Napoleonic Wars Essay

1856 WordsFeb 22, 20138 Pages
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against France from 1803 until 1815, and were a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789. The effects of the Revolution resonated deeply in other European countries including Britain, and the legacy is extensive. The ideas circulated during this time were appealing to liberal political radicals: ‘For the young William Wordsworth it was ‘bliss’ to be alive; the MP Samuel Romilly ‘rejoiced’, perceived a ‘very sincere and general joy’ in Britain, and looked forward to ‘the important consequences which must follow throughout Europe’. The introduction of works such as Thomas Paine’s ‘The Rights of Man’, and his idea that ‘[e]very generation is equal in rights to the generation which preceded it, by the same rule that every individual is born equal in rights with his contemporary…’ was accessible to a much wider audience by the use of pamphlets and other forms of media. The popular feeling of sympathy for the revolutionary ideas that came out of France at the end of the 18th Century is just one cause as to why it took Britain so long to win the Napoleonic wars. It is the intent of this essay to study the other contributory factors. The inefficiency of the British armed forces was exacerbated by the naval mutinies in 1797-98 and the Irish Rebellion of 1798. The coast was almost breached three times by the French fleets and only storms stopped Hoche from landing in Ireland in 1796. While there was some success from the Royal Navy, like Nelson’s victory against Bonaparte’s fleet in Aboukir Bay, the campaigns of the British Army were, on the whole, disastrous. In 1793 the effective strength of the British regular army was about 45 000 officers and men, of whom roughly two-thirds were serving in garrisons overseas. Casualties among servicemen during the 1790s were huge, and this was due, not so
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