As he crossed the Alps, the republican peasants rallied round him, and near Grenoble he won over the soldiers dispatched to arrest him. On March 20 he was in Paris. Napoleon was brought back to power as the embodiment of the spirit of the Revolution rather than as the emperor who had fallen a year before. To rally the mass of Frenchmen to his cause, he should have allied himself with the Jacobins , but this he dared not do.
Unable to escape from the bourgeoisie whose predominance he himself had assured and who feared above all else a revival of the radical experiments of and , he could only set up a political regime scarcely distinguishable from that of Louis XVIII. Enthusiasm ebbed fast, and the Napoleonic adventure seemed a dead end. To oppose the allied troops massing on the frontiers, Napoleon mustered an army with which he marched into Belgium and defeated the Prussians at Ligny on June 16, A savage battle followed. Back in Paris, the parliament forced Napoleon to abdicate; he did so, in favour of his son, on June 22, On July 3 he was at Rochefort , intending to take ship for the United States, but a British squadron prevented any French vessel from leaving the port.
Napoleon then decided to appeal to the British government for protection. His request granted, he boarded the Bellerophon on July The allies were agreed on one point: Napoleon was not to go back to Elba. Nor did they like the idea of his going off to America. Great Britain had no choice but to send him to detention in a far-off island.
The British government announced that the island of St.
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Helena in the southern Atlantic had been chosen for his residence; because of its remote position, Napoleon would enjoy much greater freedom than would be possible elsewhere. Napoleon I. Article Media. Info Print Print. Table Of Contents.
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