Hi Robert's and Dominique,
I agree that the people of France didnt want another war. However,
sectors of society were beneficiaries of war, (look how Burgundy and Franche-Comte prospered). Of course the army wasnt only interested in
looting, but it was an incentive for some. Almost every army of that age and indeed every age contained looters. As for evidence of soldiers
getting rich during the wars, if the Marshallate are anything to go by.......
Conscription was unpopular, but the tens of thousands of returning
prisoners of war and the demobilised soldiers (not to mention the many undefeated, veteran garrisons) felt there was nothing for them in Bourbon France, they prefered the good old days under Napoleon. They may not have actively wanted war, but they knew what the good old days meant. The return of N. meant the return of war, to support him entailed war. I definitely agree with you, that the people of France were tired of the Bourbons. They missed Napoleons cheap bread policy, they were fearful of
losing their property which was confiscated from the Church, and they hated having to billet Austrians, Russians and Prussians.
Napoleons talents as an administrator were indubitable, and they may have endured longer than his military exploits, but I would have to disagree with you on one point. In my opinion N. was the greatest soldier of all time, and I dont believe his administrative skills were anyway near as brilliant as his military talents. His administration may have built France, but his military skill built that administration.
My entire argument was a presupposition. I dont know what would have
happened without war, but I doubt France would have collapsed. The entire country may not have been living off war, but many were profitting by it. I was just wondering whether the lack of war would have eroded Napoleons support. What do you reckon?
I have to agree, war was inevitable. Congress declared N. an outlaw a
mere 1 hour after receiving the report of his return. No matter the concessions given by N, they wouldnt have given peace. Thats why my
entire argument was konjunktiv, it was never going to happen!
Dont worry- if I came accross as having "sentiments", its entirely
unintentional, although its near impossible to be unbiased when talking about history.
Granted, although when you have a load of raucaus soldiers billeted on
your house, often drunk, espousing with your daughters, and robbing your dinner sets, it becomes somewhat more of a challenge to live quite normally!