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Popular Resistance in Napoleonic Europe

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Charles Esdaile explores grass roots opposition to Napoleonic rule, the forms it took and how the empire fought back.

Outside metropolitan France and, in part, even within it, the Napoleonic empire was in no sense a popular institution. Consciously administered by and for elite groups, for the populace it constituted a burden that was both wearisome and excessive. Already vividly demonstrated in the Revolutionary period, the tensions that these characteristics produced led to a generalised mood of unrest, whose most dramatic manifestation was a series of major revolts, the most important of these phenomena being the ones which broke out in Calabria in 1806, Spain and Portugal in 1808, and the Tyrol in 1809.


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Historical dictionary: Napoleonic Wars


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