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Old December 7th, 2012, 01:44 PM   #61

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
You must be kidding.

Certainly not when the own patriotic citizens of the occupied nations were being systematically as cannonfodder for the aforementioned universal conquest campaign against remote populations that have never done anything against the very homeland of the recruits.

Certainly not when hundreds of thousands of French men were being so futilely and massively wasted just for the personal ambition of a single man.
Sylla, I don't doubt it's unintentional, so I have the impression you don't mean it, but please be aware that your tone can be read as rather condescending and aggressive at times.

In regards to conscription, I'll simply add that it has to be seen in the (short-term) longue durée, or at least the precedent, of the conscription measures of the Revolution itself - first in February '93 with the selective levy, and then the overarching August levée en masse.

You're taking two different things here: one is Napoleon's treatment of his soldiers (to quote you, "[wasting them] for the personal ambition of a single man"), the other being conscription itself as a principle (that is, the post you responded to, which discussed whether the French system of conscription under Napoleon is to be seen as 'good' or not).

For the first part, I do agree with you, to some extent. His abandonment of his troops in the return from Russia, yes, did demonstrate a capacity to serve his own interests foremost - but he was also, say, returning swiftly to ensure security and to not bring down overall morale for his other troops, elsewhere. And he did lead them, as perhaps epitomised by his early campaign in Italy, famously crossing with his men across the Bridge of Arcole, where, as to be often repeated later, his presence as a figurehead - if you like, as an icon, which he certainly grew to fulfill even more as the years went on - spurred his men on. Think Caesar, to some degree, inspiring his men to fight willingly for him. Likewise, one mustn't forget that many were keen on fighting, that the army life did provide its securities and, for one, Napoleon's consolidation of power did help evolve nascent French nationalism. On that topic, so as not to stray from what the topic's creator wants, the most notable scholarship in recent times has been from David Bell:

The Cult of the Nation in France: Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800: David A. Bell: 9780674012370: Amazon.com: Books
The Cult of the Nation in France: Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800: David A. Bell: 9780674012370: Amazon.com: Books

(Who coincidentally also has written on the Napoleonic Wars, albeit in a much more debatable way - that's a different conversation, though.)

All the best.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 01:49 PM   #62

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And all the conquered populations under the Buonapartist yoke could have coughed too, as it was an equally fair point, even for the tragically misguided Polish patriots.
No you are not comparing like with like the moving of millions of 'poor' Europeans (the tickets were expensive for the poor) to the 'New World' is not the same as Napoleons expansion into established countries.

On the whole I would agree with your and Norman Davies' assesment, what ever the common man often has little choice in the matter.

Not a simple thing and varies from place to place, the common man (whoever he is) in Britain and Ireland was as like as not better off, in France perhaps but conscription and the war started to bite hard, Spain Portugal--NO way.

Germany (not that it existed) not so sure France was the 'kind master' she claimed to be, read good accounts of Northern Italy.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 01:55 PM   #63

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Re: Conscription

While certainly not ideal, the French system was certainly preferable to some of the other systems of conscription in Europe during this time. ie. the Russian one (25 years with no leave and the lowest pay of any military in Europe).
excellent point Pacific. russia serves as an extreme example yet i don't know what the conscription conditions were for other countries, there's the infamous press-gangs i can recall were used in britain which forced whatever poverty stricken men they could find into the royal navy without any say by them.
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It couldn't be any more eloquent that the pro-Buonapartitst apology must systematically recur again and again to the hartdly entirely Napoleonic code to pretend to justify the carnage and destruction of this universal conquest adventure.
i actually never in my posts mentioned anything of the military campaigns or whether the codes benefits allowed them to be justified but merely pointed out the codes benefits, the military campaigns are not part of my argument which is focusing mainly on the lives of french people at the time which in my opinion (dismiss it as another "pro-Buonapartitst apology" if you wish) was greatly improved by such reforms that gave people better equality before the law and better education. not to mention the many public building projects in roadworks, art and government buildings. if i were a french citizen at the time conscription seems a reasonable price to pay for defending these new rights and liberty's (again merely my opinion).
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Not to rain on anyone's apologetic parade, but this code had been the result of some really long legislative work under the late Ancient Régime, the Revolutionary regimes, the Dirctoire and the Buonapartist consulate.
that is quite true and even during the writing of the code Napoleon took part in it like any of the other panel members. yet considering the chaotic and corrupt rule of the Directory i feel it was very unlikely and at best would have taken a lot longer to implement had they remained in power. i base that view of the chaotic rule of france on Napoleon return from Egypt in which brigands were rooming free in the countryside and there seemed to be hardly any collective order in the running of the state with most of the Directory members concentrating on pocketing as much as they could.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:02 PM   #64

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........................................ there's the infamous press-gangs i can recall were used in britain which forced whatever poverty stricken men they could find into the royal navy without any say by them.

.................................................. .............
The 'Press Gangs' were only supposed to (mainly) take sailors who knew what they were doing and the 'Hot press' only activated in times of emergency.

There is the myth of 'anyone' being taken but a RN crew could only cope with so many 'Landsmen' so a captain didn't want them (although better than nothing-- they'll learn or else!).

The 'terrible' conditions on ship are also at the very least over stated.

Is that worse or better than general conscription? I don't know.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:05 PM   #65

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Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
The 'Press Gangs' were only supposed to (mainly) take sailors who knew what they were doing and the 'Hot press' only activated in times of emergency.

There is the myth of 'anyone' being taken but a RN crew could only cope with so many 'Landsmen' so a captain didn't want them (although better than nothing-- they'll learn or else!).

The 'terrible' conditions on ship are also at the very least over stated.

Is that worse or better than general conscription? I don't know.
Not to mention the impressment of neutral seamen... but that is for the War of 1812 thread I suppose...
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:09 PM   #66

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Not to mention the impressment of neutral seamen... but that is for the War of 1812 thread I suppose...

Correct and I could mention the supply of 'false exemptions' by American officials or the servive British subjects and/or deserters in American ships but that would be to derail the thread so I wont.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:11 PM   #67

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Nope, what you mean here is just that you don't know anything about any such historical rebellion.

You just have to do your own homework, any even superficial review a bit beyond the epic rosy chauvinism on our dear universal conqueror wannabe.
must you always be so rude and aggressive in your posts?

i'm here to lean Sylla so by all means educate this ignorant soul as the only civil disturbances i am aware of is the people of the Tyrol region when it was transferred to Bavaria after the 1809 war with asutria, the war in spain and though it hardly counts the few dozen german students who tried to organise a rising in 1813 yet nothing at all came of it.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:16 PM   #68

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I think we need to take this subject one piece at a time. Right now we are jumping all over the place...This is just too big of a subject to take in a single bite. Some of the sub-subjects we should discuss individually.

The Continental System and its effects on the economies of Europe

The Code Napoleon and its effects on the citizenry

The institution of French style governments in places previously controlled by a different state, and how the French governments were better or worse.

Education

Conscription


Each of these could easily be its own thread. Shall we do one at a time? So that we can have a real valuable discussion?
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:21 PM   #69

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Originally Posted by Kevinmeath View Post
The 'Press Gangs' were only supposed to (mainly) take sailors who knew what they were doing and the 'Hot press' only activated in times of emergency.

There is the myth of 'anyone' being taken but a RN crew could only cope with so many 'Landsmen' so a captain didn't want them (although better than nothing-- they'll learn or else!).

The 'terrible' conditions on ship are also at the very least over stated.

Is that worse or better than general conscription? I don't know.
good point, no better or worse i would say then general conscription yet what exactly is 'general conscription' anyway?

"No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into a jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned..........A man in a jail has more room, better food, and commonly better company"- Samuel Johnson
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Old December 7th, 2012, 02:24 PM   #70
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Originally Posted by irishcrusader95 View Post
must you always be so rude and aggressive in your posts?

i'm here to lean Sylla so by all means educate this ignorant soul as the only civil disturbances i am aware of is the people of the Tyrol region when it was transferred to Bavaria after the 1809 war with asutria, the war in spain and though it hardly counts the few dozen german students who tried to organise a rising in 1813 yet nothing at all came of it.
Please, would you like to try to search the term "Andreas Hofer"?

Click the image to open in full size.

Allow me to help you
Andreas_Hofer Andreas_Hofer

Last edited by sylla1; December 7th, 2012 at 02:34 PM.
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