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THE FONDATION NAPOLEON

The Fondation Napoléon is a registered charity committed to the encouragement of
the study of and interest in the history of the First and Second Empires,
and the preservation of Napoleonic heritage.

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RESEARCH GRANTS 2013

RESEARCH GRANTS: FIRST EMPIRE 2013

  •   La pensée politique de Friedrich von Gentz (1764-1832), by Raphaël CAHEN

    History PhD supervised by Michel GANZIN, Eric GASPARINI and Henning OTTMAN (University of Aix-Marseille and LMU Munich, Germany)

    Friedrich Gentz (1764-1832), Prussian officer born in Silesia, was a publicist, an expert in political finance and political economy, an Austrian diplomat, and a statesman. After the Congress of Vienna in 1814-1815, he became the “Secretary of Europe” whilst remaining an independent intellectual and an Orientalist, at the head of the Ottoman policy of the Austrian Empire from 1821 to the end of his life. He was also one of the architects and leading players in the anti-Revolutionary and anti-Napoleonic networks in Europe, a convinced European, a Franco-German Casanova, and a post-Enlightenment thinker who studied under Kant.
    Beginning with a bibliographical section in which correspondence and unpublished sources are examined, this thesis, in its first part, will focus on the study of the intellectual formation of Friedrich von Gentz, and will put into perspective his post-Enlightenment political views in the opposition networks moderately opposed to the French Revolution. Particular emphasis will be placed on the networks he used to convey his political views, notably correspondence and unpublished sources.


    The second part of the thesis will analyse the “Secretary of Europe’s” thought and action with regard to the order and stability of the “European Republic”. Two specific aspects will be highlighted, namely: that of his role in the theorising and creation of the “concert of nations” and of the “Vienna order” as an institution for the maintenance of peace and security in Europe; and that most conservative moment in his political thought, his role in the Carlsbad Decrees (1819) and the Conference of Vienna (1820) with its restrictive interpretation of Article 13 of the Germanic Confederation.


    The third part of the thesis will consider both his favourable position regarding the revolutionary movements of the 1830s and the kernel of his political thought, in other words, the idea of reconciliation of extremes and the progressive reform of political systems and constitutions.

  •   Maximien Lamarque (1770-1832), Général d'Empire, député des Landes. Essai biographique, by Gonzague ESPINOSA-DASSONNEVILLE

    History PhD supervised by Nathalie PETITEAU (University of Avignon and des Pays du Vaucluse)

    Jean-Maximien Lamarque is a marginal figure in the history of the First Empire apart from his role in the taking of Capri (1808) and in the pacification of the Vendée (1815), not to mention his bloody funeral in June 1832, immortalised by Victor Hugo in Les Misérables, which painted him as a Republican. His life was dealt with only briefly in bibliographical dictionaries and his name erroneously transcribed, though he was conscientious, strong-willed and humane, with the gift of the gab and a talent for writing and bargaining. Far from being an average empire general wandering «through the wars, gloryless», he was a man of worth, and his abilities in counter-guerilla operations won him the respect of his Calabrese, Catalan and Vendean adversaries. A keen follower of the Enlightenment and of Revolutionary ideas whilst still admiring Napoleon, he took upon himself the mantle of defending of those suffering from proscription and the demi-solde during the Restoration, anchoring himself in the gospel of 1789 and the remembrance of the Empire. His writing is as fiery as was his fighting, and his reputation amongst the member of the Opposition led him take a seat in Chambre des Députés in 1828, where he distinguished himself.

    This thesis will attempt to give an account of his double career, military and political, based on his private archives and his writings. He was a defender of liberty and his fatherland, a humane man of learning and spirit who referred to the Restoration as a brief halt in the mud. He was an independent spirit, a moderate who supported order, a man for change who detested upheaval.

  •   George Watson-Taylor (1771-1841), Collectionneur de peinture, by Élodie GOËSSANT

    Art PhD supervised by Barthélémy JOBERT, University of Paris IV-Sorbonne

    Although little known, the Watson-Taylor collection was unquestionably one of the most important collections in 1820s England. One notable feature was the particular personality of its creator. The speed with which George Watson-Taylor acquired many masterpieces, both in painting, sculpture, furniture and decorative arts, is a feat in itself. During the wars of the Empire, works of art in Europe were highly sought after, and they flooded into the art market in an unprecedented manner. This benefited not only France but also the London art market that was emerging at the time. Thanks to his friend William Séguier, in seven years between 1815 and 1821 Watson-Taylor managed to assemble a collection as prestigious and interesting as those of the great aristocratic families whose descendants he frequented. However, since his fortune was based on a volatile and declining market, his remarkable collecting feat cost him dearly. After spending lavishly, he suffered a financial setback in 1832 and was forced to sell everything.

    During his career as a collector, George Watson-Taylor bought nearly three hundred and fifty paintings, including masterpieces such as Landscape with Rainbow by Peter-Paul Rubens (The Wallace Collection), The Shrimp Seller by William Hogarth (National Gallery, London) and The Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint Jerome also said The Vision of St. Jerome by Parmigianino (National Gallery, London).

    The upheavals caused by the Napoleonic campaigns allowed the emergence of new non-aristocratic collectors. In France, such collectors were Marshals of the Empire. In England they were planters, bankers and major traders, themselves often also members of Parliament.

  •   La surveillance politique dans les départements côtiers du Consulat et de l'Empire (1800-1814). Etude comparée de quatre départements de l'Ouest et du Nord de la France (Gironde, Loire inférieure, Finistère et Nord), by Camille ROUGIER

    History PhD supervised by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, (University Paris IV-Sorbonne)

    My research will focus on the system used for the surveillance in the Départements. This will include study not only of the many figures acting in this system but also of the methods and practices used in the approach of people with the aim of gathering political information and sending accounts of it to the corresponding offices (the intelligence cycle). I am furthermore interested in the agents’ own vision of their missions and in the effectiveness, real or supposed, of their missions to monitor the impenetrable coastal departments.

    This question of effectiveness leads on to that of the maintenance and distribution of the budget for police in the Départements, with the aim of identifying and analysing the competition that existed between the various institutions responsible for surveillance. I will also consider the ways in which the authorities managed to adapt to the different fields of investigation in their attempts to meet challenges such as the barrier of dialect and regional languages, lack of staff or financial resources. Finally, I shall study the way in which agents managed to overcome the distrust they created among citizens unhappy with an increasingly present and restrictive state interfering in their daily affairs. The question of effectiveness is in fact an examination of the production of information generated by the intelligence service. What kind of information did the local officials manage to collect? Which intrigues and conspiracies did they manage to thwart? Were their findings consistent with the true state of public opinion? The rebellious attitude of some departments like the Gironde shows that despite the zeal and willingness of agents, results were often far from the original aims.

THE “MINOU AMIR-ASLANI” SECOND EMPIRE RESEARCH GRANT 2013
This research grant was created in memory of Mme Minou Amir-Aslani, woman of letters and lover of history. The grant is supported and financed by her children.

  •  La protection des libertés publiques sous le Second Empire, by Benoît HABERT

    History of Law PhD supervised by François SAINT-BONNET and Brigitte BASDEVANT-GAUDEMET (Universities of Paris II Assas and Paris XI Sceaux)

    When Louis Napoleon performed his coup on 2 December, 1851, he intended to remain faithful to his oath of 20 December, 1848, and guarantee democracy. Civil liberties, "freedoms recognized and guaranteed by the State, whether they be individual or political", were to be preserved, well assured of a legal or to the least statutory existence. The Constitution of 14 January 1852 began with this recognition, in its Title IV, and the Senate was supposed to be its protector. Liberals however cried ‘foul’, denying that body the competence to maintain the liberal mission.

    In 1860, new generations of liberals, in line with thinkers such as Benjamin Constant and Alexis de Tocqueville, refuted the possibility of a protection of civil liberties by the state. They separated the freedoms of society from any state intervention other than political. As for the Orléanists, they wished to see political and parliamentary liberties strengthened. To these tensions must be added those facing the Napoleonic liberalism which was to evolve during the reign of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870 and which is testified by the role of the judicial court for protection of freedoms.
    This thesis intends to explore these different formalizations of public protection by the regime of the Second Empire, as well as the various influences that shaped or opposed the institutional vision of this period.

19th CENTURY RESEARCH GRANTS 2013

  •  Les représentations de Napoléon dans la littérature britannique de la première moitié du XIXe siécle : les oeuvres de Walter Scott et de William Hazlitt, by Florence GRIMALDI

    History PhD supervised by Francis BERETTI (University of Pascal Paoli, Corsica)

    This study intends to investigate the origins of the Napoleonic myth as transmitted by two books: Walter Scott’s biography of Napoleon (The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte) published in 1827, i.e. six years after the fallen Emperor died in exile in St Helena; and William Hazlitt’s biography of Napoleon, written from 1828 to 1830, which is also entitled The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte.

    The first task will be the constitution of a specific bibliography in order to attempt to understand how each of these two biographies was new and to see how they contributed to the creation of the Napoleonic myth. In doing this, I shall perform a triple analysis, firstly tracing the origins of these works, then establishing the circumstances in which they were written, and finally detailing the impact they had at the time.

    The authors’ viewpoints are central to my study, since I will be attempting to understand their position towards their fellow-citizens and towards the ensemble of the works produced on the life of Napoleon. I will also be trying to establish the authors’ intrinsic motivations in their writing of their books, thus shedding a light on the expression of opinions and of ambivalent feelings towards such an emblematic figure.

    The aim is for this study to further our knowledge of the representation of a historical character, one which never ceases to fascinate, via a little-studied route.

  •  Napoléon dans la pensée des historiens et écrivains russes à la fin du XIXe – au début du XXe siècle, by Maria MNATSAKANOVA

    History PhD supervised by Jacques-Olivier BOUDON (University Paris IV-Sorbonne)

    The period from the end of the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century can be considered as the "golden age" of Russian historiography. This thesis aims to study the evolution within this period of the perception of the historical figure of Napoleon and his Empire. This thesis will be divided into three parts. The first will cover the period from the early nineteenth century until the publication of Tolstoy's War and Peace. During the coalition wars against France, in which Russia played a part, Russian writers had, in many pamphlets, portrayed Napoleon as the embodiment of evil and even as the antichrist. This vision did not last after the fall of the First Empire and the Emperor’s solitary death on St. Helena. It was replaced by that of the figure of a second Prometheus, betrayed by his trusted companions and defeated by fate, a vision which aroused compassion among young Slavic intellectuals. However, the official historiography (Nicolas Mikhailovsky - Danilevsky and Modest Bogdanovich) remained very sensitive to the censorship of Nicolas I: there was no question that the foreign policy of his predecessor, Alexander I, could ever be analyzed or criticized. Official researchers therefore stuck to the purely military aspects of the Napoleonic era. It was not until the end of the century, which is the subject of the second part of this study, that there was a change in the authorized historiography. Marked not only by the weakening of the control enforced by the authorities but also by the diplomatic rapprochement between France and Russia, this period saw Russian historians working in the French archives and establishing connections with their foreign colleagues. The most typical example is the correspondence of the Grand Duke Mikhailovich Nicolas and Frederic Masson. The third part of this study will be dedicated to the changes in perceptions of the imperial era in Russian intellectuals (writers, poets and philosophers) after the Bolshevik revolution, whether they remained in Russia or emigrated.

 
 
 

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