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Europe has been the focal point in history for hundreds of years. It has been the stating and ending place of many empires. Europe in the Nineteenth Century was a very critical point in history. Wars were being fought, boundaries of countries changed, countries were becoming unified, revolutions destroyed countries, but the most critical happening that did more to shape Europe's character and structure in the Nineteenth Century, than any other event was the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon.
The era of the French Revolution and Napoleon took place between the years of 1789 and 1850 and has impacted Europe the most in the Nineteenth Century. The French Revolution and Napoleon have had the most influence on Europe in the Nineteenth Century. The starting of this era was the French Revolution. The French Revolution was a social revolution caused by the growing middle class. The Revolution caused a change of power in the government. The power went from the kings and nobles to the people of the country.
During the revolution the Declaration of the Rights of Man was created. This declaration stated: All men are created equal, natural rights of liberty, security, property, and resistance to oppression were given to all citizens, the government existed to protect these rights, the due process of law was created, also the idea of innocent until proven guilty. These laws in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and other ideas soon spread across Europe. The French Revolution proved that the people have the ability to overthrow the government. This scared many countries in Europe, because other monarchies did not want to lose their power. The French Revolution showed that other countries could have a social revolution as well.
The idea of the nation-state also emerged from the French Revolution. The nation-states general concept is that the power of the nation resides with the people of the nation. All these ideas that were brought out by the French Revolution were spreading all over the rest of Europe. Most of these countries went to war with France for what they were doing in the Revolution. France was destroying the monarchy and replacing it with a new government, and other countries were afraid that this would happen to their country as well. These ideas that were spreading because of the French Revolution impacted other countries by filling citizens minds of those countries with the same ideas.
Napoleons conquering of countries only greaten ed these spread of ideas. These citizens thought they could do the same a France did, and overthrow their government. These ideas greatly affected the way people in the nineteenth century thought about their government. If the citizens did not approve of their government they could overthrow it as proven in the French Revolution. When Napoleon Bonaparte took control he made many changes that shaped the character of Europe in the Nineteenth Century. First off, Napoleon had schools built all over France to educate the country.
The education would enhance the economy of the nation. Many other countries would in turn, build schools following the changes that the French took on. Napoleon created the Napoleonic Code, which he imposed over all the lands that he conquered. The Napoleonic Code was a set of codes, which included: no more hereditary or social distinction, no more class privileges, peasants would be freed of serfdom, and guilds and local oligarchies lost all their power. These laws provided more freedom to the lower and middle classes.
Even after the defeat of Napoleon, these laws still were in effect. The nobles and kings wanted to banish these rules, but one couldnt just take these rights away from the peasants. This affected the places that Napoleon conquered because the peasants wanted these freedoms of which the nobles forbid. The most important thing Napoleon did to influence Europe was the bringing of the Industrial Revolution.
Napoleon used the continental system as a way to hurt the English economically by cutting off all trade from England to the continent. When Napoleon cut off all trade with England, he created an unbalance in the law of supply and demand. Because of this imbalance, the European continent started to industrialize to compensate for the goods that they were denied. There would have been no disruption in the law of supply and demand if Napoleon had not installed the continental system; therefore, Europe the continent would have no need to industrialize. In reality, if it werent for Napoleons Continental System, the industrialization of the continent would not have taken place. Napoleon Bonaparte used a set of laws he called the Napoleonic Code to rule over the people he conquered and also brought about the Industrial Revolution on the continent of Europe.
These things Napoleon did during his rule greatly changed Europe during the Nineteenth Century. Another man in French history, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte also transformed Europe in the Eighteen Hundreds. Louis became ruler of France after he overthrew his own government, and he was also part of a secret cult that was sworn to unify Italy. Louis helped to unify Italy by helping Sardinia Piedmont acquire the lands of Lombardy and Parma from a war with Austria.
Sardinia Piedmont later took over the rest of Northern Italy and soon afterwards Guiseppe Garibaldi finally unified Italy. When the Prussians when to war with Austria, that Italians allied with the Prussians because Italians wanted the land of Venetia from the Austrians. After the war with Prussia and Italy the Austrian-Hungarian Empire splits to recognize the Hungarian independence. The unification of Italy, Germany, and the split of the Austria-Hungry Empire are all a direct result of Louis involvement in aiding Italy to become a unified state.
These changes brought by Louis have greatly affected European structure in the 1800 s. The last and most important aspect that changed Europe's identity was nationalism. Nationalism emerged in the French Revolution and was used by Napoleon to make France a great power in most of Europe. Nationalism helped countries develop a national language. Official versions of national languages were taught in schools to replace local dialects. The unification of a language within a country can help in the economic and political aspects of a country.
Nationalism rose in the areas Napoleon conquered, and also brought about new nation-states such as Italy, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, and the split of the Austria-Hungarian Empire. According to our history text, Nationalism was and is based on the relative modern concept that a nation is composed of people who are joined together by the bonds of common language, customs, culture, and history, and who because of those bonds should be administered by the same government. Nationalist were the ones who actually created the nation-states previously mentioned. It was nationalism that changed the shape and character in the Ninetieth Century. The French Revolution and the two Napoleons that ruled France did many things that impacted the European countries the most in the nineteenth century.
The French Revolution brought about idea about nationalism, which lead to the unification and creation of countries in Europe. It also brought about the idea of the nation-state were the power of a county resided in the people. The Declaration of the Rights of Man was created during the French Revolution and spread the idea that all men are created equal. The French Revolution also proved that other countries could have a revolution. The spread of ideas because of the French Revolution scared the nobility of other counties, but it rose others attention of the citizens of a country because if the government was not working for the needs the people could overthrow the government. Napoleon Bonaparte aided in the process of European advancement.
Napoleons conquering of most of Europe spread the ideas that arose in the French Revolution to those French controlled areas. Napoleon was also responsible for the bringing the industrial revolution to the continent of Europe by the use of his continental system. With out the continental system there would have been no need to industrialize the continent because one could get supplies from Britain. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte helped in the unification of Italy, which cause a domino effect of the unification of Germany and the independence of Hungary.
So Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was responsible for beginning these actions, which lead to the unification of Italy, Germany, and the independence of Hungary. These nation-state unifications and independence's were significant events in Europe. Nationalism was the main cause that changed everything in Europe. Nationalism emerged in the French revolution and was spread to the rest of Europe by the conquest of Napoleon. Nationalism was the cornerstone for the creation of the nation-states in the nineteenth century. Nationalism also helped countries become more unified by helping create an official national language.
The French Revolution and the reign of both Napoleons changed the shape of Europe's boundaries, and influenced Europeans way of thinking, working, and living more than any other factor in the Nineteenth Century. Bibliography:
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