diplomatic changes)
    • Declaration of Rights of Man and of Citizen
      • Popular sovereignty (government follows people’s will)
      • National Assembly
    • Moderates Take Charge
      • Republic
      • Constitutional monarchy
      • Legislative assembly (king enforces law, assembly makes laws)
      • Radicals protest
      • State-ruled Church
        • Many peasants oppose the state takeover
  • Reign of Terror
    • Coup d’etat (change in government)
      • Royal Family Flees
        • Caught & imprisoned
        • Austria tries to help royal families
      • Austria invades France
        • Tries to stop revolution
    • National Convention
      • New constitution
        • No more king
      • Democracy
    • Jacobins (radicals)
      • Jean Paul Marat – death is a necessary part of revolution
      • Joseph Ignace Guillotine – invents guillotine as humane method
      • Georges Danton – public speaker
      • Maximilian Robespierre – reign of terror, pseudo-king
      • King Louis XVI – tries to flee but was caught and executed
    • Committee of Public Safety (executes traitors)
      • Reign of Terror (martial law)
      • Republic of Virtue (kills all non-radicals)
      • Robespierre Loses
        • Robespierre began to threaten the upper class
        • Executed as traitor
        • All evidence removed
    • End of Terror
      • Robespierre is executed by National Assembly


During the 1700s, many people thought of France as the most advanced as it seemed large, prosperous, and was the center of the Enlightenment. However, this was only an illusion and there was great unrest created by bad harvests, high taxes, and political trouble due to the Enlightenment ideas.

  • The Old Order

    During the 1770s, the Old Regime (3 estates) was still in place.

    • The Privileged Estates
      • Two of the 3 estates were privileged, consisting of Church Clergy (1) and rich nobles (2)
      • They only consisted of 2% of the population. These people paid almost no taxes and scorned Enlightenment ideas because they threatened their status.
    • The Third Estate
      • The other 97% of government were in the Third Estate, a group composed of 3 sub-groups.
        • The first group was the middle class (bankers, factory owners, merchants, etc.) This group strongly believed in Enlightenment ideas.
        • The workers in the cities formed the 2nd, poorest group. They were tradespeople, apprentices, laborers, and servants. They were paid low wages and were often out of work.
        • The final group was the largest, composing 80% of France’s population. They paid half their income to the Church, Nobles, and Kings. They resented the clergy and nobles. They were eager for change.
  • The Forces of Change

    New ideas about government, economic problems, and weak leadership helped people start to demand change.

    • Enlightenment Ideas
      • The success of the American revolution helped inspire people in the Third Estate. The new views spread and they began to question the structure of society. They started demanding equality, liberty, and democracy.
    • Economic Troubles
      • In the 1780s, France’s economy began to collapse. Despite the outward appearance of expansion, the heavy taxation made it difficult to make money from business in France.
      • Also, bad weather lead to crop shortages and prices soared, forcing many people to face starvation.
      • The extravagant spending of Louis XVI and the war debts against Britain caused a serious problem. The government’s debt became too heavy and the bankers refused to lend any more money.
    • A Weak Leader
      • With strong leadership, the France government could have kept control. However, Louis XVI’s indecisive actions made the system worse as he began taxing the upper classes.
  • Dawn of the Revolution

    The upper classes started a “Estates-General”, an assembly of representatives from all the estates. (in Versailles)They would meet and vote. However, the 2 privileged estates often outvoted the lower estate.

    • The National Assembly
      • The 3rd estate voted for a National Assembly, which would pass laws and reforms for the French people.
      • Soon, these delegates were locked out of their room. The found a tennis court and pledged to create a new constitution. This pledge was the “Tennis Court Oath”. Soon, nobles and other clergy who favored reform joined them. This caused Louis to call his mercenary of Swiss guards around the city of Versailles.
    • Storming the Bastille
      • Paris citizens were threatened by the Swiss mercenaries and began to gather weapons. Soon, a mob stormed the Bastille, a prison. This mob killed the guards, put their heads on pikes, and declared the day a national holiday for revolution – Bastille Day.
  • A Great Fear Sweeps France
    • This rebellion soon spread into the countryside. This wave of panic spread throughout France and the fighting began. They invaded Versailles and took the king and his family.

1776 – 1781

  1. Brinton’s Paradigm of Revolution
    1. Old Regime (Conservative)
      1. Weak economy
      2. Weak government
      3. Conflict between classes
      4. New ideas
    2. First Stages
      1. Symbolic Acts (Stamp Acts, Tea Party)
      2. Planning (Congress’s)
      3. Role of Force (Continental Army, Minutemen)
    3. Moderates
      1. Diplomacy
      2. Moderates take charge
        1. Petition
        2. Continental Congress
        3. Boycotts
    4. Extremists (Radical left)
      1. Coup d’etat
        1. New government
      2. Declare independence
        1. Guerrilla warfare
      3. Organization
        1. Continental army, congress
    5. Reign of Terror
      1. Extremists kill moderates/conservatives
      2. Forced to support revolution
        1. “patriotism”
      3. Pressure of war, economy
    6. New Government
      1. Laws, leaders, constitution
      2. Power from the people