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Jonathan Gingerich

Yeah I forgot about the Continental System when I was writing this up! If you accept my delineation, then the common wisdom, that Napoleon made a mistake with the CS and invading Russia, says the last two wars were mistakes. So we all agree on 1 out of 3…

I  don’t know that other powers would be willing to ally – which was the only way to match French wealth and population (GB aside) – and to spend the treasure and blood needed for an existential conflict. The Republic won the battle of Valmy because the Prussians decided they didn’t have a good enough reason to risk their army. OTOH Napoleon would have faced asymmetric threats from outside and in. That’s the trouble with being a self-made emperor. The next guys thinks well why not me?  His legitimacy was largely based on his military success, so war was always a temptation. The de Malet coup illustrating the tenuous hold Napoleon had on the throne.

It would have been interesting to see if he could have united Europe to oppose the British  maritime monopoly with naval forces rather that an inverse blockade…