THE PURPOSE AND FALL OF THE NAPOLEONIC EMPIRE IN THE LOW COUNTRIES AND ITALY

Open Access
Author:
Borsuk-Woodman, Nicholas Francis
Area of Honors:
History
Degree:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Sylvia E Neely, Thesis Supervisor
  • Catherine Wanner, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • napoleon
  • french empire
  • low countries
  • france
Abstract:
The Purpose and Fall of the Napoleonic Empire in the Low Countries and Italy investigates Napoleon’s aims for the Empire and the reasons for its final demise in the Low Countries and Italy. This work will examine these two aspects in Belgium, the Netherlands, Northern Italy, and Naples. First, I scrutinize Stuart’s Woolf’s thesis that Napoleon attempted to integrate Europe in order to create a single-European state that benefitted the entire continent. I attack his thesis by referring to Paul Schroeder’s argument that Napoleon viewed Europe as colonies that were meant to benefit France. Many of those European colonies benefitted from Napoleon’s colonization, Belgium, Piedmont, and the Kingdom of Italy, while others suffered under his demands, especially the Netherlands and Naples. The underlying theme was the institutions Napoleon implanted into these areas in order to extract their resources. The second argument assaults the view that nationalism was the cause of the fall of the Empire. Through analyzing the Low Countries and Italy, I demonstrate that entrenched political factions existed, separated on financial and economic issues, conscription, and religion. If political factions existed, how could nationalism be the mobilizing factor for populations to stand against the Empire? The fall of the Empire occurred due to the lack of support from any faction in each territory for the Empire.