What was the Foreign Policy of Napoleon as First Consul (1799-1804)?


As soon as Napoleon took the office of the first consul, he wanted to crush the second coalition and approached the kings of some co and wrote letters to England and Austria expressing therein that war a source of misery and ruin and it destroyed peace and prosperity, ought to be stopped.

In reply to his letters he was informed by the rulers of Austria and England, “The responsibility of wars rests on France alone.

If France wants to leave the path of war and is anxious to establish peace the best way for France is that he should re-establish the reign of Bounrbon dynasty in France.” Napoleon was enraged to receive the letter and up his mind to crush Austria by attacking it from two sides:


(i) Through Rhine province, and

(ii) Through the Alps mountain.

The Second Campaign of Italy

Taking the advantages of the absence of Napoleon, Italy had shaken off the yoke of French supremacy. Napoleon decided to invade Austria by crossing the mountain ranges of the Alps, which were difficult to climb instead of the circuitous route of first campaign, when the army had to take round of the Alps Mountain.


He entered Italy through the pass of St. Bernard, which was very troublesome and there were innumerable hurdles in the way.

It was not possible to carry the heavy gun-carriages on the wheels. He ordered that the trees be hollowed and these guns should be rolled down from the steeply rocks of the mountain.

Thus he successfully reached the valley of Po after crossing the Alps and in 1800 he defeated Austria in the battle of Moreng. He was sure to meet defeat if he had not been helped by Desaix, the French General, in the nick of time who sacrificed his own life but made Napoleon victorious. Austria was compelled to conclude the convention of Alexandria.

The second army of France led by Morean also defeated the Austrians in the South of Germany in the battle of Hohenlinden and captured the highway leading to Vienna.


Austrian emperor was frightened by these defeats, and when the enemy was only 71 miles away from the capital, he sued for a treaty.

Treaty of Laneville:

On 9th Feb. 1801, both Austria and France concluded a treaty at Laneville. The following were the provisions of this treaty:

1. The emperor of Austria again accepted the treaty of Campo Formio along with some more bitter terms.


2. The Austrian Emperor had to recognise the Batavian Republic, Cis-Alpine Republic, Halvelic Republic and other republics established by Napoleon.

England and Napoleon

After the treaty of Luneville, Napoleon directed his attention towards England because it had not yet accepted the supremacy of France.

Napoleon established the second Neutral League of the North in order to prevent England from making searches on the ports.


It annoyed England very much and a war began between the two nations, viz., France and England. Unfortunately none could achieve a decisive victory in the battle and a treaty was concluded between them after a prolonged war of eight years.

Treaty of Amiens:

On 27th March 1802, Treaty of Amiens was concluded between the two warring nations. The following were the significant terms of this treaty:

1. France withdrew her control from the dominions of the Pope and Naples in Italy.

2. England returned all the colonies except Ceylon and Trinidad to France which she had conquered in the past battles.

3. England recognised the new government of France.

4. England promised to vacate and return the island of Malta to its old owners, the knights of the John.

5. England and France both were to sail their ships round the Cape of Good Hope freely.

6. France also returned Egypt to the Sultan of Turkey.

Thus it was the first occasion when an attempt was made to establish peace in Europe. Everybody was happy by this treaty but none could pride oneself on it.

It left the various disputes unsettled between France and England. Hence after some time war again broke out in Europe.

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