What if Napoleon Had Won at the Battle of Waterloo? Part 2
About what might have happened if Napoleon and the French armies had won at the Battle of Waterloo, an alternate history.
WHAT IF . . . ?
What If Napoleon Had Won At Waterloo?
Despite the clemency shown England, that country suffered greatly. Although trade ties with continental Europe were restored, the economy was hampered by excessively high tariffs. In addition, the taxes necessary for maintenance of a standing army and a strong navy were nearly insupportable. The government, driven to such measures by the continued existence of Napoleon's forces, realized its show of armed strength served a second purpose. It kept in line the reform movement at home. Ireland was plagued by continual revolts and bloody riots, and the English themselves were reduced to near starvation. In the midst of this state of affairs, Lord Byron led a major working-class rebellion in 1825. Unfortunately Byron--always a romantic at heart--had no head for the realities of war. The uprising was savagely suppressed, and Byron was executed. His death had a tremendous influence on the country and inspired a growing segment of the younger generation to turn to radicalism. Poets like Shelley, and later Tennyson, took up the banner of revolution and helped establish a radically oriented university at Manchester. Day by day, England edged closer to a full-scale rebellion.
Although the established governments on the Continent remained securely in power--largely due to the presence of Napoleonic France--a war of independence flared in South America and became a symbolic battlefield for the opposing forces in Europe. England sent its army overseas to support Spain, while rebels and adventurers from all nations took the side of the colonists.
As Napoleon's strength continued to wane, radical forces seemed to gain proportionately in power. As he became less able to attend to matters of state, the French government nearly ceased to function and was attacked vigorously from all sides. Supporters of the ancien regime and of democracy vied for power, and it was unclear who would profit most at the end of the Napoleonic era. Trevelyan leaves us, at the moment of Napoleon's death, with the question of the world's future still unresolved.
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