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Level 5

5AAH2009 Europe in the Age of Revolution and Napoleon, 1780-1815

Credit value: 30
Module convenor/tutor: Dr Michael Rowe
Teaching pattern: 20 x 2-hour seminars (weekly)
Availability: Please see module list for relevant year
Assessment: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%), 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each) & 1 x oral presentation (10%)

Students are reassessed in the failed elements of assessment by the following methods: 1 x 3 hour examination (60%); 2 x 2,000 word essays (15% each); 1 x 1500 word essay (10%)

The modules offered in each academic year are subject to change in line with staff availability and student demand: there is no guarantee every module will run. Module descriptions and information may vary between years.

This module examines one of the most dynamic periods of change and upheaval. The revolutionary principles of liberty, equality and fraternity that emerged in France in 1789 posed an ideological challenge to the rest of the World. Following the outbreak of the revolutionary wars in 1792, the French exported these new principles by force. The initial idealism of the Revolution was quickly superseded by French imperialism; by 1810 Napoleon’s Grand Empire stretched from Iberia to Poland. The states of this vast European empire adopted French-style reforms, whilst Napoleon’s remaining enemies embarked upon ‘defensive modernisation’ programmes of their own in preparation for the final show-down. This module will examine the unprecedented modernisation that occurred in Europe and beyond in this era with reference to continuity and change, resistance and collaboration, religion and identity.

Provisional teaching plan

Semester 1

1. Why is this period important?
2. Enlightenment
3. Enlightened Absolutism
4. Atlantic World
5. Crisis of the Old Regime
6. Revolution
7. Revolutionary Wars
8. Terror
9. Napoleon Bonaparte
10. Consulate 

Semester 2

11. Britain
12. Napoleon’s ‘inner empire’
13. Spain
14. Russia
15. Prussia
16. Transformation of the Atlantic World
17. Experiences of war
18. Citizens and non-citizens
19. Congress of Vienna
20. Memories and legacies

Suggested introductory reading

This is suggested reading and purchase of these texts is not mandatory. 

All three of the below items are available from the Maughan Library in hard copy and as e-books:

  • Geoffrey Ellis, Napoleon (London: Routledge, Taylor and Francis, 2014).
  • Franklin L. Ford, Europe 1780-1830, 2nd ed. (Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2014).
  • Stuart Woolf, Napoleon's integration of Europe (London; New York: Routledge, 1991).


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