One of the major impacts of the Peace of Westphalia was the rearrangement of political borders, resulting in the establishment of sovereign governments. After negotiations that had dragged on for seven years, the delegates involved carved out 27 non-state interest groups, 66 imperial principalities that later became Germany, and 16 nations (530). The agreement altered the political map of Europe dramatically as borders that were indifferent to the preservation of ethnic domains were created. The factors considered when creating them included the availability of natural resources, accessibility to ports, technological and economic development, population density, and acreage (Backman 531). The constitution of these countries reduced the tensions that had characterized the old order.
Another long-term impact of the Peace of Westphalia was that it entrenched religious independence. This principle meant that even though a state’s ruler could declare an official religion, people from other denominations still had the freedom to practice their faiths but within certain limitations (Backman 532). This doctrine helped establish a formal association between the state and the church. Finally, the series of treaties led to royal absolutism as there was no one in the new states to rival existing monarchs for power.
The English Civil War, which started in 1642 and lasted nine years, revolved around the governance of England. The main cause of the war was a long-standing uneasy relationship between the monarchy and parliament. James 1 believed that his authority was divine and, as such, no other body should check him (Backman 557). He, therefore, expected Parliament to do as he desired. This aspiration never materialized as there existed an ordinance that made the legislative house independent.
Unfortunately, he was always short of cash and needed the legislative body to approve his spending and tax proposals (Backman 559). Notably, members of parliament refused to allow him to levy customs duties without their permission, prompting him to suspend the house for a decade to the ire of the legislative members. During this period, he continued to levy taxes on the people, further aggravating the already weak relationship he had with parliament.
Despite being the most oppressed and excluded group in Europe, Jews still benefited from the enlightenment. Specifically, for the first time, the gained an equal footing with non-Jews on social and economic matters owing to the widespread acceptance of the principles of equality, fraternity, and liberty. In a few years, enlightened Jews were able to attain ranks in the new progressive world that they previously could not (Backman 605).
Also, by dismantling the structures that segregated them from society, Jews experienced a newfound pride that manifested itself as the Haskala. The Haskala was characterized by a sudden expansion in Yiddish and Hebrew languages (Backman 605). It was also marked by the advancement of ideas such as Jewish socialism and modern Zionism.
Despite critics of his time deriding him as a power-hungry warmonger who could neither muster his ego nor his impulses, some of Napoleon’s activities certify him as a visionary leader. Firstly, despite being born in Corsica, thus making him an outsider, Napoleon was a brilliant soldier who scaled the ranks to become a commander (Backman 643). However, it was not his talents that drove him. Rather, he had a goal to create a powerful French empire that would occupy most of Europe. Through his military campaigns, he set to achieve this goal with great success.
Napoleon’s domestic policies also endorse him as a visionary leader. He took over as the country’s leader when it was in anarchy and made bold steps towards transforming it into a civilized state. Notably, he created the Bank of France that stabilized the economy, introduced education reforms, and mediated over the schism between the state and church (Backman 644).
Napoleon Bonaparte is considered one of the most astute generals in written history. His ingeniousness, gallantry, and sheer determination helped him emerge victorious in battles whose odds were firmly stacked against him. Despite his feats, numerous examples portray him as a power-obsessed warmonger. Take the case of the first Italian campaign between 1796 and 1807. He planned for an aggressive campaign that spurred conflict in areas that had been relatively dormant. Some of the countries he attacked included Spain, Britain, and Russia. Despite the commitment of precious military resources, Napoleon stood to gain nothing but glory (Backman 652).
If his aggressive exploits in Egypt do not substantiate the position that Napoleon was power-hungry, his crowning himself certainly does. The general rigged a national referendum and then unleashed a ruthless force that repressed critics. The extravagance of his coronation further confirms his desire for power (Backman 645).
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