Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe

Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe

Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe

Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe

Synopsis

This ground-breaking, revisionist collection of essays, based on the most recent research, provides a long-needed reassessment of the legacy of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars upon the governments of Restoration Europe. Traditionally the Restoration has been regarded by historians as a period in which European governments returned to the reactionary policies which prevailed before the upheavals of 1789, and which involved an outright rejection of the reforms of the Napoleonic era. In this book, leading historians challenge this interpretation and emphasize the sometimes surprising loyalty shown to Napoleonic policies of modernization by Restoration governments.The problems of dealing with new ideologies, accommodating the interests of old elites, and keeping the benefits of recent reforms were broadly similar across Europe, and provide a connecting theme throughout the volume. However, the nature of governmental response was never uniform. The essays explore these varieties of response, both through detailed case studies and more general surveys, and address issues such as policing and censorship, revolutionary symbolism, elite formation and bureaucratic structures in France, Spain, Italy, Germany and Poland, making a fascinating contribution to the study of the nature of political change in the modern period.'A dazzling collection of articles by the sharpest young historians in the field [that] overturns much of the received wisdom about Europe after Napoleon'Tim Blanning, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge

Excerpt

The original versions of the chapters collected in this volume were first given as papers at a conference entitled Napoleon's Legacy: Problems of Government in Restoration Europe, held in the Institute of Historical Research in London on 18/19 April 1997. The conference, organized by the editors of this volume, sought to address an important but often neglected field of nineteenth-century history from a new perspective. Although studies of the diplomatic problems of Europe abound for the years after the Congress of Vienna, the domestic policies of the Restoration have generally been neglected in favour of either the dramatic events of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars or the great upheavals of 1848–9. Although, as we go on to argue in this volume, this period is a crucial one for understanding the politics and problems of state formation, it is the process of ‘state-making’ in the later nineteenth century that has captured the interest of more historians. It has been our aim from the outset to encourage students and scholars to view the Restoration as a period worthy of study in its own right, as the era when the complex and often contradictory legacy of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire had to be addressed. We hope this book will succeed in helping to restore the Restoration.

Many people have contributed to the production of this work. Without the generosity of the British Academy, the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and the Association for the Study of Modern Italy, the conference would never have been able to take place. We are greatly indebted to Bridget Taylor at the IHR: her kindness and efficiency guaranteed that the problems usually involved with the practical side of organizing a conference were negligible. Thanks are due too to Berg Publishers, and particularly to Maike Bohn, herself a nineteenth-century specialist, for her help, enthusiasm and advice. We are also grateful to Julian Swann for some cautionary words on the impact of Napoleon when seen from an eighteenth-century perspective. Our greatest debt of gratitude, however, lies with the contributors, not only for their papers and articles but also for their forbearance towards us as (initially) inexperienced editors. Finally, we should like to thank Chiara Cirillo and Fabian Russell-Cobb for their support and tolerance while we completed our editorial labours.

David Laven and Lucy Riall . . .

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