Napoleon Forges an Empire: Storyboard

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  • In October of 1795, royalist rebels marched on the National Convention.  Napoleon Bonaparte, a member of the French military, was sent to defend the delegates of the Assembly.  Napoleon had surprised the rebels with a cannonade causing them to flee which lead Napoleon to become the hero of the hour.  Napoleon was then appointed, by the Directory, to lead a French army against the forces of Austria and Sardinia.
  • Napoleon went on to lead the French army to many victories throughout Italy but was defeated by the British navy in an attempt to disrupt trade between Great Britain and India while in Egypt.  It wasn't until November 1799 that Napoleon had planned to take control of the government in France, as it was left weakened.  Napoleon and his troops surrounded the national legislature and drove out its members.
  • Following Napoleon's revolt, the Directory was dissolved and a group of three consuls was formed in its place.  Napoleon took the role of the first consul and ruled like a dictator.  He made many reforms to French society and government that disregarded beliefs and ideas of the revolution.  In order to drive Napoleon from power, Britain, Austria, and Russia joined forces in 1799.  
  • In 1804, Napoleon had made himself emperor with the support of French voters.  Napoleon had planned to conquer all of Europe and weaken Great Britain, another great power within Europe.  In 1803, France sold lands from the New World to the United States in hopes of forming a strong alliance against Britain.
  • In efforts to expand France, Napoleon made various mistakes that would eventually lead to his downfall.  The Continental System, a forced blockade formed by Napoleon in order to decrease trade between Great Britain and Europe, brought upon many conflicts such as the Peninsular War between France and Portugal, and the War of 1812 in America.
  • Another great mistake made by Napoleon during his reign was the invasion of Russia.  Because the czar of Russia refused to stop selling grain to Great Britain, Napoleon decided to invade and attempt to conquer Russia despite their previous alliance.  Alexander I of Russia used a scorched-earth policy in order to trap and weaken Napoleon's troops within Russia.  At the Battle of Borodino, the French were left with an unfortunate defeat alongside a weakened military and economy. 
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