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The Continental System. Section 10.49. Questions to Consider. Describe Napoleon’s efforts to find a basis other than force for the unification of Europe. How did he hope to exploit existing attitudes toward Great Britain?

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questions to consider
Questions to Consider
  • Describe Napoleon’s efforts to find a basis other than force for the unification of Europe. How did he hope to exploit existing attitudes toward Great Britain?
  • In what basic way did the British blockade and Napoleon’s Continental System resemble each other? How did the United States become involved in this economic warfare? Results?
  • Explain the objective of Napoleon’s Continental System with respect to the economy of Continental Europe.
  • What were the chief reasons for the failure of the Continental System? What effect did it have as a short-range war measure?
  • Objective of Continental System is to crush Great Britain to unify and master all of Europe
  • Bonaparte used common themes of Enlightenment to inspire his allies
  • Encouraged rationalism, scientific inquiry, modernity, progressivism
  • the end of medievalism, feudalism, ignorance !!!
  • Yet he evoked Romanism (all European Feeling) and the glory of the past
    • Architecture reflects Imperial Glory
    • Massive empire furniture,
    • He built the Arch of Triumph (1806-36)
    • Church of the Madeleine=temple to glory
  • Also worked up latent hostility toward Britain
  • jealousy toward their success and methods of keeping it
  • Continentals felt the danger of British sea power for commerce of others
british blockade napoleon s continental system
British Blockade & Napoleon’s Continental System
  • Chief aim of British blockade was to undermine enemy commerce
  • British did not expect to starve them out or deprive them of necessary war materials
  • Western Europe was self-sufficient in food, armaments
  • accepted trade with British goods on the Continent
  • but by depriving enemy commerce, it would diminish revenues of gov and weaken its position in world markets
anti british sentiments
Anti-British Sentiments
  • Britain labeled as a modern Carthage
    • Ruthless, profit-seeking power trying to enslave Europe
    • GB did in fact have a monopoly in overseas shipping and Industrial Rev was beginning to produce cheap cloth
  • Strong anti-GB feeling among bourgeoisie, commercial classes
  • “a nation of shopkeepers” according to Nap
  • Fighting with bank accounts not blood
  • Napoleon beat the anti English drum to unify Europe (Incubus)
  • Purpose of both Cont System and British blockade is to destroy the enemy's commerce, credit, public revenues by destroying its exports while at the same time build up markets for itself
trade warfare
Trade Warfare
  • Berlin Decree (Napoleon)
  • prohibits importation of British goods
  • Orders in Council of 11/1807(Britain)
    • neutrals must stop in British ports before entering continent (where they could load up some of their own goods)
  • Milan Decree (Napoleon) 12/1807
    • Neutral ships that traded with Britain would be confiscated
  • U.S. is only neutral
  • Jefferson declares Embargo Act (a self-imposed commercial isolation)
  • Embargo against European goods fails
  • U.S. aggress to trade only with the first to lift the restrictions
  • Napoleon is first to respond (no Parliament to consult)
  • U.S. declares war on Britain
  • Anglo-American War 1812
  • Dismal outcome for U.S (Canada)

Napoleon Bonaparte playing

chess with King George III

the failure of the continental system
The Failure of the Continental System
  • Purpose was to set up a EU type of integrated economy for the whole Continent
  • Worst than a failure
    • Caused widespread antagonism to Napoleon’s regime
  • Sugar and Tobacco demands caused the Continental system to fail
  • ‘the destinies of Europe tuned upon a barrel of sugar!’ Nap
  • Was demand for Continental goods
  • biggest problem was transportation (goods had to be moved over land)
  • slow and expensive compared to water transport
  • System favored France and failed to stop trade to new markets for Britain
  • Satellites forbidden to have tariff against France but France had one against them
  • Eastern Europeans needed manufactured goods and couldn’t get them
    • Poland, Prussia, and Russia couldn’t sell their produce
    • Ie. Aristocracy in E. Europe sympathized with Brits
  • Continental system hurt GB but not too bad
  • Made up for lost trade with expanded trade in Latin American
  • Annual income of Brits more than doubled (L140 Mil to 335 Mil from 1792-1814)