Map Exercise 12: The French Revolution and Napoleon    (This exercise includes 4 maps)

By 1800, Europe was met head-on by the French Revolution, a revolution that drastically altered Europe's politics, economy, and society. The ancien regime in Europe was dead. Europe also had its new Augustus Caesar: Napoleon Bonaparte. The eighteenth century was also the age of enlightenment, an age which, building on the advances of the Scientific Revolution, dared to assert that Human Reason would overcome prejudice, bigotry, superstition, fanaticism, and blind faith. Empiricism became the foundation for the study of all things human and of the natural world. Man was seen as a product of his environment, and since the philosophes saw human nature as something homogenous—perhaps because that was more rational than diversity—they believed that if you changed the environment, you could change man and society.

General questions for consideration include:

• Was the eighteenth century an age of enlightenment or an enlightened age?

• Why did a revolution occur in France, Europe's most prosperous country?

• How can it be argued that Napoleon both preserved and perverted the Revolution of 1789?

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