Revolution and Warfare: The North Before Conquest

Martijn van der Burg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter lays the foundation for an understanding of Napoleonic governance in the Netherlands and Northwest Germany. Dutch and German lands were governed in many different ways in the early modern age. During the eighteenth century attempts at reform were made in both areas, with varying results. The French Revolution was both admired and feared, especially as it became clear that the ‘liberation’ of Europe entailed aggressive expansionism. France’s growth showed the difficulties of imposing rules and practices on a hitherto foreign population. Which policies were effective, which not? True, German secularization and mediatization (the historic Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 1803), and repeated coup d’états in the Batavian Republic, restructured governance on the right bank of the Rhine. Yet, both in the Netherlands and Northwest Germany, the combination of awe of, and fear for, the French Empire strengthened identity formation, whether local, regional, or national, which was not necessarily beneficial for future integration into France.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNapoleonic Governance in the Netherlands and Northwest Germany
Subtitle of host publicationConquest, Incorporation, and Integration
EditorsMartijn van der Burg
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-66658-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-66657-6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Publication series

SeriesWar, Culture and Society, 1750-1850


  • Absolutism
  • Identity formation
  • Republicanism
  • Revolution
  • Warfare


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