Napoleon and the Continental System After 1806

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June 2010 (3) Assess the impact of the Continental System on Europe after 1806. Timed practise essay CPE The Continental System, introduced by Napoleon via his Berlin, 1806, Milan, 1807 and Fontainebleau, 1810, Decrees; aimed at usurping Britain’s economic dominance and replacing her with France, on the whole had a detrimental effect upon the social, political and economic aspects of Europe. Moreover it led to the final defeat of Napoleon and the end of the Napoleonic era whilst affecting historical events for another hundred years. The Continental System was forced upon France’s allies and states which it influenced; against their will. Napoleon forced it upon them and if they refused Face would invade and control such as Louis’ Kingdom of Holland. However this military attempt to force the System led to many wars and campaigns that not only cost the enemy but also France. In the Iberian campaign, 1808-1813, and the Russian campaign, 1812, it led to deaths of soldiers who were not always French. In Russia Germanic states such as Wurttemberg and Bavaria provided 22 000 to serve Napoleon whilst the Kingdom of Italy produced 27 000. However the military failure cost these countries dearly. Only 1500 returned to “Germany” whilst only 1000 returned to “Italy”. The social effect was catastrophic as the population of these countries were depleted of working age men. Not only did Face need to employ conscription due to Napoleon’s desire for Anglo-Franco economic warfare but so did Britain. She increased the Portuguese army to 30 000 whilst demanding an additional 10000 to man the lines of Torres Vedras. The five years of conflict because of the British Orders of Council’s, 1807 and Napoleon’s Decrees brought the population of Portugal down from 3.2 million in 1807 to 2.9 million in 1812. Napoleon’s Continental System had a significantly adverse social effect upon the European countries as it depleted their population of men that the states depended their growth upon....
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