Napoleonic War revision notes A Level History

  • Created by: S_webb
  • Created on: 30-08-18 22:48
  • Strengths pre-war: France's population stood at about twice that of Britain, but Britain was the second-most urbanised Europan country and had a more industrialised, faster-growing economy. The British treasury was also capable of funding far more military expenditure than the French by selling government stocks and through the strength of the Bank of England, and furthermore could afford to fund its allies to the tune of £50 million (£4.6 million went to Austria alone, for instance). The Royal Navy was strong enough to defend much of Britain's maritime trade and the British East India Company had ousted France from much of the subcontinent, but the French navy had still proven sufficient to defeat the British previous in America and was a force that had to be reckoned with. The Navy also played a role in blockading French ports, and the French invasion attempts in Ireland in 1796 and Fishguard in 1797 were abortive. By 1815 there were about 250,000 men in the army from a base of 40,000, where Napoleon even after the 1813 disaster in Russia could draw from 1,000,000 men vs the 100,000-strong Anglo-Portuguese forces on the Iberian peninsula. So backward, however, was French industry relative to the British that French uniforms were made from British imported cloth. The fiction of the day was influenced by the army such as in Austen's works, displaying contrasting characteristics of valour and honour but also ineptitude in some, or in Charlotte Bronte's Shirley which depicts the impact of war on cloth-makers in Yorkshire.
  • In 1805 Napoleon swiftly defeated Austria, Prussia and Russia, and proceeded to appoint his brother Joseph as king of Spain, angering many who were otherwise allied to him. In 1807 there was then an invasion of Portugal which triggered the Peninsula War as Britain went to war to defend its ally Portugal and to wrest control of the Iberian peninsula (hence the name of the war)
  • Impact of war upon economy -- 1793-1813 cotton 3x, iron and steel same period 4x, steam locomotive demonstrated 1804, industrial progress stimulated.
  • "Agrarian revolution": larger farms, fewer workers, new crop rotation systems, select breeding, fewer hroses, oxen, men etc. needed. Output 50% higher than other European countries, Corn output increased 1790-1810 by 20%, cultivated of commo and waste land. 
  • Grrand Junctio Canal 1805 and other canals, "turnpike trusts" established to collect tools and maintain the then-private roads.
  • Continental System was largely a failure -- Sweden reopened trade in 1808, Russia 1810, markets in the Carribean and South America, 1810-1812 imports/exports declined, bankruptcies 2x, poor harests and 1812 war with usa. exports to Europe doubled betwene 1790s and end of the wars.
  • War debt -- £1600 million (cf. 7 years £160m), financial squeeze upon private spending. Wagess stagnated, introduction of income task. Eastr Indian Company in India and China, duties on Asian imports, after 1798 convoys wre made compulsory to protect against privateers. 
  • Role of government in the Wars: Pitt the Younger restored Britains finances, 1793-1801 controleld war strategy wit hDundas and Grenville…


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