Type of Document Dissertation Author Parrish, Ricky E. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-11082005-111818 Title The Military and Diplomatic Career of Jacques Etienne Macdonald Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department History, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Donald D. Horward Committee Chair Jonathan Grant Committee Member Maxine Jones Committee Member Patrick O'Sullivan Committee Member William Oldson Committee Member Keywords
- French History
- Military History
- Napoleon I
- Jacques Macdonald
Date of Defense 2005-11-07 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation examines the military and diplomatic career of Jacques Etienne Macdonald. It is based on archival research at the Archives de la Guerre, located at the Chateau de Vincennes, the Archives National, and the Archives Diplomatiques, as well as printed primary sources from the period. This work is the first detailed examination of his career. Although he was not one of the greatest of Napoleon's marshals, Macdonald's career deserves scrutiny because it spanned the ancien regime, the French Revolution, and the Napoleonic periods, the Restoration of the Bourbon dynasty, and ended shortly after the July Revolution of 1830. The length and success of his career marks Macdonald as an important historical figure of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and one worthy of scholarly study.
Macdonald's career exemplifies the mobility of Frenchmen who adapted to the numerous changes that took place in France from 1789-1815, making the most of each shift in political fortune to advance himself in his chosen field. He used the patronage system of the ancien regime to establish a position in the French military. Once the Revolution began, he advanced due to the need for trained officers caused by the flight of French nobles, war casualties, and the execution of military officers during the Terror. Rising to the rank of general of division, he became one of the successful generals who extended French control over Europe. He saw service in the Low Countries, Germany, and Italy during this time. Napoleon sought his support for the coup of 18 Brumaire, and he was rewarded with the command of the Army of the Grisons. After the Campaign of 1800, Macdonald was sent on a diplomatic mission to Denmark. This post was his last official post until 1809 due to his outspoken condemnation of the trial of General Moreau as well as an ill-advised affair with Napoleon's sister, Pauline Bonaparte.
Napoleon's need for experienced commanders brought Macdonald out of retirement in 1809 for the campaign against Austria. From this point, he saw service in Italy, Hungary, Austria, Spain, Russia, Germany, and France before he was instrumental in negotiating the abdication of Napoleon in 1814. Macdonald's career shifted from active service to administrative duties at this point. He took on various posts under the Bourbons, including Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honor, which he held until his retirement in 1831.
Macdonald's contributions to France were significant during the Revolution and Empire and help to explain the establishment of French hegemony in Europe during the Napoleonic Period.
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