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Napoleon’s Empire
• Crowned emperor
in 1804
• Controlled most of Europe by 1812
• Led armies to conquer surrounding
• Empire included parts of Spain, modern-day
Germany, and Italy
Three Mistakes
Blockade of Britain
Known as the “Continental System”
Intended to weaken Britain’s economic and political
Attempted to prevent trade between Europe and Britain
The Peninsular War
Invasion of Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal)
Lost over 300,000 French soldiers
Invasion of Russia
Beginning in June of 1812, Napoleon led his armies
into Russia
Czar Alexander I pulled them further into Russia,
burning fields and killing livestock along the way
(“scorched earth policy”)
Russians pull French armies into Moscow, which
they had burned down, leaving nothing to sustain
French soldiers
By November, Russian winter was setting in with
snow and freezing temperatures
French armies were caught off guard and many
froze to death
Few returned to France
The End of Napoleon
• Following the defeat in Russia, Napoleon
surrendered his throne
• Exiled to Elba, an island off the west coast of Italy
• Escaped from Elba, joined up with his supporters,
and attempted to regain power
• Defeated at Waterloo and exiled to St. Helena
• As French armies conquered lands and people, they
spread Enlightenment ideas and the story of their
• Natural rights
• Social contract theory
• Limited government
• Napoleon tried to impose French customs and culture
on conquered people
• Conquered people began to feel more loyalty to their
original national customs and cultures
• Nationalism
The belief that one’s greatest loyalty is to a shared culture, including common
history, language, religion, and nationality, not to a leader or border
• Napoleon’s empire actually ignited nationalism across Europe, forming
new nations
Congress of Vienna
•Meeting of powerful European leaders
•Reestablished the balance of power after the
collapse of Napoleon’s empire
•All lands taken by Napoleon were returned to
the nations to which they belonged before
•Reinstated absolute monarchs
•Influence of Enlightenment ideas and rise of
feelings of nationalism caused the people to
want limited governments
Nationalist Movements
•Unification of different states that shared
common interests
•Separation of splintered groups from current
government to form one that was more
representative of their own interests
•New nation-states formed across Europe
•Greeks rebelled against Ottoman Empire to
become independent nation in 1830
•Followed by Belgium, Russia, and France
• German Confederation consisted of 39 loosely-joined
• Austria and Prussia were the most powerful
• Prussia led the unification movement
• King Wilhelm I appointed Otto von Bismarck as
Prime Minister
• Bismarck ruled with “realpolitik”, a style of power
politics that was forceful
• After several wars, Germany unified
• Camillo di Cavour led the unification of the North
Italian states
• Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia was the largest and
most powerful state
• Cavour conquered other occupied northern Italian
• At the same time, Giuseppe Garibaldi captured Sicily
in the south and continued to move north, unifying
the Italian states
• Once united, King Victor Emmanuel II led the country