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Compare and Contrast the Foreign Policies of Napoleon I and Louis-Philippe

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Compare & Contrast the foreign policies of Napoleon I and Louis Philippe

Both placed on the thrown after revolutions, King Louis Philippe and Napoleon Bonaparte were pressured to adopt a nationalistic foreign policy. During Napoleon's reign, France reached its greatest magnitude and was considered among Europe as a leading military power. In contrast, King Louis Philippe adopted a cautious foreign policy which did not satiate the nationalistic thirst of the French people at the time nor did it match the persevering and resolute manner that Napoleon upheld. This was mainly due to interfering personal opinions of the king and of his advisors. However, domestic issues in France created differing situations for the two rulers which influenced the policies each put into place. Although Napoleon was clearly more aggressive and consistent than Louis Philippe, their foreign policies coincided as they both were subject to international and domestic pressures.

Although Napoleon's empire eventually came to its downfall his expansive foreign policy allowed France to reach its place in the sun. Napoleon's empire encompassed 130 departments, satellite states and was inhibited by 80 million people. In addition to acquiring new territories, the military was able to preserve the conquered lands. Napoleon defeated the strengthened Austrian army in the Danube Valley in 1809, and eventually forced Austria to surrender. The aggressive and direct foreign policy was successful in many ways as it inspired nationalism. However this nationalist sentiment can be debated to be a positive or negative outcome of Napoleon's international relations as it created bellicose atmospheres throughout the 19th century. Louis Philippe's foreign policy however was also in its own way successful as it actually prevented France from sinking down under the menace of the other European great powers. An example of this can be given when the tempting opportunity of annexing Belgium and seizing the Rhine came along for Louis Philippe. Instead of attacking, the King sought to negotiation which avoided conflict. Louis Philippe was clearly not a victim of the jingoist movement in France as he clearly thought out his plans and assessed the situation. The caution he took was due to the poor conditions of the French army and also the threat which the other European powers posed to France. Calculation and assessment was perhaps what Napoleon lacked during his invasion of Russia on the 22nd of June, 1812. Although repeatedly advised against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland, Napoleon prepared for an offensive campaign anyway, which ultimately resulted in his defeat.

A mayor factor which made these two ruler's policies differ was their consistency. Upon Napoleons appointment as Consul he established an expansionist foreign policy which he followed until 1812. Louis Philippe went through a series of phases were he jumped from being cautious to aggressive and back again. This cannot be blamed on Louis Philippe as an individual as he was in certain circumstances to act the way he did due to domestic issues. For example during the 1830's France was facing a very unstable period were social unrest was dominating due to Louis Philippe's failure to appease nationalists. An increasing nationalist sentiment was building as outbreaks of revolutions in Belgium, Poland and Italy were leading to demand that France should support these revolts. Domestically, There were strikes and demonstrations in Paris and other towns and cities and in November 1831 a major insurrection erupted in Lyons . In response the king Louis Philippe was forced to focus on the internal issues of the country and continue with his careful foreign policy. By imposing the September Laws and being cautious abroad, Louis Philippe was able to control the domestic problem and not get involved with possible international conflicts. Soon after the disorder subsided Louis Philippe decided to take on the expansionist approach in his foreign policy and let Adolphe Thiers pursue his new and ambitious nationalist policy abroad. Yet this turned to be ineffective and only raised hopes for the nationalists as he incited a war-like atmosphere around the Eastern-Question which resulted in the withdrawal of Mohamed Ali from Turkish territories. Their's was replaced by Guizot who's contrasting conservative policy was also a failure which culminated

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