Ruminations on a (More) Successful Napoleon

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by TemporalRenegade, Jun 19, 2009.

  1. TemporalRenegade -stan suffix afficianado

    Apr 16, 2007
    As you may know, I like alternate history scenarios characterized by relatively larger states that are fewer in number. I prefer worlds with a few large and very stable nations and/or empires to ones with many feuding empires and the various pissant pseudo-countries they use as playing pieces. I am progressive at heart, but I prefer rational progress to the random upheavals followed by reactionary periods that characterized, for instance OTL.

    In light of this, it is perhaps understandable why I have a soft spot for scenarios such as "A much larger Rome that survives until the present day." by ericams2786, a much more stable and benign alternative to Tellus by Tony Jones, or why I like Central Powers victories in the Great War of 1914. This is also why I am a fan of TLs where the Reformation never succeeded and Protestantism never took off. Given my obsession with order, I cautiously lean towards counterfactual historical scenarios characterized by powerful but stable and just regimes, rather than feuding adventurous powers. For instance, a much larger, more powerful, long-lasting Roman Empire would ensure peace and order, but the downside is that social (and perhaps technological) progress would likely be retarded under such conditions. Given my natural inclination for such "Burkean" stability (I actually rather strongly dislike Burke, but I use the term for lack of a better), such a scenario seems very appealing, at least initially.

    However, with such drastic PODs occurring so long ago, the world we know would be unfamiliar. For instance, I think that the world would have been better off if the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century failed, and Protestantism never emerged. (Just look at the world today! Fanatics and religious reactionaries are NEVER good, but in the Christian world look who is causing all the trouble. Reactionary Protestants.) Unfortunately, were things to turn out that way the modern world we all know and love would not be around. This world would be unrecognizable!

    I do believe that one counterfactual scenario that could lead to a much better world would be that in which Napoleon Bonaparte was successful in his ambitions. The events were recent enough that they would not butterfly away too much of the modern world. (Things would be drastically different but not entirely unrecognizable.) In fact, Napoleon I was very close to achieving his ambitions IOTL. While Anglo-American historical revision unjustly paints Napoleon as a tyrant, I genuinely believe that Napoleon was a benevolent figure.

    [Note that there are some empires I like and some that I do not, as there are some revolutions I like and others I do not. I am very favorable of the American and French revolutions (despite some of the unfortunate excesses of the latter, but hey, you have to break some eggs to make an omelet), and love both revolutions for what they accomplished, while I am no fan of the Protestant Reformation itself (though I am uncertain if we would truly be better off if it never occurred what with the butterflies and all...) or the various Leninist revolutions of the 20th century. Likewise with empires. I am favorable of the Byzantine Empire and the Frankish Empire of the Carolingians, and very favorable of the empires of Alexander the Great, Rome, and Napoleon I. I am highly unfavorable of the various European colonial empires and I detest the Russian Empire of the Romanov dynasty and the old British Empire (but I do like modern Britain). I have a patriotic love of the American Revolution and its ideals, but though I remain loyal to the REPUBLIC, I hate the Empire it has become.

    I generally do not see the use in too many long-term national allegiances or grudges. For instance, Max Sinister accused me of having a "pro-German bias" for my enthusiasm for Central Powers victories. As an American of Hellenic descent, I found that amusing. While I do view the Germans as the "good guys" through WW1 (or better said the "lesser of the evils"), my highly favorable view of Napoleon Bonaparte and the French revolution betrays this alleged pro-German bias. Basically I feel that the world would have been a little better off if the Germans won WW1 and much better off if France emerged victorious by the end of the Napoleonic Wars.]

    It is crucial to understand what exactly lead to Napoleon's downfall in order to understand how he may have been victorious. Napoleonic France was virtually unstoppable from the 1790's to about 1812. Napoleon won almost every major battle, at least on land. His one weakness was at sea, as exemplified by Trafalgar. At the turn of the 19th century, France vs. Great Britain was a "lion-and-shark" scenario, as was Germany vs. Great Britain at the turn of the 20th century. The British always had the best navy but third-rate ground forces, and managed to reign via supremacy of the seas.

    Until circa 1812, Bonaparte stood undefeated. Arguably, Napoleon Bonaparte ranks among the greatest warrior-statesmen, in the company of Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, and Shaka the Zulu. In addition to being a military genius and a brilliant statesman, Bonaparte was a progressive figure, who after restoring order in the wake of the French Revolution also managed to preserve some of its ideals. Napoleon Bonaparte established the Code Napoleon; emancipated the Jews; liberated Poland; fought against the forces of feudalism, clericalism, and theocracy in Europe (though he protected Islamic law in Egypt, but then unlike the neocons, the Bonapartists never attempted to rebuild the Islamic Middle East in their image); abolished serfdom; sold Louisiana to the United States. Yet the Anglo-American establishment paints Napoleon as a villain...

    Yet despite his wisdom and greatness, Napoleon Bonaparte was a human being and had the flaws that mortal men possess. For Napoleon, perhaps his one fatal tragic flaw was his hubris. I grant that he did seem to have a higher-than-average supply. Napoleon's greatest blunder was his decision to invade Russia in 1812. (His second greatest blunder, chronologically his first great blunder, was his handling of the Haitian uprising. Napoleon's decision to reinstitute slavery and French rule on Haiti was a serious moral blunder, more on this below.)

    Until the ill-advised decision to invade Russia, Napoleonic France had very few setbacks. After that failed campaign, France was brought to its knees by the Sixth Coalition and Seventh Coalition against France.


    But what if things turned out differently? Perhaps Napoleon Bonaparte might have decided not to invade Russia altogether. With better logistics, timing, and luck, Bonaparte might have been victorious, but any such victory would probably be a pyrrhic victory. Maybe Napoleon decided to postpone the war to a later date, when he was in a better position to wage war with Russia, maybe he never goes to war. Alternately, suppose that Napoleon decided to blockade Russia rather than launch a land war. (This would, of course, be very difficult in light of British supremacy of the seas.)

    Either way, Napoleon Bonaparte does not attempt an invasion of Russia in 1812. This buys him time to pass much needed domestic reforms while maintaining the foreign balance of power. Perhaps Napoleonic France can confront Britain directly. It would be difficult to determine the course of this altered future in the long run. However, France would be spared from losing hundreds of thousands of lives, and the crushing humiliation of defeat. Napoleon's allies would not have had the same opportunity that they did in actual history to turn on France and ally with Britain and Russia.

    Napoleonic Empire at its Greatest Extent



    What would be the future of the French First Empire from 1812 onward? The first question to ponder is how long Napoleon Bonaparte would continue to reign.

    Survival of Napoleon

    Napoleon Bonaparte died in exile on the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena at the age of 51. The exact cause of death is unknown. The established belief is that Napoleon succumbed to stomach cancer, however there is considerable evidence that he was assassinated by arsenic poisoning, though the evidence thus far is inconclusive. [Of course, many people neglect the possibility that the two causes are not mutually exclusive. It is certainly possible that Napoleon died from stomach cancer caused by arsenic poisoning. Arsenic is, after all, a Group 1 Carcinogen.] Either way, were Napoleon Bonaparte able to avoid exile, he would have almost certainly lived for a while longer than he did IOTL. Even if arsenic was not a significant cause, it is obvious that confinement at Saint Helena was not very good for his health. Consider the ages at death of his immediate relatives.

    Father: Carlo Maria (38); mother: Letizia Ramolino (~86); brothers: Joseph (76), Lucien (65), Louis (67), Jerome (75); sisters: Elisa (43), Pauline (44), Caroline (57).


    BROTHERS: 70.75
    SISTERS: 48
    SIBLINGS: 61


    Curiously, the average age at death for Napoleon's brothers was nearly 71 years, and the average age at death for his sisters was 48, but women have a greater life expectancy than men in most countries. Also, Napoleon's father died very young but his mother lived well into her eighties! Perhaps the short female lifespan among the Bonaparte siblings was an X-linked trait from the paternal side? Based on these results, it is very reasonable to expect Napoleon Bonaparte to have died between the ages of 60-80, unless his life was cut short by violence. Under good conditions, Napoleon I probably could have lived well into his seventies.

    Figure that Napoleon lives until some time between 1829-1850. Granting that Napoleon would reign until death, or possibly retire a year or two before, his son, Francois Charles Joseph Bonaparte, would almost certainly succeed his father as Napoleon II. What matter of leader would Napoleon II be? There is very little indication from the historical record to indicate how Napoleon II would reign. The Bonaparte dynasty would probably survive the death of Napoleon I, but for how long? A republican France is probably inevitable some time after Napoleon's death.

    Integrity of the French Empire

    Napoleon I would probably ensure that his empire stays in tact for life, and his successors would likewise work towards the same end. The First French Empire is not going to expand much more than its OTL maximum. Perhaps Napoleon would extend the frontier of the Illyrian Provinces, or into Spain, maybe annexing the entire Marca Hispanica into the French Empire. Beyond that, however, the territory of the empire would have remained unchanged.

    The First French Empire is unlikely to last forever, but Napoleon and his successor (be it a Bonaparte emperor or a republic), would work to maintain its territorial integrity for as long as possible. At its height, the Napoleonic French Empire held territory on every major "sub-peninsula" or "micro-peninsula" of the European superpeninsula (I do not care to debate geography, but Europe is a superpeninsula, not a continent.) except for Jutland. Napoleon directly controlled territory on the Iberian Peninsula (French Catalonia), Italy (the Papal States and land along the base of the peninsula), and the Balkans (Illyrian Provinces). These holdings guaranteed the French continental hegemony.

    Along the northern frontier of the French Empire, some territorial holdings are quite vulnerable. In order to understand the potential long term standing of the region, I will speak of three areas. The northern part of Napoleon's empire consisted of what I will call "Old France," which refers to all of France proper and Corsica, or France within the boundaries before the French Revolutionary Wars and within present-day boundaries, with the possible exception of French Flanders and Alsace-Lorraine; the French Netherlands, the area bounded by previous French borders along the south, the Rhine River at the east, Holland to the north and northwest, and the North Sea to the west, which was conquered and annexed during the French Revolutionary Wars and included all of the Hapsburg Netherlands, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, and some German territory west of the Rhine, with the possible inclusion of French Flanders and Alsace-Lorraine; and Holland.

    What will become of this land? Best-case scenario for the French, they maintain all of the aforementioned land and then some. Worst-case scenario, they lose Holland, much of the French Netherlands, all of French Flanders and Alsace, and at least part of Lorraine. Should France eventually decline after a more successful Napoleon, of course the country will NOT be reduced to its medieval core, but the boundaries could be quite different, perhaps including Wallonia but excluding frontier territories of "France proper."

    It helps to remember that there are only three ethnic groups in the French Netherlands region: French, Dutch, and German. A more successful Napoleonic era would obliterate many of the archaic social organizations associated with feudalism and the old dynasties, aristocracies, and nobilities. As such, remnants of feudalism or dynastic claims such as Luxembourg or the Austrian Netherlands would not exist. At the same time, however, nationalist sentiment would be much more powerful. The Netherlands (Holland) remained independent from France throughout the French Revolutionary Wars until Napoleon conquered the rest of the Netherlands. Originally the Batavian Republic, Napoleon first installed his brother on the throne of the Netherlands, only to annex the country and terminate its independence. The manner of Dutch independence (should it ever occur) and the state of France at the time could determine the size of the Netherlands.

    Of course, without a Congress of Vienna, Wallonia would not be ceded to the newly created United Netherlands and would therefore remain French. At its greatest extent, the Netherlands may include all of Flanders, including both the Belgian portion and French Flanders, currently located at the edge of the region Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Thus at its greatest extent, a Dutch Republic might extend all the way to the department of Nord, with the French-Dutch border just outside the city limits of Calais. The manner of independence could determine this. It is unlikely that Napoleon or his immediate successors would cede most of the Netherlands, though an autonomous Dutch-speaking region might be designated within the French Empire and this may secede and become the Netherlands relatively peacefully.

    On the other hand, the huge French holdings west of the Rhine might arouse nationalistic conflicts with Germany/the Confederation of the Rhine. IOTL, Germany extends well to the west of the Rhine in places, and it is possible that post-Napoleonic Germans may wish to assert their historic claims to Luxembourg, Alsace, Lorraine, and the eastern part of Belgium. France would be much stronger, and therefore unlikely to lose Alsace-Lorraine, and may even retain Luxembourg on a permanent basis. However, Napoleon extended the boundaries of the Netherlandic portion of his empire to Schleswig-Holstein and the Baltic Sea. The Confederation of the Rhine would probably claim Lippe and all territories east of the Ems plus the Aachen metropolitan area, and with an independent Netherlands, they would probably acquire those lands. The exact boundaries of the French Empire in the north after Napoleon would be difficult to determine, but they can be anywhere from the maximum extent of the Napoleonic Empire to borders just within the modern OTL France (pre-revolutionary France) but with the inclusion of French Wallonia.

    At the southern frontier, Napoleon's Empire would be much more stable. France could hold on to Catalonia indefinitely. (Spain's historical claims to Catalonia are really no better than those of France.) However, the boundaries between France and Italy would be much less stable. The Italians would probably demand Piedmont, Genoa, and Savoy. In the most extreme case, Italy might claim more of Savoy, but most likely France would maintain its boundaries a bit further to the east than IOTL. As with the Germans, Italian nationalist sentiment and unification could be disastrous for a large France.


    Europe under Napoleonic hegemony would probably be a much better place than OTL. The last vestiges of feudalism would be extinguished much earlier than in actual history, at least outside of the Ottoman and Russian empires. The justice systems of European nations would be reformed with the implementation of the Code Napoleon or some derivative. The ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution would have more successfully taken root, and at earlier dates. As such, sentiment in favor of capitalism, political democracy, and republican state forms would be much more powerful, while old European dynasties such as the Hapsburgs would be much less powerful.

    In addition to France, other nations of Europe would probably have Bonaparte dynasties, at least for a little while. Bonaparte monarchs would be imposed on independent countries, keeping them as satellites or client kingdoms of the French Empire while preserving their sovereignty. Eventually, some of the Bonaparte monarchs may abdicate. While the nations subject to Bonapartist leaders would prefer the "enlightened despotism" of Bonapartism to the absolutism of more traditional monarchs, most such countries would eventually seek republican state forms. The end result is, due to a nonexistence of microstates and more widespread republicanism in Europe, by the late 20th century, perhaps every nation in Europe, outside of Scandinavia and the British Isles would be a republic. Even if monarchs such as the Bonapartes, Hapsburgs, and Hohenzollerns do all abdicate, many members of those families will probably continue to be active in European politics and in whatever ATL equivalent of the EC/EU develops. [IOTL, the Hapsburgs play a significant part in EU politics.]

    It is easy to imagine how a more successful Napoleon would lead to a more peaceful Europe (and world). Without the reactionary terms of the Congress of Vienna, social progress may be more advanced than OTL. We can inevitably expect the Continental System developed by Napoleon to form into an organization similar to the European Union, a sort of combination customs union and perpetual peacetime military alliance. Both national self-determination and international collaboration could have worked without Wilsonian idiocy.


    All of the early socialist thinkers, who developed the concepts and coined the term "socialism," were alive and of age by this point in history. As such socialism will exist, and almost certainly by the same term. However, if Karl Marx is born in this turn of events, would his work be similar? Probably not. With a different outcome to such events as the Revolutions of 1848, Marxism as we know it may not exist. Under Europe dominated by the Napoleonic Empire and Bonapartism for a longer time than OTL, the resulting "Burkean stability" would lead to socialism evolving in a more Fabian direction. Perhaps Russia goes socialist, but rather than Marxist-Leninist doctrine, "Nordic socialism" might take root in Russia instead. A Russian Republic practicing social democracy (or "socialism-within-capitalism") of the type practiced in Finland and Scandinavia in our world would be a much more benign alternative to the USSR. The absence of a global communist bloc means that socialism in general would not have the same bad reputation.


    Sadly, Napoleon Bonaparte postponed the abolition of slavery. Some might call this claim historical revisionism. After all, the French revolutionaries abolished slavery on the principles of "liberte, egalite, fraternite," while Napoleon reinstituted slavery in the Caribbean. Thus, this would be more than merely delaying abolition, but reversing it. On the contrary, there is no evidence to support the idea that this restoration of slavery was to be permanent. In 1815, Napoleon ordered the abolition of slavery.

    The decision to reinstitute slavery in the colonies was a serious moral weakness. However, such an illiberal act seems very out of character for Napoleon. Granted, Anglo-American historical revisionism insists on identifying Napoleon as a tyrant and a racist. (Napoleon Bonaparte, like other 19th century figures, including Darwin, Marx, Nietzsche and even Lincoln, would probably be fairly racist by modern standards, but as a product of his time he was influenced by the prejudices of his day. On racial matters, he was no worse than the average European of his time and perhaps somewhat progressive.)

    Of course the decision to reinstitute slavery was based on cold economic calculations. This was still a moral shortcoming, but Napoleon sometimes sacrificed his ideals for cold, pragmatic realpolitik. It would have been better if Napoleon did not reinstitute slavery and if he initially respected the sovereignty of the black Haitians. To his credit, Napoleon eventually came around. Given his resistance to abolition of slavery, Napoleon Bonaparte is not remembered as a champion of abolitionism, however by reversing his previous decree Napoleon may have spread abolitionist sentiment. It is tempting to think that without the reactionary Congress of Vienna, the French might have accelerated the historical abolition of slavery.

    What effects might this have on the United States? If abolitionism were stronger, perhaps the slave trade would have ended earlier, making slavery obsolete earlier on, and forcing the United States to enact a policy of graduated emancipation, at a date earlier than the Civil War. Of course, the Civil War would be butterflied away. (Alternate secession attempts may occur, and may even succeed. However the Civil War as we know it would never happen.) I argue that slavery itself was not the reason for the Civil War, but I do not deny that it was a very important factor. [For the record, the Civil War was about secession. Some states allowed slavery but fought with the union. Of course, saying that the Civil War was ALL about slavery or JUST about slavery is almost as bad as saying it had nothing to do with slavery. While I am not debating this matter, it is obvious that without slavery the Southern secession almost certainly would not have happened.]


    It is tempting to think that in a Napoleon victorious TL there would be far less racism. A more sober prediction would be that people would be a lot less racist in some ways but significantly more racist in others, but on the whole not that much less racist overall. After all, there are many forms of racism and many sorts of racists. However, it is important to understand how racism develops.

    I strongly believe that the three main causes of racism are mere ignorance or xenophobia, the inferiority complex, or a result of the social role of colonizer or slaver. The first two effectively explain racism at the individual level, while the latter two effectively explain racism at the group level. National inferiority complexes have been a driving force for racism at the societal level. For instance, many unfortunately tend to associate ideological racism with the Germanic peoples, perhaps in light of the rhetoric praising the blonde Germanic type emanating from racialists. In fact, for much of their history, the Germanic peoples were a great deal less racist and much less anti-Semitic than other contemporary European nations to the East and West.

    To understand this phenomenon, it helps to divide the European nations from the Enlightenment to the end of WW1 into three cultural spheres: the Atlantic sphere in the West, the "Slavic sphere" in the East, and the Germanic sphere in between (Scandinavia and the Germanies). Note that these spheres are not necessarily mono-ethnic. For instance, Greece and Albania would have been in the "Slavic sphere." Note also that Holland fell between the Western "Atlantic" sphere and the Germanic sphere. The nations of Central/Eastern Europe and the Balkans such as Russia, Greece, or colonized Slavic nationalities in the area were often impoverished, their people were not as educated or literate as other Western nations, and sheltered within an insular area. David Brin described the outlook of Russia for much of its history as "xenophobic." This widespread ignorance and xenophobia coupled with an inferiority complex lead to the development of strongly racist sentiment. Nations along the Atlantic, including Great Britain, France, and the United States, were much more prosperous and had a more educated populace, but their roles in colonialism and slavery made them assume a more racist stance as ad hoc justification. Consider the attitudes of the antebellum and Jim Crow era American South, or Victorian England. Finally, the nations of Germany and Scandinavia were about as advanced and prosperous as their Western neighbors, but did not play much of a role in subjugating foreign peoples as did Britain or pre-Revolutionary and post-Napoleonic France. As such, Germans and Scandinavians of the time were typically not racist, at least not by then-contemporary standards.

    Of course, social and cultural attitudes and perspectives are not constants. IOTL, the Germans were often more progressive and tolerant, and less racist than other nations from the mid-19th century to WW1. However, the national inferiority complex experienced by the Germans after a humiliating defeat in the First World War reversed this trend. Who would have predicted that the Germans, who gave us Rudolf Virchow and Franz Boas, would harbor the extreme racism of the Third Reich? In many ways, Nazi racialist theories were imported from the victorious Entente nations. Britain, the United States, France, and Russia originated much of the politicized anti-Semitism, quasi-scientific racism, and social darwinism on which Nazism was based. It was Great Britain that provided Herbert Spencer, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Walter Bagehot, and Thomas Henry Huxley; the United States of America that provided William Graham Sumner, William Z. Ripley, Madison Grant (who wrote The Passing of the Great Race, which Hitler once called his "Bible"), Earnest Hooton, and Carleton Coon; France that provided Arthur de Gobineau, Joseph Deniker, and the Dreyfus Affair; and Russia that provided The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Yet from the Germans came the Nazis, who built upon the ideas of the aforementioned persons, publications, and events, and carried out the most horrific atrocities of the twentieth century.

    But if we go back further, under what socio-political climate did Arthur de Gobineau and Joseph Deniker develop their ideas? Arthur de Gobineau was active in the reactionary period between the Congress of Vienna and the Franco-Prussian War. During that time, France experienced defeat and reaction as the Bourbons were restored and much of the progress of the French Revolution was reversed. Arthur de Gobineau clearly shared in the inferiority complex of the time, and obviously to a higher degree than that of the average Frenchman. Joseph Deniker lived through similarly dark times, under the revanchist Third Republic, which suffered a humiliating defeat to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. We can easily imagine that without a Napoleonic defeat and the reactionary conditions that resulted, Arthur de Gobineau and Joseph Deniker would have been "butterflied away." There would be no great French inferiority complex, and thus there would probably be less racism coming out of France of the period. In terms of the "three spheres model" proposed above, rather than Atlantic-Germanic-Slavic spheres of influence, France, together with Italy and the Germanic countries, would form a "Continental" cultural sphere, with Britain isolated in its role as colonial oppressor. This area from Scandinavia to Italy and from the Atlantic shores of Europe to Poland would probably have the benefits of advancement and prosperity without any sort of inferiority complex. As such, serious racism may be much less popular. For instance, Poland would be more prosperous and educated; France would be more progressive and secure. Perhaps it is not so wild to conclude that Napoleonic victory may mean far less racism in the long run!

    Of course, Nordicism and its various avatars: Aryanism, Teutonicism, pan-Germanism, and so on, would not exist. Partly because the success of Napoleon Bonaparte, a Corsican of Italic stock, and obviously a Southern European, and of France, a nation of largely South-Central European Gallo-Roman stock, would seriously undermine the idea of any sort of Northern European or Germanic master race. [IOTL, the idea seemed credible to some because of the failure of France and the success of Northern Europeans, notably the Anglo-Saxon Britons.] And partly because of the lack of Arthur de Gobineau to invent his doctrines of a blonde Aryan master race. (Amusingly somebody on this site had the loony idea that a world without Arthur de Gobineau would be more racist!) Some might speculate that perhaps belief in the racial superiority of Southern Europeans or Mediterranean peoples might gain currency instead. Then again, IOTL the Italian anthropologist Giuseppe Sergi promoted his theories of Mediterranean superiority in reaction to Nordicist theories. As such, theories of Mediterranean supremacy are probably just as unlikely to gain currency as theories of Northern European supremacy in this world.

    In a best case scenario, the progressive conditions of Napoleonic hegemony would minimize the popularity of racist thought, until Franz Boas comes along to undermine any "scientific" foundation for racism once and for all. However, in order to truly understand the role of racism in TTL, we must understand how colonialism proceeds. After all, ignorance and inferiority complexes might be butterflied away, but that does not guarantee that colonialism (and thus novel social roles for racism) would also vanish. The alternate colonial processes could support or undermine much of what I predicted above.


    To be fair, my historical knowledge is insufficient to make good counterfactual predictions. I am aware that through the Napoleonic Wars the biggest colonial empires were, in order, those of Great Britain, Portugal, and France. It is tempting to think that there would be less colonial conquest and plunder, or at least that colonial imperialism would be far less rampant. Consider that some colonial powers will not exist at all, others would be dominated by France and thus unable to launch colonial empires in their own right, still others would have to contend with being divided nations. Belgium would never exist in TTL. The Netherlands would be part of the French Empire, and once they do gain independence, the Dutch would probably remain virtual vassals of France. Italy and Germany would have to contend with division for much of their history. IOTL, Spain and Portugal lost most of their colonial empires during the course of the Napoleonic Wars.

    This would leave the British, French, and Russians as the chief colonial powers. In this scenario, perhaps Napoleonic France would be far less interested in establishing an overseas empire. After all, Napoleon and his successors would be occupied with the task of maintaining hegemony over Europe. Perhaps Bonaparte would come to the same conclusion as Otto von Bismarck with regards to foreign colonies in the Americas, Africa, and the Asia-Pacific region. In turn, Great Britain would probably be greatly weakened by a triumphant Napoleon, thus limiting their ability to colonize.

    Unfortunately, IOTL history thus far has not demonstrated Napoleon Bonaparte to be particularly progressive on colonialism, but then again, he did sell the vast Louisiana territory to the United States of America, indicating very little interest in maintaining an overseas empire. In either case, were Napoleon more successful in his ambitions, either he or his successor would probably liberalize the regime. Were France spared from the reactionary Bourbon restoration, the ideals of the French Revolution would have taken root, and the French would see subjugation of nonwhites as contrary to the principles of the French Revolution.

    Jewish Issues

    The Jews would almost certainly have been much better off! Part of Napoleon's reforms included emancipating Jewish people through all of Europe under his control. An earlier guarantee of universal rights which included the Jews would mean earlier and more complete assimilation of the Jew into European society. Of course, much of Napoleon's work was undone IOTL. In a world with much less anti-Semitism would Zionism still take off? Probably not. Some Jewish thinkers might still originate Zionist ideas, but without oppression, there would be no incentive to leave home and settle in the harsh deserts of Palestine. We can anticipate that in this world, Jews would have had even better chances to contribute to the sciences and arts than they already did have IOTL.


    During the height of the Napoleonic Empire there was a nearly minimal number of states and countries in the European region. The minimum was of course during the heyday of the Roman Empire when there was only one unitary state in all of Europe.

    At the greatest extent of the Napoleonic Empire there were only 23 states, including 17 major nations and empires and 6 microstates: (1) French Empire, (2) Kingdom of Spain, (3) Kingdom of Portugal, (4) Ottoman Empire, (5) Russian Empire (6) Austrian Empire, (7) Grand Duchy of Warsaw, (8) Kingdom of Prussia, (9) Kingdom of Sweden, (10) Kingdom of Denmark-Norway, (11) United Kingdom, (12) Confederation of the Rhine, (13) Swiss Confederation, (14) Kingdom of Italy, (15) Kingdom of Naples, (16) Kingdom of Sicily, (17) Kingdom of Sardinia, (18) Benevento, (19) Pontecorvino, (20) San Marino, (21) Piombino, (22) Lucca, and (23) Neuchatel.

    Outside the French Empire, Napoleon had indirect control over Spain, the Confederation of the Rhine, Switzerland, Neuchatel, Poland (Grand Duchy of Warsaw), and all of the Italian peninsula.

    It is difficult to predict the exact number of nations in Europe following a victorious Napoleon. Some states can obviously be expected to amalgamate, notably Italy. Other nations might break away from large empires, notably the Austrian, Ottoman, and Russian empires. We can expect there to be somewhat fewer nation-states than OTL, especially given the lack of microstates and vestiges of feudalism.


    Among the obvious features of a Napoleonic victory world are the general lack of microstates. Europe would be dominated, at first, by a few large empires. Although some new ethnic nation-states can be expected to form as subject peoples fight for independence, most of the principalities and duchies would be gone. Of the European microstates, the author Thomas M. Eccardt lists seven: Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican. Others list six, excluding Luxembourg. Personally, I list six European microstates, including Luxembourg but excluding Malta. Andorra is not a real country. Liechtenstein is not a real country. Luxembourg is not a real country. Monaco is not a real country. But Malta IS a real country. Malta is the smallest *real* country in Europe (in terms of land area, in terms of population it is the second smallest after Iceland). Malta is an island nation with its own historical and cultural legacy. The remaining six are all, with the probable exception of San Marino, vestiges of an obsolete feudalism. Of the eight or nine Eurasian microstates, I would include the six aforementioned in Europe (Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican), Bahrain in the Middle East, and Singapore and possibly Brunei in Asia. I am uncertain about microstates in the Middle East and Asia, though they largely owe their existence to British imperialism, which would be very different in this TL, so their existence may be "butterflied away." However, almost none of the European microstates would exist.

    When you think about it, it is often the smallest sovereignties that cause a lot of the trouble in the world. Andorra did not guarantee women the right to vote until the 1970's and they still deny them the right to run for public office. Also, not only did Andorra declare a state of war against Germany in the Great War (which is insanely idiotic for a tiny, ostensibly neutral, principality), an enemy they did not dare fight, but they remained in a state of belligerence until relatively late in the 20th century. Andorra, that joke of a "country" remained in a state of "war" with a nation that technically did not exist. (The German Empire and Austro-Hungarian Empire did not exist after WWI.) Singapore is a neo-feudal dictatorship, effectively a personal estate of the Lee family, where virtually everything is illegal. The very existence of the Vatican as a sovereign independent state (as opposed to an autonomous republic within Italy as Mount Athos is within Greece) is almost a sacrilege. I always thought that the Church was supposed to be above politics!

    But I digress. Naturally, the French revolutionaries seemed to share my distaste for such arbitrary political entities. The nationalism rooted in Enlightenment thought and carried forth by the French Revolution made such reactionary political arrangements obsolete. In the course of the French Revolution, France invaded Monaco, arrested the prince and his family, built a fort there, and annexed the principality to France thus terminating its independence. Luxembourg (Department of Forets, though back then the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was much larger, extending into territory that would be incorporated into neighboring departments) was conquered and annexed in the course of the French Revolutionary Wars together with the Austrian Netherlands and other territory west of the Rhine. When the King of France was deposed in the French Revolution, Andorra was without a co-prince as the King of France inherited the role from the Count of Foix. Of course the French revolutionaries refused to maintain Andorra as a protectorate, but in 1806 Napoleon I reasserted French rule over the principality to prevent the strategically valuable Pyreneean valley from falling into Spanish possession. The existence of Andorra as a sovereign principality was terminated in 1812 when Napoleon annexed it to French Catalonia (Department of Segre). In the Middle Ages, the Vatican existed in the form of the Papal States. Napoleon annexed the Papal States to the French Empire (the Vatican lied entirely in the Department of Rome). The independence of Liechtenstein as a sovereign principality was terminated when it was included in the Confederation of the Rhine. [The Vatican was unique in one regard. All four of the aforementioned microstates plus the Papal States were restored by the Congress of Vienna, however all except the Papal States preserved their independence to the present day. The Papal States were annexed to Italy during the unification until Vatican City was established as a sovereign state under Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime.]

    As an exception, Napoleon Bonaparte promised to uphold the independence of San Marino, believing the tiny republic to be a model of freedom. Of course, the city state of San Marino is set apart from the other five European microstates by the nature of its government. San Marino is the only such entity to have progressed beyond feudalism. [Note, to clarify what might seem like a bias towards ethnic-nations, understand that while I generally believe nation-states rooted in ethnicity to be the most natural, that does not mean multi-ethnic nations do not work. After all, the USA and Switzerland are "real" countries when microstates and many post-colonial states are not. The difference is whether a country came into existence "organically" or whether it is the result of some obscure treaty. My criteria for distinguishing "microstates" from "real countries" is that microstates are almost always small in land area, small in population, and exist due to some reactionary political factor rather than organic ethnogenesis. If a country meets at least two of the three criteria, it is a microstate. For instance, Luxembourg qualifies despite its very large size for a microstate (being an independent duchy with a small population) and Singapore qualifies despite its large population (being very small in territory and a neo-feudal estate disguised as a republic). San Marino qualifies by virtue of its tiny population and land area, though as a republic is unique among microstates by virtue of its "modern" political from, though it owes its existence to feudal arrangements (being a protectorate of Popes or Italian princes who guaranteed its independence over the centuries). Of course, by this definition, though Malta is not a microstate, Belgium, due to its artificial construction and quasi-feudal roots, could be considered an "overgrown microstate."]

    In fact the feudal nature of the microstates is precisely what often allows them to exist as such! If Singapore was not the estate of the Lee dynasty should it not be a state in the Federation of Malaysia? One would expect that Andorra would lead the movement for an autonomous Catalonia, and would be sympathetic to irredentism, even at the cost of its independence except for the fact that Andorra is a feudal state and serves as a tax haven. Luxembourg, also a modern day tax haven, had no desire to join with Germany or multi-ethnic Belgium. Then again, Luxembourg owes its independence to its use as a buffer state by the great imperial powers of Europe.

    During Napoleon's time, the only microstates were Neuchatel (which became a Swiss canton after Napoleon) and a handful on the Italian peninsula, all of which, with the exception of San Marino, were included in the unitary Italian nation state. I would expect that none of the above microstates would exist, except for San Marino, were Napoleon Bonaparte successful in his ambitions. Would Neuchatel be annexed to France or Switzerland? Of course, even the independence of San Marino might be butterflied away. It was only through shrewd diplomacy and friendship with the powerful that San Marino was able to preserve its independence through the French Revolution, Napoleonic Wars, and Italian Unification. However, San Marino might experience a "wank" due to its political position, perhaps being persuaded to become the center of an amalgamated Italian state.


    As stated above, at the time Italy was a collection of states lacking any sort of unity or centralization. The consequences of a Napoleonic success mean that modern notions of nationalism would be even more prolific. As such a drive for Italian unification would result, perhaps a bit earlier than OTL. It would probably be in the best interest of France to keep Italy divided. Unification of Italy would threaten French power in several ways, including the loss of the Papal States and French ownership of Genoa and Piedmont, the difficulty in imposing hegemony over the Italian state(s), and possibly the rise of Italy as a naval power. Any successor to Napoleon would have to try to keep Italy divided unless they are DAMN GOOD at the whole statesmanship thing, and could somehow remain on friendly terms with the reunified Italy.

    The Germanies

    IOTL, there are currently two Germanies (three if you count microstates). Of course Switzerland does not count as a "German country." During the Napoleonic era there were exactly three Germanies: the Confederation of the Rhine, Kingdom of Prussia, and Austrian Empire. When counting the nations of Europe, we can be certain that no matter what happens there will always be at least one Germany (Napoleon is not going to rebuild the empire of Charlemagne), minimum. Of course, it would be unlikely to have just one Germany, Grossdeutschland. As with a unified Italy, German nationalism and unification would almost certainly undermine French power.

    As such, the possibility of a unified "Grossdeutschland" forming in the aftermath of a Napoleonic victory is even less likely than OTL. It certainly could happen, but not without major shifts in the balance of power. IOTL, the only time in recent history that one "Greater Germany" existed was under the Third Reich, when Adolf Hitler annexed Austria and historically German lands in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia, and Slovenia.

    Eventually, a resurgent Germany would demand land back from the French Empire. ITTL, the chances of Germans recovering the Alsace-Lorraine area are virtually nonexistent. Of course, the results of a Napoleonic triumph mean a stronger France. Even if the French Empire gradually declines it would end up nowhere near as weak as it did under the Bourbon restoration or the (OTL) Second Republic, which lead to Napoleon III losing Alsace-Lorraine to the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. However, Germans will probably claim (and get) French-held former German territory east of Holland.

    In a best case scenario, if German amalgamation does occur, it would hopefully have happened under the leadership of the more liberal German states to the west, which made up the Confederation of the Rhine, rather than under Prussian authority. Such a Germany would be more sympathetic to the tenets of the French Revolution and Napoleonic reforms than a conservative and militaristic Prussia. (IOTL, Prussia did liberalize somewhat under the German Empire, contrary to WW1-era propaganda about "Prussian militarism" and "Prussian autocracy," but not by much. OTL Germany of 1871-1918 did unfortunately carry some of the baggage of old Prussia.) As I suggested above, French unipolar hegemony over Europe or the world is not going to last forever. The nineteenth century may very well have been a French century, but perhaps the twentieth century would have become a "Teutonic century." The inevitable rise of a German power might shorten the lifespan of a French imperial power, but this need not occur as tragically as it did OTL. It is almost certain that a major war between France and Germany (should the Confederation of the Rhine unify with either Prussia or Austria) would occur, after all, IOTL three major wars occurred between France and Germany over a period less than 75 years in length, during the 19th and 20th centuries. However, it is possible that any war may be short and decisive but with fair terms for both sides. In a best-case scenario, France can accommodate a rising Germany, and the two nations may resolve their differences.

    The Hapsburg Empire

    It is tempting to think that the OTL reforms undertaken within the Austrian Empire would have occurred earlier and perhaps accomplished more in the aftermath of a more successful Napoleon I. Among the more well-known OTL reforms was the creation of a semi-autonomous Hungarian Kingdom in 1867, after which the Hapsburg empire officially changed its name from the "Austrian Empire" to the "Austro-Hungarian Empire." I have heard that there were plans to expand the dual monarchy into a triple monarchy before the First World War, establishing the Kingdom of Croatia, but the War and the dissolution cancelled out such plans. Among other reforms included limiting the powers of the Hapsburg monarchs to yield a constitutional monarchy. Would the Austrian Empire have transformed into the Austro-Hungarian Empire at an earlier date following a victorious Napoleon?

    Of course, a strong Poland (established as the Grand Duchy of Warsaw), would probably demand Galicia, and may actually get it. An Austrian Empire, or Austro-Hungarian Empire, or Austro-Hungarian-Croatian Empire, missing Galicia would be in a weaker position, but perhaps also more stable. Strengthened nationalism among the empire's minorities such as Czechs, and Romanians in Transylvania would further threaten the integrity of the empire. Of course, the presence of a powerful Napoleonic Empire may further weaken and destabilize the Hapsburg Empire. It is important to ask whether or not France still has the Illyrian Provinces, or how the Ottomans are doing in the Balkans.

    It is possible that after a premature dissolution of the Austrian Empire, a breakaway Austria (Osterreich) might seek to merge with the Confederation of the Rhine, and that German unification occurs on that foundation. Therefore, instead of Germany and Austria, in this timeline there would be Germany and Prussia.

    Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire

    The disappearance of the Ottoman Empire from the Balkans may be inevitable, referred as it was as the "sick old man of Europe." The status of the Ottoman Empire as a "prison of nations" to its Balkanite subjects undermined its regional stability. (Compared to the Austrian Empire, in which Germans, Hungarians, and almost all ethnic majorities were majority Roman Catholic, and where ethnic conflicts were mainly ethnic. In the Ottoman Balkans, Hellenic and Slavic subjects were mostly Eastern Orthodox peoples ruled by Muslim overlords.)

    IOTL, Napoleon strove to avoid confrontation with the Ottoman Empire after his attempt to invade Egypt. However, the fight for Greek independence started off in 1821, the year of Napoleon Bonaparte's death on Saint Helena. There would be crucial differences between the Greek independence movement in this scenario and that which actually occurred. For starters, the Greeks would be much more on their own, at least initially. The presence of a unipolar Napoleonic order in Europe and the consequent weakness of other European powers such as Britain and Russia would alter the course of the revolutionary war. Napoleon strove for good relationships between France and the Ottoman Empire after the Egyptian debacle. However, many European philhellenes would sympathize with the cause, so the Greeks would at least be able to rely on covert foreign assistance.

    If Napoleon Bonaparte found a chance to face off against the Ottoman Empire, he would be more supportive of Greek independence. The Hellenic struggle for independence in TTL would be more of a solitary Greece vs. Ottoman Turks face-off, with varying degrees of assistance to the Greeks from Napoleonic France. The lack of a multinational effort by the "Great Powers" then consisting of the British Empire, Austria, Russia, Bavaria, and Bourbon France, all vying for "soft hegemony" over the newly established nation-state, would produce drastically different circumstances under which modern Greece would be born. As such, Jakob Philipp Fallmerayer would have nothing on which to base his libelous anti-Hellenic hypotheses such as the notion that the modern Greeks are Slavic.

    In lieu of a multinational contest to support Greece, under Napoleonic hegemony, perhaps a native dynasty in Greece would be established, or perhaps more likely, a Bonaparte dynasty would have been imposed upon Greece. Were that to occur, that may work out surprisingly well. The Buonaparte family has been rumored to be of Hellenic origin, which would mean that Napoleon was at least part-Greek. As such, the new nation-state may have a Hellenic dynast anyway. Of course, the rumored Hellenic ancestry of the Bonaparte family is highly suspect, but so far as I can tell, it has neither been confirmed nor refuted. Either way, Greece would probably be better off under a Bonaparte dynasty than as a puppet of the European empires under a Bavarian dynast accused by Fallmerayer of being a Slavic puppet country of Russia. The advantage of a Bonapartist dynasty over a native Greek dynasty is that in a Napoleonic victory world, the Bonapartes would have a great veneer of legitimacy. Either way, expect the Hellenes to seek a republican state form sooner or later.

    As in actual history, the new Greek nation would start within the boundaries of what was called "Morea." This area included all of the Peloponnese, the Isthmus of Korinth, the Peninsula of Attica, the Argo-Saronic Gulf, and all islands and islets contained within. In the following years, the Greeks would liberate and annex Evoea, Sterea Ellatha (Central Greece), South Epirus, the Sporadhes, and all of Thessaly, establishing the border just north of the Olympus mountains, at the junction of the Hellenic Peninsula with the Balkan mainland. Macedonia and the rest of Epirus would almost certainly remain under Ottoman possession for a few more decades at least. Reclaiming such Greek islands as Crete, the Ionian Isles, the Cyclades, the Aeolic Islands, and the Dodecanese would be a trickier task. (This is not drastically different from OTL expansion. Zach actually had an interesting account of how Greece would eventually expand in a Napoleonic victory world.)

    On the other end of the Balkans, Romanian independence would likely occur at around the same time, probably earlier than Greek independence. The original Romanian nation would probably consist of Wallachia and Moldova. A more successful Napoleon probably did not invade Russia (remember the POD), but he would have sought client states at the edge of Russia. Moldova and Bessarabia might start as such a client state or dependency if Napoleon saw an opportunity to move against the Ottoman Empire. He might have conquered Moldova and made it a satellite, just as he captured territory from Prussia, and some Russian territory, to create the Grand Duchy of Warsaw.

    The core of the new Romanian nation-state would consist of Wallachia and Moldova. Transylvania would still be in Hapsburg control for a while, but Romania would be somewhat larger than pre-WW1 Romania IOTL, because this Romania would have all or most of Bessarabia and Moldova. Nevertheless, Romanian nationalists would be seeking to liberate Transylvania from the Hapsburgs and form a greater Romania, and as the old Hapsburg Empire crumbles, Romanians will probably get to pull it off. Like Poland (and presumably Greece) Romania would start out as a French client state and all three would accept their place as a French protectorate for a while. Between Greece and Romania, the Slavic nations of the Balkans such as Serbia, Montenegro, and Bulgaria would proclaim their independence. Bonapartist France would welcome Balkan nationalism and use it advantageously. (Unlike German and Italian nationalism, which would weaken the French Empire, nationalism in the Balkans would weaken rival powers such as the Ottomans, Hapsburgs, and Russia.)

    The Fate of Russia

    In light of the POD, namely that Napoleon avoids invading Russia as much as possible; the course of Russian history from then on may be dramatically altered. Of course, the success of Napoleon means that the Code Napoleon becomes instituted in some form or other in all states between Portugal and Russia, feudalism has been abolished, and the liberal ideas of the French Revolution gained currency. Russia would remain outside of this sphere of influence, but many Russian nationals would learn of the progressive reforms and ideals popular in the West. Assuming that the Russian political system remains stagnant, as it did until 1917 IOTL, a revolution is inevitable by the late 19th century.

    The reactionary Romanov dynasty carried the seeds of its own destruction. Peter I (or Peter the Great) was one notable exception. Prior to the Revolutions of 1917, Peter the Great was one of few Russian reformers, credited with Westernizing Russia. Unfortunately most Russian czars since were autocratic and reactionary, from Catherine the Horsefucker (Catherine II), who initiated some measure of liberalizing reform early on, later to reverse those advancements and solidify her position of power, to the repressive Nicholas II. ITTL, intellectuals, the emerging bourgeoisie, and Jews would become increasingly radical.

    [I also wanted to do a scenario about Russia having a very radical (French-style) bourgeois revolution, rather than a communist one, some time in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century. I never started the project because, aside from my shortage of knowledge about the historical factors in Russia at that time that would make it possible, Ian's unfortunate decision to arbitrarily divide non-ASB AH scenarios into "before 1900" and "after 1900" made it difficult for me to chose, as I anticipated the POD occurring some time between the late 19th century and WW1. A dividing date of 1800 would not work either because it runs right through the French Revolution era, so anyone wanting to do a scenario about that but unsure of the exact date of their POD would be similarly confused. For future reference, perhaps a division between "before 1700" and "after 1700" scenarios would be more appropriate.]

    The ideals behind the French Revolution would be more prolific in this world. Eventually, a sequence of events very similar to the French Revolution would occur in Russia. This revolution would probably be more destructive and violent in effect than the OTL Russian revolutions (Revolution of 1905, February Revolution, and Bolshevik Revolution) combined, in and of themselves, but without the tragic wholesale loss of life (exemplified by the Stalinist purges, red terror, and famine) or totalitarian repression of the Soviet Union of OTL. The then Tsar and Tsarina would share the same fate as King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. While many of the people from the "upper estates" would be tried for crimes and executed, out of the darkness of this radical bourgeois revolution, Russia may yet enter the light of a bright future, once they rebuild. Revolutionary terror and sacrifice of human life is unfortunate, but hey, one must break some eggs to make an omelet! Besides, surely some of the more repressive and corrupt aristocrats and clerics had it coming.

    In the chaos of this Russian Revolution, the country would be plagued by civil war. The Russian Empire would lose territory on its western frontier. Poland and Prussia, perhaps even the Romanians, would seek and receive territory from a weakened Russia. Other nations would break away. In the aftermath the Ukraine, possibly one or more of the Baltic countries, would likely achieve independence. The threat of foreign invasions would hasten the end of civil war, and the Russians would manage to maintain their border just west of the gates of Saint Petersburg.

    The revolutionary leadership would probably be largely Deist and anti-clerical, but they would not have been as militantly anti-religious as the Bolsheviks. As such, they would fight to curtail the public power of the established Church, while being much more permissive in personal and communal religious activity. Some reforms would inevitably include proclaiming Russia a republic, taking the remaining Russian territory and making all Russias and their oblasts states (thus establishing a less centralized federation), composing a constitution, instituting a democratically elected Duma, and establishing a Civil Law code inspired by the Code Napoleon. Initially Russia will be impoverished and struggle with the rebuilding process, but once working order is established, the rebuilt Russia will be prepared for a bright future. By seeking to establish democracy and modern capitalism, the Russian Revolution will have been very similar in its ambitions to the American Revolution and the French Revolution. The ideals for which the Russians would have fought for in the late nineteenth century would have been the same that the Americans and French fought for in their late eighteenth century revolutions, and would therefore not be particularly radical for the time. As such, unlike the USSR, this Russian republic will be welcome by the USA and the nations of Europe. Out of the chaos, Russia may slowly but surely enter prosperity.


    So far, the focus has been on Europe. Of course, a more successful Napoleon would have a serious impact on the Americas.

    Latin America

    As IOTL, an immediate result of the Napoleonic Wars would be catalysis of independence movements in the nations of Mexico and South America from their Spanish and Portuguese overlords. These events would happen inevitably as they did, though the details may be different.

    The United States

    The existence of a lasting Napoleonic Europe butterflies away many of the details of American history. With a unipolar Napoleonic order, dealings with Europe would have developed quite differently from OTL. This would effect provisions of the Monroe Doctrine, for instance. Of course, America is just as likely to remain noninterventionist, following the anti-interventionist precedent set by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson among others.

    Of particular interest is how Napoleonic France would treat slavery. Would Napoleon have worked hard to redeem his mistake in dealing with Haiti? If France led the charge to abolish slavery this could have helped accelerate the historical process. Maybe the British Empire would have called for banning slavery earlier on just to improve their moral image. There is a slim possibility that greater international opposition to the practice of slavery might hasten the demise of the institution in the United States. Perhaps rather than rapidly freeing slaves relatively late in history, the US would have adopted a graduated emancipation early on, phasing out slavery until, by the mid-19th century, the last slaves are freed. Perhaps this would have resulted in much less reactionary racist sentiment in the South.

    Of course this could prevent the Civil War. As I said before the Civil War was not JUST about slavery, the issue was about secession. After all, some states that maintained slavery fought with the Union against the secessionist states. However, slavery was an obvious causal factor. (The historical image of the American Civil War as a crusade against slavery is supposed to put Abraham Lincoln and the Union cause in a positive moral context. The problem is that ironically; it actually undermines Lincoln to say that the Civil War was ALL about slavery. After all, the British of all people, managed to abolish slavery without a major war, let alone a war as tragically destructive as the American Civil War. There is no reason why Americans could not have done the same, repealing the damnable Fugitive Slave Act being one possible means. Slavery could have been abolished without war, but the Southern secession made war inevitable. For the record, I consider Abraham Lincoln one of my heroes, and the Civil War was a justified war fought to defend the Union.)

    On the other hand, those who say that the Civil War has nothing to do with slavery are obviously wrong. Some say the roots of secession were in economics. Perhaps then, it was the economics of slavery rather than the morality of slavery over which secession occurred. The economic differences between North and South resulted due to slavery being illegal in the North, but in the South slave labor was foundational to the local economy. If the Southerners abandoned the barbaric institution of slavery, they may have diminished the economic gap between North and South. Were slavery abolished early on, the social and economic conditions leading to Southern secession would not have existed.

    Then again, without slavery maybe secession attempts would occur elsewhere for other reasons. If Joseph Smith and/or Mormonism is not butterflied away, maybe we would get an independent Mormonistan? Either way, Abraham Lincoln was born before the POD (1812). As such, he will still exist and almost certainly become actively involved in American politics, but with a possibly different history of slavery, he might not have anywhere near the role that he did. There is no guarantee that Lincoln ever becomes president, but he might have been remembered as a liberal Midwestern reformer.

    For obvious reasons, the American Empire will probably never come into existence. For starters, the existence of a stronger Napoleonic legacy in France would prevent the Franco-Prussian War, or at least alter its outcome. In either case, it is extremely unlikely that Otto von Bismarck would move to institute a monometallic gold standard founded on a gold-backed deutschmark. As such, gold and silver would continue to circulate together as currency throughout the world and Great Britain would never abandon bimetallism. (Gresham's Law illustrated a possible failure of bimetallism, but that only applies when ratios between commodities are artificially fixed.) In such a global economic climate, instituting a monometallic gold standard would never gain the popularity it did IOTL among the banking aristocracies, much less with the industrialists. Perhaps the banking aristocrats and robber barons would find a different issue to elect William McKinley or an ATL equivalent, but without the Gold Standard what would that issue be? It might not be too hard for the banking aristocracies and industrialists on the East to force their puppet over a popular presidential candidate like William Jennings Bryan. Without William McKinley the USS Maine false flag incident probably would never have occurred. Then again, the butterflies from a more successful Napoleon may have eliminated the conditions which made acquisition of a colonial empire by the USA possible. For instance, there is no guarantee that Spain would own Cuba and the Philippines by the turn of the twentieth century.

    Furthermore, had Napoleon achieved his ambitions, the Europe that resulted would probably not spawn World Wars. Curiously, in Zach's TL a world war does result, though I am not sure if the Coalitions Against France were ever liable to evolve into world wars. In either case, the British and then American president might not have both the cause and opportunity to lure America into the world war with strategic use of propaganda and false flag tactics, as they did IOTL during WWI. The stable world order as the world entered the twentieth century would not leave room for American imperial adventurism.


    How would the Middle East develop in the wake of a victorious Napoleon Bonaparte? It is easy to imagine an Ottoman Empire decaying in the Balkans but continuing to thrive in the Middle East. Would TTL analog of the Young Turks seek to reform Turkey and the Ottoman Middle East along Napoleonic lines? Certainly Zionism would not be popular if the Jews are not as oppressed. The emancipation of Jews in Napoleonic Europe followed by emancipation of Jews in Russia after its bourgeois revolution would make fleeing to the desert of Palestine an unattractive prospect.


    Unfortunately, I do not know enough to anticipate how the nations of China, Japan, Korea, and Indochina would develop in this world. To be sure, the European imperial powers would have acted differently in this regard. What role would Napoleon's France and the British Empire have played in this part of the world? [For an interesting but unrelated twist on this check out Tony Jones' "Napoleon the Explorer."]

    I believe that a more successful Napoleon Bonaparte could have made for a much better world. However, the problem with counterfactual history is that changing the outcome of one event can have unpredictable influences on other events. How does everyone else feel about this?

    For further reading please check out the following:

    International Napoleonic Society

    Napoleon's Victory [LONG]

    Napoleon Map
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2009
  2. DValdron Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2009
    Bravo. This appears to be astonishingly detailed.
  3. Falastur Fighting Swiss-wank since 1291

    Jan 16, 2009
    Hitchin, Herts
    An incredibly detailed study. I must confess I stopped reading at about "Society" (I've only just woken up and can't take all this in yet). I think you're missing a couple of things though: on Napoleon's longer life, I'd remind you that he was quite ill even before his exile - remember if you will the modern image of him standing with one hand in his jacket, due to his painful stomach ulcers. IIRC by all accounts he spent a lot of his free time with physicians during his time as Emperor, too, and I believe I read something a while back that said that (and I can't recall exactly so don't quote me directly on this) that the traces of arsenic found in his teeth were something to do with a treatment for his stomach pains, or something. Arsenic was also used for other things in those days, such as wigs, so it's possible his arsenic traces were just another by-product of a strange age to live in. Maybe Napoleon could have survived into 1830, but I find it hard to believe in the best conditions he would live as long as his brothers. He was too ill.

    On top of this I would ask that you give more thought to 1814-5 France, and why Napoleon was able to ride the wind of French popularity as he did. By all accounts, Napoleon gleaned the same popularity as Oliver Cromwell - coming to the fore based on a wave of hatred of the last monarch (, and with the picture of a conqueror giving him greater credit. But just like Cromwell, the people tired of him when they realised that he wasn't there to make their lives better, he simply planned on using the army to fight a series of battles to put in place his own vision of England. In Napoleon's case this was worse than Cromwell. By 1812 the people were getting sick of Napoleon. There were food shortages across the country as all the farm workers had been drafted into the army. Retired and invalided soldiers returned home to find there was no thanks for them, they were incapable of working, and the government had no support for what they had given for their country. France was suffering as a result of warring the UK for so long - think how badly the Continental System backfired. Essentially, most of the people wanted an end to war and a return to an acceptable standard of life. This would be hard for Napoleon to give. In order to satisfy the calls for an end to war he would need not only to call an end to war with his national detractors, but he would need to reduce the army to levels where it couldn't fight off rebellions in all provinces. He would have to sacrifice large parts of his conquests and even then his army might not be big enough to keep France passive for the first few uneasy years of peace. What's more, the UK would probably by this point be implacable in its opposition of Napoleon, likely refusing to accept terms without Napoleon
    cutting away several of his conquests, and refusing to accept the legitimacy of several Bonaparte puppet kingdoms, such as Jerome in Spain. And for a France slowly turning into a state of internal turmoil, it would be hard to restore it to a decent standard. Napoleon may have been a military and political visionary, but he showed few signs of being a social genius. I've said it before in different places and I'll say it again - I have serious doubts over whether, after about the Treaty of Amiens 1802, and the resumption of hostilities, it was possible for Napoleon to do anything but fight wars all of his life until either his Empire collapsed or he was killed or captured. 1812 France simply was not sustainable, reforms by that era were virtually impossible to implement while Napoleon was still in power, and Napoleon was incapable of implementing the reforms himself anyway.
  4. jycee Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2009
    Los Angeles
    This deserves a standing ovation!!!
  5. Nugax talks in diagrams

    Mar 15, 2008
    London's sludgy aorta
    Very impressive work, though you don't mention the economic failings of the First Empire with the vast costs of even the peacetime army, its exploitation of the defeated states, and structural routings of European trade through France that will produce tremendious resentments and inefficency.
  6. ironram Shark-tamer

    Mar 16, 2007
    Wow! :) That was incredible! I have to admit, I have a taste for Napoleonic-victory myself.
  7. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

    Jan 4, 2004
    Well, but for Spain.

    The destruction of ancient monarchies, the establishment of secret police, the continental system which devastated entire regions...

    I should note that plenty of other people within Europe strove against these things as well.

    Why? Even the 3rd Republic was caused in a large part by the failure of of anyone to decide which monarchy people wanted back.

    But the North Sea Territories were only temporary, to control the Continental System. TBH, it's not clear to me how the divided German states can drive a French colossus standing astride the Rhine so far back.

    Moreover, an Italian kingdom would have a Bonaparte at its head, so...

    Hrmm. I'll comment on the rest later. But you are certainly viewing the Empire, IMO, through rose colored glasses. But very interesting, and it's got me thinking.
    lucon50 likes this.
  8. Campbell1004 Well-Known Member

    Mar 2, 2009
    New England
    I feel unworthy of this forum after reading this.
  9. The Sandman Purveyor of Sky Cake Banned

    Mar 10, 2005
    A twisty maze of passages, all alike
    A few points:

    Point the First: the most likely POD would be that the War of 1812 does not occur; this would allow the British to devote all of their available resources and attention to the Peninsular Campaign. With an even greater British force in Spain, Nappy might well have to put his Russian vacation on hold to prevent the British from summering at Bordeaux and Marseilles.

    Point the Second: Nappy's possible views on colonies will swiftly become irrelevant, as the British will take all of them once it becomes clear that the Continent is off-limits. Since France at this point has no navy, and no real way of training one either, there is absolutely nothing Nappy can do to stop this.

    Point the Third: An invasion of Britain is out of the question, for the same reason that the French and their allies are about to lose their entire colonial empires.

    Point the Fourth: A war with Russia is inevitable. The Russians will not tolerate the existence of anything that looks even remotely like a liberal state on their border.

    Point the Fifth: Nappy is eventually going to have to withdraw his control from certain regions; Prussia and Austria are the most likely, as they're the farthest away from metropolitan France. Assuming that Talleyrand is still providing diplomatic advice, what you might see Nappy do is create an independent Bohemia, with Silesia attached to it. This would nicely weaken both Prussia and Austria while leaving them viable states; with any luck, that will keep the eastern border focused on something other than revenge against France for quite some time.

    Point the Sixth: The Ottomans are likely to do rather better, barring Nappy deciding to go on a conquering spree; the Austrians are badly weakened, the Russians have bigger fish to fry, and the French have no real reason to turn the Balkans into a chaotic mess at a point in time when the Ottomans are no longer an expansionist power. Indeed, the French may well ally with the Ottomans as an anti-Russian measure, if the opportunity comes up.

    Point the Seventh: The US is eventually going to have to decide which potential trading partner is more valuable: the British Empire, or Napoleonic Europe. Whichever way they decide, the results could be unpleasant.

    Point the Eighth: Spain is going to lose its American colonies much earlier. The ones that don't declare independence will be seized by either the British or the Americans. In particular, Florida goes as soon as it becomes obvious that Spain isn't going back over to the Brits.

    Point the Ninth: Switzerland probably gets dismantled and its pieces divided between France, Italy, and whatever the French set up in southern Germany (mega-Bavaria?).

    Point the Tenth: Denmark may well lose Norway to the Swedes, who are likely to desperately turn to Britain for help once it becomes clear that the French don't care what the Russians do to them.

    Point the Eleventh: Brazil may end up bigger. Especially since one of the necessities of a Napoleonic victory in Europe is that continental Portugal finally falls, including Lisbon. Assume that the Brazilians take control of whatever parts of the Portugese Empire the British don't occupy for "safekeeping".

    Point the Twelfth: Assuming Nappy is still around when railroads are invented, he's going to be investing in them in a very big way; the military usefulness of a dense rail net is just too obvious for him to overlook it.

    That's all for now, I may have more later.
    lucon50 likes this.
  10. rcduggan 大元帅

    Jul 7, 2007
    New England Democratic Republic
    *Sigh* Although its length might make the noobs thing it is automatically outstanding (I am willing to bet half of the above posters did not even read it), your ruminations are obviously slanted by ideological biases and preconceptions. I will proceed to poke holes wherever I can... enjoy. :)

    What do you say to the proposal that universal empires retard technological and social progression?

    Oh wait, you agree with me. My bad.

    Because we all know what a paragon of progressivism, dogmatic consistency, and social benevolence the pre-Reformation Catholic Church was. :rolleyes:

    Err, does the Battle of the Pyramids ring any bells with you?

    *Snip a lot that seems to be vaguely plausible*

    IIRC a lot of the annexed areas beyond the Netherlands along the North Sea to Jutland were taken by Napoleon in an attempt to enforce the Continental System and prevent cities in those areas from trading with Britain. They were not inteded to become permanent départements of France.

    I think without question France will be able to keep her "natural borders" of the Rhine, Pyrenees, and Alps. So OTL Belgium and Luxembourg, parts of the Netherlands, the Rhineland, and Savoy would become part of the core of France.

    And readily replaced with a new system of aristocracy, which in most cases was the old one shifted around a bit. Napoleonic dynasties would replace the old ones, and a Napoleonic monarchist order would supersede the "archaic social organizations."

    Isn't this all moot, because the Netherlands are a part of the French Empire ITTL?

    You are aware that the Confederation of the Rhine was a protectorate of France, basically the old Holy Roman Empire with a different name? As a whole, it had just about as much power as the HRE itself did in 1789 - IE none.

    :rolleyes: What, Spain being the feudal inheritor of the County of Barcelona is not claim enough for you? How about the centuries of rule by Spain? Does that pale in comparison to a few years of French military rule?

    You are aware that the King of Italy in this period was Napoleon, right? And that Napoleon II would succeed him there ITTL? So he was king of both states - and France obviously takes priority over Italy. So there will not be any transfers of Savoyard land in the near future.

    I have to argue this point with the following: Napoleon becoming emperor was indicative of the fact that the French Revolution had failed, insofar as instituting republicanism was concerned.

    This is a complete non-sequitur! More monarchies survive, so the end result is more republics? :confused: I do not get your reasoning.

    I can see how a failed embargo plan that destroyed France's economy could become an international organization.
    Oh wait, no. It's completely impossible. Sorry for the confusion.

    Please spare us your outdated and archaic generalizations... :rolleyes:

    My advice to anyone who admits this: research heavily before even trying to make predictions. For one who has researched colonial politics in this era, the lack of knowledge is telling.

    Fixed. :)
    No, actually. Spain and Portugal lost most of their colonial empires after the Napoleonic Wars had ended.

    Well, the French economy would be pretty trashed after the wars end, due to the disastrous Continental System. So I think France would be more likely to expand into whatever new markets possible to increase trade and repair the Continental economy. Controlling the Asia trade via Egypt would be very tempting, although Napoleon's aforementioned epic fail in Egypt still would be his sword of Damocles in regards to a second invasion.

    No, actually. Britain would be better off - it could seize all of the Dutch colonies and not have to give any back. So we'd probably see a British Indonesia ITTL.

    Except for you know, the fact that he bought the territory in the first place, indicating some half-baked desire to establish a colonial empire. But his army earmarked for Louisiana became bogged down in Haiti, and we all know how that turned out.

    What ideals are left? Republicanism? Gone. Atheism / Anti-clericalism? Gone in a big way. Universal freedom, liberty, and Egalité? Replaced with a French-dominated imperial system. Amitié? Destroyed by decades of war.

    BTW, the existence of the Société des amis des Noirs (Society of the Friends of the Blacks) in OTL indicates that some Frenchmen even BEFORE the revolution detested the subjugation of nonwhite. (I can't stress the BEFORE enough.)

    Along with the forty-odd states within the Confederation of the Rhine itself...


    This is what went through my head reading the above quote: what the fuck is this bullshit? Honestly. :rolleyes:

    And I am sure that Andorra was crucial in suppressing the women's rights movements for so long, right?
    I'm tempted to sig this quote, just because of its absurdity.

    And yet you previously stated your preference to a world where the corrupt, temporal Papacy dominated Europe. Methinks you need to find some consistency in your own worldview.

    These polities exited before reactionism did! How the hell could they be reactionist?

    By that logic, so could Germany and Italy. :rolleyes:

    BTW, I really don't understand why you are ranting so much against the microstates. It is just bizarre and out of place in a "discussion" of Napoleon.

    Having done extensive research on pre-revolutionary (1780s) Italy for my own French TL, I can assure that movements for Italian unification existed BEFORE the French Revolutionary invasions of Italy.

    If Italy unites ITTL, it would probably be due to French machinations, with a Bonaparte as king. So Italy will remain friendly to the French.

    For the last time, the Confederation of the Rhine was NOT A GOD DAMN UNIFIED STATE! IT WAS A CONFEDERATION! :mad: (HENCE THE NAME!)

    A French victory IMO would co-opt German unification, setting it back by decades if not longer.

    Why don't admit that you know little of the Austrian Empire in the early nineteenth century and save us the trouble?

    Austria was in the Confederation in OTL, and look how much that helped towards unification.

    Another area you really need to read up on.

    The Fate of Russia

    This is absolute bullshit.
    I think your knowledge of Russian history is sorely lacking as well. Research Alexander II before saying no one in Russia tried to reform.

    The ideals behind the French Revolution would be more prolific in this world. Eventually, a sequence of events very similar to the French Revolution would occur in Russia. [...] but without the tragic wholesale loss of life (exemplified by the Stalinist purges, red terror, and famine) or totalitarian repression of the Soviet Union of OTL. [/quote]

    You do know that there were purges, terrors, famines, etc in revolutionary France? Theword terrorism was coined to describe the madness occurring in contemporary Paris - Robespierre's Reign of Terror.

    Earlier in the post you stated your opposition to revolution! You are so inconsistent it is amusing. It's probably the only reason I continue to dissect this rather than give up in boredom.

    This is actually the one thing in your post that I think would be interesting to see. More Deist revolutionaries, rather than radical atheist. Why not, it's a change from OTL.

    (I just snipped the rest because I lost interest around fifteen minutes ago.
    lucon50 likes this.
  11. stevep Member

    Mar 21, 2006

    Very much in agreement but a couple of points:

    I doubt if Britain could get that far without a total French collapse, although that might be possible. Definitely if Napoleon doesn't attack Russia the Continental System is likely to trigger a war sooner or later. Think part of the reason he moved was that Russia and Prussia were already linking up.

    By 1812 I think we had. The Dutch Indies were taken in ~1810/11 and think they were the last French controlled colonial lands. [Since Spain after the anti-French rebellion was an ally].

    Might be possible if France was able to hold its continental empire together for about another decade, although I see that as pretty unlikely.

    Not so much a liberal state as the French empire was pretty illiberal by this time. However an empire as large as the French one and the economic policy it was seeking to enforce made a new war pretty inevitable.

    Interesting idea. I did read once that after 1806 he offered Silesia to Austria but the Austrian emperor refused because he realised that Prussian needed it to maintain great power status and that it would cause even greater Austro-Prussian rivilary when they needed to avoid hostility in facing the greater threat of the French.

    I would be tempted to say that if he made further big changes it might be by trying to detach Hungary from Austria. [Although without another war with Austria, which the latter was desperate to avoid until the odds were better, such a border change would antagonise all the European states as they would fear being next]. Ditto with your proposed Bohemian state.

    Possibly. The Balkans are about the only area within French reach he hasn't attacked and the army, barring major reductions, need new areas to loot to minimise their costs. However with British control of the seas its going to be a very dangerous advance, given the logistics in the region. You may not have a Russian winter but could see something nearly as destructive to the French imperial army as 1812 OTL.

    More to the point, if Britain is somehow defeated or forced to make peace what's the betting on Nappy deciding he wants Louisans back?;) Also if the Americans attack as they did OTL and the Napoleonic wars continue due to no invasion of Russia the 1812 conflict could be a lot longer and more destructive for the US.

    Depends on what POD your talking about. If still a 1812 one then its now a British ally and a Spanish empire in exile could last longer. However by your last sentence I think your talking about an earlier one. In that case very likely. Could strain Britain seriously, possibly fatally, trying to hold them all but supporting rebels and establishing protectorates and trade realtions.

    Could well see a larger version of the Tyrolian revolt there. Ultimately probably crushed but will not be popular I suspect. Especially since it would replace traditional Swiss republics with a number of monarchies.

    If he or his state lasts that long that could make extending French domination a lot easier. Presuming that they can afford the massive investment required and the centralised control hasn't strangled too much iniative and wealth.

    I agree that while some interesting suggestions and ideas in TemporalRenegade tome but a lot of errors and assumptions.

  12. stevep Member

    Mar 21, 2006
    All to true I suspect. Between the length and the errors I know I only read about half of it.;)

  13. Arcvalons The international ideal unites the human race.

    Feb 14, 2010
    Sozialistische Weltrepublik
    Sorry, but I think this should be saved in the Wiki.
  14. Cuāuhtemōc Instagram Fiend Gone Fishin'

    Jun 20, 2009
    This is quite a good thing you wrote up. This should be saved or stickied somewhere for reference.
  15. Van555 Social Reformist

    Jun 30, 2010
    Santa Clara Region, Republic of California
    once some errors are corrected of course...
  16. Zuvarq Pinche pendejo güey

    Oct 27, 2009
    Ian should add a forum called 'The Epics' and this thread, along with similar threads, should be in it.
  17. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

    May 4, 2009
    Santa Marta,Magdalena,Colombia
    Bravo, bravo, bravisimo(claping), very good and well written essay... even if have some BIG CRITICS(in specially the sobre clicheation of Russia and the Ottomans Empire as big example, and the extremly big ultra liberal republican feeling.. for your politican background) but excellent essay.. that is one the main reason why i love alternate history... this one teach more about history than another means.

    Excellent work Temporall renegade.... you deserved it.
  18. SavoyTruffle Going For The One

    Sep 14, 2010
    Moskau Moskau
    This wins on so many levels.

    Thought I gotta say that I don't exactly like your definition on what is and is not a state.
    lucon50 likes this.