Napoleon was the most powerful emperor at the beginning of the nineteenth century in Europe. By invading Europe and by getting involved in important wars, his image was very publicized at this time.
Caricatures used to study history
As Napoleon is not only part of French history but also of European history, it is interesting to analyse the point of view of European people. Caricatures are representative of the image of someone during events, especially during wars or struggles. The point of view of the enemy is not often studied when we study the wars in history. This omission lets a part of history unseen for the students, which are contrary to the principles of universality when we teach history. Besides, it is important to compare the European’s people points of view in order to study European history instead of studying national history. Therefore, this learning scenario aims to work on connected history with students, which is not that developed in our syllabus.
Using Europeana to connect with European history
By analyzing caricatures
Europeana is a valuable resource to commit students to study these topics. It gives us access to caricatures from all over Europe. These caricatures are mostly produced by British or Dutch people, two territories that were involved in Napoleonic battles.
Some caricatures are a way to study special events during the Napoleonic era, such as the poisoning at Jaffa during the Egyptian campaign in 1798, or the defeat at the battle of Leipzig in 1813 when the coalized armies are fighting against Napoleon, who was already weaker because of his defeat in Russia.
By exploring old newspapers
To go further on the most important facts of the Napoleonic era, it is possible to complete the study with some front pages of newspapers, such as one about the Waterloo battle. To keep going in the study of the European points of view, it is interesting to find a British newspaper to talk about Waterloo. Newspapers are also good to study the enemy’s point of view.
Some other caricatures are good to study how Napoleon was mocked all over Europe. It was a way to make him weaker and less threatening for the populations who were scared about an invasion. It was also a way to show how ridiculous was Napoleon by having an idea of ruling over the whole of Europe.
Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it below:
New: this learning scenario is now available in French. Interested? Download it below:
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The featured image used to illustrate this article belongs to the public domain.