Our survey of the first 25 years of the nineteenth century begins when Napoleon Bonaparte ended the chaotic years of the French Revolution by taking power and reorganizing the French government. He then more than doubled the size of the United States of America by selling the Louisiana Territory to Thomas Jefferson. The U.S. and Great Britain began to experience the first phases of the Industrial Revolution.
But world events took a downward turn as Napoleon plunged Europe into war in his attempt to build a French empire. America, too, was drawn into the conflict in the War of 1812 with Britain. Meanwhile, the distractions in Europe gave a man named Simón Bolivar the opportunity to win freedom for Spanish colonies in South and Central America.
Stability was restored for a time as Napoleon was defeated and an uneasy peace was established at the Congress of Vienna. The Western Hemisphere was given hope by President Monroe’s doctrine asserting that their half of the world was to be regarded by Europeans as free and independent.
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