Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of History

Degree Type

Master of Arts


For many years, scholarship covering the Napoleonic satellite kingdoms has centered on the overriding presence of Napoleon Bonaparte without looking a great deal at the kingdoms that supported him. Since the recent publication of Stuart Woolf's Napoleon's Integration of Europe the focus of study on these satellite kingdoms will change. Bavaria's history in particular needs to be examined, especially since a clear study will reveal much of Bavaria's modernization during these years was already underway before Napoleon assimilated it into his empire. However, much of that progressive policy would not have been enacted without Napoleon's protection. This project therefore will represent an attempt to show that the reform policies of Maximilian von Montgelas and his lord, Max Joseph of Bavaria, were well underway before the advent of the Confederation of the Rhine, that Napoleon's dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire was paramount to the success of Montgelas' policy, and that Bavaria's zeal for reform was tightly bound up with a new upper-middle class and was not a German nationalist movement as later historians have assumed. The answers to these questions will reveal much about the nature of reform and modernization in the German minor states and that the intellectuals of the early 19th Century had much less to do with these movements than is generally believed. This project will rest on primary sources from the 1799-1815 period, primarily Montgelas' memoirs and much of the enormous material left by Napoleon Bonaparte and his ministers. Whenever secondary sources are used it will be the intent of the author to utilize primary quotations from within those texts as much as possible. In the end, it will be seen that the "revolution" in Bavaria owed much to Napoleon but not its existence. Likewise it will be clearly seen that these reforms were undertaken by bureaucrats and not on the whole by the supporters of German romantic philosophers, and that Bavaria's allegiance was entirely local and had very little to do with any drive for German unification.


European History | History