The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and their Aftermath


Day course

Mike Shaw

12 March 2022

9:00 am to 4:00 pm


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The French Revolution was triggered by the bankruptcy of the French state in part as a consequence of its assistance to the American Revolutionaries. Thus were the ideas of individual liberty re-imported to France. The fall of the Bourbon monarchy brought war to Europe for a generation as a succession of French governments sought to unite the nation and export the revolution. The various coalitions of European powers financed by Great Britain endeavoured to snuff out the forces unleashed.

When the revolution had run its course, the ambitious General Bonaparte seized power and consolidated his position as the Emperor Napoleon. Like the Bourbons before him, he sought to impose French hegemony on the remainder of Europe. Ultimately he overstretched French resources and failed but not before imposing standardised commercial and legal frameworks on much of western Europe.

While the statesmen who met in Vienna in 1814 sought to return Europe to the status quo ante, they established an informal framework for the maintenance of good relations between nation states, they could not suppress many of the ideas unleashed by the revolution.

Tutor information

Mike Shaw was a regular soldier for over 30 years and has been a keen student of history all his life. A regular contributor to the Dillington programme, he has an interest in the history of the continent as a whole, particularly where western and slavic cultures have been impacted. A frequent independent traveller through the whole continent, he explores how trading networks flourished from the earliest times despite the countervailing demands of religion and tribal security. He offers rare insights into how historical perspectives have influenced more recent events. More importantly however, it is the way he tells the story.

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