Napoleon Bonaparte and the Origins of Modern Europe: Napoleonic Reforms in the Grande Armée and the Rhineland
Keywords:Code Napoléon, Kleinstaaten, Rechtsstaat, Rhineland, Zollverein
AbstractContemporary Napoleonic scholarship on the conquest of Europe is in general agreement regarding the military aspects of Napoleon’s consolidation of power. In general terms, the Emperor’s rapid succession of military victories allowed him to consolidate authority and subsequently to implement the Napoleonic reforms in France and abroad. The overall aim of this paper is to broaden historical understanding of how the Napoleonic reforms were implemented and impacted European society at a grassroots level. This paper begins with an examination of how the meritocratic reorganization of the Grande Armée gradually expanded into a comprehensive overhaul of European political and economic institutions; a progressive development unprecedented in scope in European history. Specifically, this paper argues that the impact of the Napoleonic reforms outlasted the Emperor’s fall in 1815, and was instrumental in laying the legal and economic foundations of modern Europe.
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