Why did it take so long for the nations of Europe to defeat Napoleon I?

Essay by gigglygirlHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2004

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Napoleon had been working hard in building a powerful and great empire ever since the beginning of his rule as Emperor in 1804. Since before that time he had managed to expand French territory into Italy, he had annexed the Austrian Netherlands, The German States, the Batavian Republic, later on he annexed parts of Egypt, and Parts of Spain. It was because of this hugely successful foreign policy and France's revolutionary background that the Nations of Europe, particularly Britain, Austria and Russia, felt threatened. France was considered such a huge threat because of the revolution it had carried out and the changes it was imposing on the countries that Napoleon successfully annexed, it was a threat to the monarchy as a system, and because of that France was the number one enemy in Europe at the time.

Napoleon's downfall was a slow process that actually began many years before Napoleon was actually overthrown by the Allied Forces in Europe.

Napoleon's first military defeat was in 1810 when his general Masséna was defeated in Portugal in Napoleon's Peninsular campaign. As well as the peninsular defeat, Napoleon had never won a water battle against Britain and that was a great step-back for his expansionist dreams. However Napoleon's biggest defeat was in his Russian Campaign, in 1812, there he lost around 200,000 men and a lot of his prestige. This campaign was originally carried out because of Napoleon's expansionist aims in the east and north of Europe and because the Tsar refused to join Napoleon's Continental System, the System in itself was a weak spot in Napoleon's rule, it aimed at crippling Britain by ceasing trade with the island, however it backfired, Russia refused to join and several other countries boycotted the System, this weakened...