Visual History of the World
The Modern Era
1789 - 1914
In Europe, the revolutionary transformation of the ruling systems
and state structures began with a bang: In 1789 the French
Revolution broke out in Paris, and its motto "Liberte, Egalite,
Fraternite"—Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood—took on an irrepressible
force. A fundamental reorganization of society followed the French
Revolution. The ideas behind the revolution were manifest in
Napoleon's Code Civil, which he imposed on many European nations.
The 19th century also experienced a transformation of society from
another source: The Industrial Revolution established within society
a poorer working class that stood in opposition to the merchant and
trading middle class. The nascent United States was shaken by an
embittered civil war. The economic growth that set in following that
war was accompanied by the development of imperialist endeavors and
its rise to the status of a Great Power.
Liberty Leading the People,
allegory of the 1830 July revolution that deposed the French
with Marianne as the personification of liberty,
contemporary painting by Eugene Delacroix.
(From David to Delacroix)
1792 - 1814
Napoleon Bonaparte - biography
1769 August 15 - Birth at Ajaccio, Corsica
1779 College d’Autun, later Military School Brienne
1784 Royal Military School in Paris
1793 Brigadier General
1795 Commander of the Army of the Interior
1796, March - Head of the Army of Italy
1798 Egyptian Campaign
1799 First Consul of France
1802 Treaty of Amiens
1804 Emperor of the French
1805, Sept 21 - Oct 20 - Battle of Ulm
1805, October 21 - Battle of Trafalgar
1805, December 2 - Battle of Austerlitz
1807, February 7–8 - Battle of Eylau
1808 Peninsular War
1809, May 21-22 - Battle of Aspern-Essling
1809, July 5-6 - Battle of Wagram
1812 Russian Campaign
1813 Battle of the Nations at Leipzig, Germany
1814 Abdication, Elba
1815 Waterloo (Belgium), St. Helena
1821 May 5 - Death on St. Helena Island
The Loss of Hegemony over Europe
In 1810 Napoleon stood at the height of his power and ruled
Europe. The wars with Spain and Russia, however, caused his fall.
Napoleon marched through Spain to Portugal, occupying Spanish cities
and installing his brother Joseph Bonaparte as king, having inveigled
the Spanish royal family to Bayonne and held them there. On the second
of May, 1808, the people rebelled.
The 8 Spanish War of Independence was
waged primarily as a guerrilla war and lasted five years, until the
Spanish, aided by a powerful British army under the command of Arthur
Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, and later victor over Napoleon, were able
to expel the invaders at the end of 1813. This victory proved to other
nations that resistance against French occupation could be successful.
8 The Executions on Principe Pio Hill, executions of
rebellious civilians by French soldiers in May 1808, painting by
Francisco de Goya, 1814
Francisco de Goya's
The Third of May 1808, painted in 1814, depicts the
civilian executions that occurred following the Dos de Mayo Uprising.
Five thousand defenders of Madrid were executed in two days.
Austria's leading minister, Count Johann Philipp von Stadion, believed
in 1809 that the time was ripe for a revolt against France, but
Napoleon's 12 victory at Wagram only caused Austria further loss of
12 Battle of Wagram on July 5-6, 1809
Battle of Wagram
Battle of Wagram by Emil Adam
(July 5–6, 1809), victory for Napoleon, which forced Austria to sign an
armistice and led eventually to the Treaty of Schönbrunn in October,
ending Austria’s 1809 war against the French control of Germany. The
battle was fought on the Marchfeld (a plain northeast of Vienna) between
154,000 French and other troops under Napoleon and 158,000 Austrians
under Archduke Charles. After a defeat at Aspern-Essling in May,
Napoleon needed a victory to prevent a new anti-French coalition from
forming. Charles deployed his army along a 14-mile (23-kilometre) front
(with the village of Wagram in the centre) to await the French attack.
Napoleon decided to attack before Charles could be reinforced by the
30,000 troops of his brother, Archduke John. On the evening of July 5,
after having crossed the Danube River, he hastily attacked the thinly
stretched Austrian positions but was beaten back.
On the morning of July 6 Charles attacked in the south to cut the
French off from the Danube and envelop their southern flank. Napoleon’s
main attack was in the north, at the Austrian line along Russbach Brook.
By reinforcing his southern flank, Napoleon repelled the Austrian attack
there; at the same time, the French attack in the north succeeded.
Napoleon then launched the final assault against the Austrian centre and
split it. By the time Archduke John appeared in the late afternoon,
Charles’s army was already in retreat. John was easily driven off. The
battle took a terrible toll, mostly from the heaviest concentration of
artillery fire yet employed in any war; Austria suffered more than
40,000 casualties and France about 34,000. Four days later Charles asked
for an armistice.
11 Tyrolean freedom fighters led by Andreas Hofer
The 11 Tyrolean uprising was part of the Austrian revolt that
was quickly crushed after initial successes; its leader, Andreas Hofer,
was shot in 1810 in Mantua.
In order to bring peace to the
French-Austrian front, Napoleon forced a marriage between himself and
the emperor's daughter, Marie Louise.
In the same year, Russia refused to accept the Continental System aimed
at isolating Great Britain, whereupon Napoleon invaded Russia in June
1812 with his Grande Armee of more than 600,000 soldiers, only about
half of which were French. The French reached Moscow in September. The
Russians retreated, leaving only "scorched earth" behind, thus
minimizing French gains.
This tactic proved truly effective only after
the 10 Battle of Borodino, one of the most merciless of the 19th century,
the 9 torching of Moscow, and the refusal of peace negotiations.
army was suffering such privations that he was forced to retreat in the
winter, losing most of his army. The myth of Napoleon's invincibility
10 Napoleon near
Borodino, by Vasiliy Vereshagin; 9 Napoleon watches Moscow burn, 1812
Battle of Borodino
Napoleon and Marshal Loriston, "Peace at all costs!"
Vasily Vereshchagin, 1900
(Sept. 7 [Aug. 26, Old Style], 1812), bloody battle of the Napoleonic
Wars, fought during Napoleon’s invasion of Russia, about 70 miles (110
km) west of Moscow, near the river Moskva. It was fought between
Napoleon’s 130,000 troops, with more than 500 guns, and 120,000 Russians
with more than 600 guns. Napoleon’s success allowed him to occupy
Moscow. The Russians were commanded by General M.I. Kutuzov, who had
halted the Russian retreat at the town of Borodino and hastily built
fortifications, to block the French advance to Moscow. Napoleon feared
that an attempt to outflank the Russians might fail and allow them to
escape, so he executed a crude frontal attack. From 6 am to noon the
fierce fighting seesawed back and forth along the three-mile (five-kilometre)
front. By noon the French artillery began to tip the scales, but the
successive French attacks were not strong enough to overwhelm Russian
resistance. Napoleon, distant from, and perhaps unsure of, the situation
on the smoke-obscured battlefield, refused to commit the 20,000-man
Imperial Guard and 10,000 other practically fresh troops. Because
Kutuzov had already committed every available man, Napoleon thus
forfeited the chance of gaining a decisive, rather than a narrow,
victory. Both sides became exhausted during the afternoon, and the
battle subsided into a cannonade, which continued until nightfall.
Kutuzov withdrew during the night, and a week later Napoleon occupied
Moscow unopposed. The Russians suffered about 45,000 casualties,
including Prince Pyotr Ivanovich Bagration, commander of the 2nd Russian
army. The French lost about 30,000 men. Although the Russian army was
badly mauled, it survived to fight again and, in the end, drove Napoleon
out of Russia.
Archduke Charles of Austria in his speech:
the German Nation," 1809:
"We fight for Germany, for independence and to restore the national
honor that is our due.
Germans, recognize your position!
Take help where
it is offered; contribute to your own saving; Be worth our respect!
the German who forgets himself is our enemy."
Arch Duke Charles, Austrian Warlord
(1771 - 1847)
The Napoleonic Code
Napoleon's domination of Europe was founded not only on his
success in war but also on his equally innovative—and
In the same year as the 1 coup d'etat of November 1799, which led to
the introduction of the Consulate, a new constitution, tailor-made for
and approved by Napoleon, came into force.
1 The Directory is dissolved in a coup d'etat in 1799, contemporary
Napoleon had himself elected
2 first consul and in 1802 secured the office for life.
2 Napoleon and his co-consuls
Two years later,
he discarded the consulate entirely and had himself
4 crowned emperor of
the French in November 1804.
4 Napoleon crowns Josephine Empress of France in
Notre Dame Cathedral following his own coronation, painting by
3 The Code Civil, 1804
Napoleon determined to centralize power, reorganize the economy and made
a concordat with Pope Pius VIII, which recognized Catholicism as the
religion of the majority of the French People but accepted the
nationalization of Church property. He introduced civil service (with
lifelong job security); reformed the educational system, civic
administration, and courts; and centralized the government while
preserving essential civil rights.
Enacted in 1804 and still in force today, Napoleon's
3 Code Civil (the
Napoleonic code) guarantees individual equality before the law, personal
freedom, the right to property, and a regulated civil wedding as well as
Napoleon also reorganized the constitutions and civil laws of the
territories he conquered in accordance with this code, ironically, the
rights and laws he himself introduced allowed resistance against the
Napoleonic occupation to grow.
French Code Napoléon Main
French civil code enacted in 1804 and still
extant, with revisions; it has been the main
influence in the 19th-century civil codes of
most countries of continental Europe and Latin
The demand for codification and, indeed,
codification itself preceded the Napoleonic era.
Diversity of laws was the dominant
characteristic of the prerevolutionary legal
order. Roman law governed in the south of
France, whereas in the northern provinces,
including Paris, a customary law had developed,
based largely on feudal Frankish and Germanic
institutions. Marriage and family life were
almost exclusively within the control of the
Roman Catholic church and governed by canon law.
In addition, starting in the 16th century, a
growing number of matters were governed by royal
decrees and ordinances and by a case law
developed by the parlements. Each area had its
own collection of customs, and, despite efforts
in the 16th and 17th centuries to organize and
codify each of these local customary laws, there
had been little success at national unification.
Vested interests blocked efforts at
codification, because reform would encroach upon
After the French Revolution, codification
became not only possible but almost necessary.
Powerful control groups such as the manors and
the guilds had been destroyed; the secular power
of the church had been suppressed; and the
provinces had been transformed into subdivisions
of the new national state. The Napoleonic Code,
therefore, was founded on the premise that, for
the first time in history, a purely rational law
should be created, free from all past prejudices
and deriving its content from “sublimated common
sense”; its moral justification was to be found
not in ancient custom or monarchical paternalism
but in its conformity to the dictates of reason.
Under the code all male citizens are equal:
primogeniture, hereditary nobility, and class
privileges are extinguished; civilian
institutions are emancipated from ecclesiastical
control; freedom of person, freedom of contract,
and inviolability of private property are
The first book of the code deals with the law
of persons: the enjoyment of civil rights, the
protection of personality, domicile,
guardianship, tutorship, relations of parents
and children, marriage, personal relations of
spouses, and the dissolution of marriage by
annulment or divorce. The code subordinated
women to their fathers and husbands, who
controlled all family property, determined the
fate of children, and were favoured in divorce
proceedings. Many of these provisions were only
reformed in the second half of the 20th century.
The second book deals with the law of things:
the regulation of property rights—ownership,
usufruct, and servitudes. The third book deals
with the methods of acquiring rights: by
succession, donation, marriage settlement, and
obligations. In the last chapters, the code
regulates a number of nominate contracts, legal
and conventional mortgages, limitations of
actions, and prescriptions of rights.
With regard to obligations, the law
establishes the traditional Roman-law categories
of contract, quasi-contract, delict, and
quasi-delict. Freedom to contract is not spelled
out explicitly but is an underlying principle in
The code was originally introduced into areas
under French control in 1804: Belgium,
Luxembourg, parts of western Germany,
northwestern Italy, Geneva, and Monaco. It was
later introduced into territories conquered by
Napoleon: Italy, The Netherlands, the Hanseatic
lands, and much of the remainder of western
Germany and Switzerland. The code is still in
use in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Monaco.
During the 19th century, the Napoleonic Code
was voluntarily adopted in a number of European
and Latin American countries, either in the form
of simple translation or with considerable
modifications. The Italian Civil Code of 1865,
enacted after the unification of Italy, had a
close but indirect relationship with the
Napoleonic Code. The new Italian code of 1942
departed to a large extent from this tradition.
In Latin America in the early 19th century, the
code was introduced into Haiti and the Dominican
Republic and is still in force there. Bolivia
and Chile followed closely the arrangement of
the code and borrowed much of its substance. The
Chilean code was in turn copied by Ecuador and
Colombia, closely followed by Uruguay and
In Louisiana, the only civil-law state in the
United States (which is otherwise bound by
common law), the civil code of 1825 (revised in
1870 and still in force) is closely connected
with the Napoleonic Code.
The influence of the Napoleonic Code was
diminished at the turn of the century by the
introduction of the German Civil Code (1900) and
the Swiss Civil Code (1912); the former was
adopted by Japan and the latter by Turkey. In
the 20th century, codes in Brazil, Mexico,
Greece, and Peru were products of a comparative
method, with ideas borrowed from the German,
French, and Swiss.
„Boney and his New Wife, or a Quarrell about Nothing“
(caricature of Napoléon Bonaparte and his wife Marie Louise of Austria
The Rise of
Born on August 15,1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, Napoleon was marked out
early for a military career. He graduated as a lieutenant of artillery
in 1785 and quickly rose through the ranks.
He was promoted to brigadier
general in 1793, after he had assumed command of an artillery brigade
and recaptured Toulon from the English.
In 1795 he crushed a royalist
revolt in Paris and was rewarded with appointment as commander of the
Army of the Interior.
In 1796, he was given command of the army in
Italy. His marriage to the aristocratic Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796
gave Napoleon access to politically influential people.
El triunfo de Bonaparte,
The Consulate Constitution
The Constitution of 1799 was the fifth French constitution since the
start of the French Revolution. It called for a Senate appointed by the
first consul, a Tribunate, and the Corps Legislatif.
The three consuls
were elected by the Senate for ten years. The legislative body, the heart
of a democratic constitution, was subordinate to the first consul; it
could vote only on bills presented to it.
Only the first consul could
propose new laws. The first consul also appointed all officials, judges,
Napoleon Crowned by Time drafts the
Civil Code, by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse