Access whether the benefits of Napoleon's rule in France and Europe outweigh the costs between 1799 and 1815

Essay by mattskiba October 2006

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During Napoleon's rule between 1799 and 1815 the benefits did not outweighed the costs. Even though Napoleon temporarily ended the civil unrest caused by the Revolution he destroyed many of the Revolution's ideas and work. Also, his many military victories were not ultimately beneficial as it costed thousands of lives and dollars and Napoleon eventually lost control of the land he had captured.

From 1799 to 1815 Napoleon had led the French people to many great war victories. He defended France from the Austrian armies and led them to victories in Italy. By October 1797 all of Northern Italy was under French control. Later he defeated the Egyptians in the Battle of the Pyramids then defeated the Austrians in the Battle of Marengo. Soon after, Napoleon's army defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Hohenlinden in Germany; this brought the Second Coalition to an end, resulting in a peace treaty signed in Lunéville in 1801.

This left France in control of Belgium, of German lands in on the river Khine and northern Italy. These victories were, however, short lived.

Napoleon's short lived victories did not justify the costs of the war. During his campaign he lost many thousand troops and had to increase taxes to pay for the war, with the German states alone contributing 560 million francs. The soldiers took their food they needed from villages and farms they passed, killing animals digging up crops and sleeping in their houses. Later he prohibited all states under his control in the Continental System to trade with Britain. Portugal refused to join it and so Napoleon decided to invade it. That Spanish and British joined the Portuguese and fought in the 'Peninsular War'. This costed Napoleon huge amounts of money and a quarter of a million soldiers and became...