From what has been discussed, one can see the potential that was available to the French during the period 1803-1812 to damage the British, yet the means available never allowed for the desired affects that Napoleon envisioned in order to bring the British to heel. The two major forms of threat available to Napoleonic France during the decade discussed, that of invasion and that of Blockade, never took on forms in which the damage caused proved to be anywhere near substantial enough to damage the British economy, nor cause enough threat to make invasion a real fear within Britain.
In terms of the threat of invasion, I have argued that although the defeat at Trafalgar was significant, it did not prove fatal. I believe that Napoleon could theoretically have continued his invasion plans up until the seizure of the Danish fleet by the British at Copenhagen, and the flight of the Portuguese navy, in 1807. The combined might of the Danish, Portuguese, Russian and remnants of the Franco-Spanish fleets could quite possibly have allowed Napoleon the invasion that is often seen by modern scholars (such as Lee and Christopher Lloyd ), to have been thwarted at Trafalgar. The argument that I posed in Chapter 1 helps to dispel this myth, but also helps to explain the other reasons as to why Napoleon was never able to strike directly at Britain, and his continually inability to gain the means that would allow his master plan of conquest.
In Chapter 2, I argued that the inability of the Continental Blockade to hamper seriously the British economy falls firmly at Napoleon’s own feet. Despite his claims that he had ‘no other object [but] – the prosperity of France’ , his policy of Blockade in order to damage the British economy led to a situation that represents a ‘cutting off the nose to spite the face’ situation. The goods that the Blockade cut much of Europe off from were not those with which Napoleon was capable of providing alternatives. The oceanic trade in goods such as coffee, tobacco and indigo was almost entirely controlled by the British, and had been assured by the practical loss of any French naval competition after successive defeats on the seas, culminating with Trafalgar in October 1805. The loss of such consumer commodities, as well as the damage that the Blockade caused to local economies reliant on engagement in said trade, led to widespread resentment to both Napoleon’s rule and to the Blockade, which led inevitably to the flouting of the Blockade, which allowed British smuggling to take hold. Furthermore, Napoleon’s obsession with the question of Britain led to damaging wars and diplomatic relations, which not only eased the pressure on the British, but also played a major role in jeopardising his own position as Emperor of the French. The flouting of the Blockade by disaffected populace, the unwillingness of Napoleon to allow sufficient resources and manpower to enforce it, alongside the holes that had appeared in the Blockade, and which could not be plugged, proved so damaging to the Blockade that its effectiveness was unsubstantial in order to cause the potential damage that a combined rift with the USA would have caused in the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars.
In this work, I have shown that the potential to damage the British was available to Napoleon during the period 1803-1812. Yet the inability to utilise the potential available to damage Britain meant that any significant threat to Britain never arose. Furthermore, as well as failing to significantly damage the British economy, the Blockade looks to have barely hindered the industrial development in Britain during the period.

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