Type of Document Dissertation Author Jones, Michael William Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-04112005-223014 Title Fear and Domination: Pierre Riel, the Marquis de Beurnonville at the Spanish Court and Napoleon Bonoparte's Spanish Policy, 1802-05 Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department History, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Donald Horward Committee Chair James Jones Committee Member Jonathan Grant Committee Member O'Sullivan Committee Member Paul Halpern Committee Member Keywords
- Napoleon Bonaparte
- Manuel Godoy
Date of Defense 2004-04-15 Availability unrestricted AbstractDISSERTATION ABSTRACTS INTERNATIONAL
FEAR AND DOMINATION: PIERRE RIEL, THE MARQUIS DE BEURNONVILLE AT THE SPANISH COURT AND NAPOLEON BONAPARTEíS SPANISH POLICY, 1802-05
MICHAEL WILLIAM JONES
ADVISOR: DR. DONALD HORWARD
Napoleon Bonaparteís foreign policy was perhaps the crucial weakness in the First Empireís fate. Through strength of arms on the battlefields of Europe, Napoleon was able to subdue and dominate Europe, yet it was this very strength which facilitated a belligerent course with Franceís allies. This was exemplified by Napoleonís use of twenty-two generals as ambassadors for the First Empire. Therefore, when Napoleon turned to Spain, he was not seeking to strengthen a historical alliance through mutually supportive policy; rather he sought to force his ally to subordinate its interests to France. From 1802-05, General Pierre Riel, the Marquis de Beurnonville, served as Napoleonís ambassador to the Spanish court. Although Beurnonvilleís character was at times a hindrance, the ambassador never flinched from the difficult course Napoleon demanded. Beurnonville forced Charles IVís reluctant government to accept damaging commercial treaties, a subsidy of seventy-two million francs and finally to join its navy with France to battle the British fleet.
The focus of this dissertation is to shed light on a crucial period of Franco-Spanish relations. Under Beurnonvilleís tenure, Napoleon sowed the seeds of his disastrous invasion of Spain. The renewal of war with Britain in 1802, led Napoleon to augment the French navy and prepare for an invasion of the British Isles. Spain became an important component of Napoleonís strategy to invade England. Initially, the First Consul planned to substitute seventy-two million francs of Spanish gold, a sum that British leaders estimated would field fifteen ships-of-the-line and 200,000 French troops, for Spainís martial commitment. Spain, under Manuel Godoyís leadership, sought to avoid paying this financial burden because the nation could not afford it and payment could lead to war with Britain. The result of his efforts was an ultimatum and invasion scare from France. Once Spain reluctantly accepted its treaty obligations England reciprocated with its own ultimatum and attacked the Spanish treasure fleet. In the aftermath of this action, Spain declared war on England. Thereafter, Beurnonville and Godoy strove to rebuild the moribund Spanish navy. Ultimately, their efforts were capped with Spainís contribution to the Allied fleet at Trafalgar.
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