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"Conscription and Desertion in France and Italy..." Topic

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Land of the Free: Elemental Analysis

Taking a look at elements in Land of the Free.

645 hits since 20 Apr 2023
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tango0120 Apr 2023 8:42 p.m. PST

… under Napoleon

"It is by now a commonplace that Napoleon depended on the human and fiscal resources of Europe in his drive for imperial expansion and domination. The French emperor would have been unable to expand and maintain his empire without the money and troops that occupied Europe supplied him. A key to his ability to tap into the human resources of his European satellites was an annual and effective conscription system. In September 1798 the French gov-ernment introduced a yearly conscription program and quickly extended it to the Belgian départements and the Cisalpine Republic.1 Prior to the Revolution, armies largely consisted of volunteers and mercenaries. While some form of draft had existed in parts of pre-Revolutionary Europe – France had an ob-ligatory militia system to supplement the regular army – Napoleon increased it to unprecedented levels and extended it to states that previously had not experienced it. Consequently, in the first decade of the nineteenth century the Emperor and his satellite rulers introduced an annual draft throughout much of the continent: the Italian Republic (1802), the Grand Duchy of Berg and the Kingdom of Westphalia (1807), the Kingdom of Naples (1807), Holland and the Hanseatic cities (1811) and the Illyrian Provinces (1811).2 Satellite and allied rulers adopted parts or all of the French conscription model because of its ef-ficiency. It helped them to improve their capacity to draft soldiers and provide their quotas to France. Moreover,possessing a large and powerful army signi-fied an increase in political and military strength as well as a rise in prestige.Napoleon's Grande Armée was a European army, consisting of soldiers from many nations. By establishing the French conscription system in his annexed lands (pays réunis) and forcing it on his satellite states (pays conquis), Napoleon…"

See here



Prince of Essling21 Apr 2023 1:12 a.m. PST

Thanks but no thanks – most definitely not at that price!

You would be far better posting links to items that are free (or think about the real cost for something), rather than trying to cover the waterfront because something looks interesting. As they say think once, think twice before clicking post (we all make errors)!

Stoppage21 Apr 2023 3:43 a.m. PST


If I'm presented with a rubbish offering – I consider whether I am in the "target market" of the offering; Oftentimes I realise that I am not and then feel free to reject it.

Napoleon introduced Thatcherite-style conscription – he made something that was previously restricted to few, available to all.

Incidentally – to support POE's POV – you might flag PTV links

ConnaughtRanger21 Apr 2023 8:31 a.m. PST

"Thatcherite-style conscription"?

Stoppage21 Apr 2023 3:31 p.m. PST

Badly worded:

I meant to convey a simile:

The idea that Thatcherite-style reforms re home, and asset, ownership allowed the immuration of a the populace into financial drudgery.


The idea that Napoleon's Thatcherite-style reforms following the dissolation of the Holy Roman Empire allowed the immuration of the populace of annexed, and conquered, lands into becoming candidates for conscription into the French Premiere-Empire dream.

The dissolution of the HRE in 1806 resulted in changes – my understanding is that the rights of city guilds and apprenticeships were abolished – allowing the conscription of whole new cohorts.

Tango0121 Apr 2023 8:15 p.m. PST



ConnaughtRanger21 Apr 2023 10:27 p.m. PST

So selling off a few council houses is similar to invading great swathes of Europe and forcing their citizens to fight and die (in vast numbers) for you?

Stoppage22 Apr 2023 3:32 a.m. PST

It was a comment meant to be taken ironicly.

The state divested of its public housing stock when it was realised that it couldn't afford to maintain it. That's why they were sold off at a discount to existing tenants. It brought a lot of wealth and prosperity and was probably a Good Thing.

What should have also happened is to build some more…

This, obviously, cannot be compared to a tyrant's campaign of conquest and subjugation.

Brechtel19822 Apr 2023 9:44 a.m. PST

Alan Forrest's Conscripts and Deserters-The Army and French Society during the Revolution and Empire is also useful on the subject.

It should also be noted that Napoleon did not introduce conscription. That was done by the Revolutionary governments which culminated in the Jourdan Law of 1798.

As to the reference to tyranny, it should be noted that Napoleon, by definition was not a tyrant as he governed by the rule of law and was a constitutional monarch.

Further, Napoleon was not the instigator of the wars. England broke the peace of Amiens, Austria was the aggressor in 1805 and 1809, Prussia started the war in 1806 aided by the Russians (who were also the aggressors in 1805). Russia in 1812 was a case of who attacked who first, as Alexander decided on war with his 'ally' in 1810. As for Spain, Napoleon found in Prussia after that war began that Spain was prepared to turn on him if Prussia had won. 1813 and 1814 were continuations of 1812 and the allies declared war in 1815.

Stoppage22 Apr 2023 5:25 p.m. PST

You know when bad things are going down and you might have caused some it?

* If no – then lucky you.
* If yes – then tha shoulda kept cake-hole shut.

I am there now. @brechtel – thx for the extra information

tyrant's campaign of conquest and subjugation.

My mind wandered into considering the fate of the blue-over-yellow country to the east…

Brechtel19823 Apr 2023 3:04 a.m. PST

The 'person' who ordered the invasion of the 'blue-over-yellow' country in eastern Europe is evil, a tyrant, and a dictator. Further, he has ordered various opponents to be murdered.

Napoleon, on the other hand, Baron Fain, his last secretary, wrote that 'Far from being evil, Napoleon was naturally good. If he had been evil with so much power at his disposal, would he be reproached for two or three acts of violence or anger during a government that lasted fifteen years!' See Napoleon: How He Did It-The Memoirs of Baron Fain, 185.

Lilian24 Apr 2023 7:20 a.m. PST

speaking about "tyranny" that is probably why the French landed in Ireland several times against the english "tyranny" and launched campaigns against the "tyrant of the seas"
or La Fayette who didn't miss to talk to Washington about the "english tyranny" in Ireland and America
at that time when France wished that Spain join the alliance with United States against the "English tyrant", something that Spain never did, having accepted to become only allied to Bourbon France and not to American colonial insurgents despite this point is usually omitted in Spain and US, the reluctant Spain replied to the French that if they wanted to liberate a country at all costs from the "English tyranny", then they should liberate the Irish instead of the Americans

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