The Duke of Wellington

The Duke of Wellington
A self portrait

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The eras the Duke lived through

                The Duke of Wellington was born right before the French revolution and after the Industrial revolution. As a kid the Duke of Wellington probably experienced a ride on a locomotive. The Duke of Wellington did not experience all of the changes as he was born after the revolution but he got to experience all of the inventions and new ideas. However, when the Duke was at war against France he heard about the French Revolution. He saw the changes that the French Revolution brought about in France. He also saw the rise of Napoleon as expanded his empire. The Duke of Wellington fought against Napoleon and defeated Napoleon who was exiled into Saint Helens. Throughout his life the Duke of Wellington experienced two eras, the era of Napoleon and the era of the French Revolution. He was born into the later parts of the Industrial Revolution as majority of the reform and ideas were already set. It can be said that the Duke of Wellington experienced three eras, an era of reform in the monarch and excessive bloodshed, an era a new ideas and inventions (and the evolution of them), and the era of the great (and short) Napoleon. Personally I think the Duke of Wellington was Lucky to experience three different eras in one lifespan. The Duke got to see all of the inventions the industrial revolution brought; he conquered Napoleon, and attacked France for beheading King Louis the sixteenth. He received several  grants from Britain’s Parliament because of his actions in the French War and capturing Napoleon at the Waterloo. 

The History the Duke experienced

                The Duke of Wellington fought against France, he saw the French Revolution, saw Napoleon's rise to power, and destroyed Napoleon’s Grand Empire. Because of the reign of terror in France in the late eighteenth century, the rulers Austria and Prussia were scared of their citizens rebelling against their absolute monarchy. However, the Duke of Wellington did not need to fear that happening to Britain as the Glorious Revolution already happened in England. The Glorious Revolution made Britain a constitutional monarchy and so there was no need to overthrow a king, as the king had severely limited powers. This provided an advantage towards the Duke of Wellington and made it easier for him to attack France as France’s army was made up of peasants, the third estates, and supporters of the revolution. Throughout France, many were executed by the guillotine so it is possible a few of Arthur’s friend had been lost. France’s army probably lacked tactic and strategy as the royal guards of the king were skewered and the nobility fled (most of them at least). Robespierre began executing many with the guillotine, abusing his power as a member of the Committee of Public Safety, while Georges Danton persuaded the peasants to enlist in the army and fight. This allowed the Duke to have a major advantage over the French Army (and the fact that a lot more countries were at war with France). However, Napoleon took charge of France and his military Brilliance led to France winning wars and expanding. However Napoleon’s Empire was destroyed just as fast as it was built.  

The Duke's military life

                Although there were new inventions and ideas were recently introduced, the Duke of Wellington probably could have cared less about the new ideas because he was not interested in education. Because of that, his parents sent him off to military school. Assuming how he became a commander-in-chief of the British Army, he must have been an exceptional student to have rose up that far up in rank. It is possible though, that because of his father’s ties and connections was the reason he rose up the ranks that highly. It was probably because he worked hard as in his post when he was in the military though. The Duke of Wellington led a series of successful campaigns which was one of the reasons why he was promoted quickly. He defeated Napoleon at the Leipzig and Waterloo so he probably felt accomplished because of that. Napoleon was an accomplished General and can be considered a Prodigy considering that he was a general when he was twenty five. The Duke of Wellington probably had lots of pressure mounted upon him because he was up against the great Napoleon. Napoleon took down many countries and annexed them to his Grand Empire. Napoeleon crushed and destroyed the armies of Russia and Austria. However because of Napoleon's brutal loss at Russia due to Russia’s scorched Earth policy, it probably lessened the burden upon the Duke of Wellington. The Duke of Wellington was wise, as he waited for a weak moment in Napoleon’s army and then  attack Napoleon’s army. He also stopped Napoleon from resuming his reign as an emperor as the  Duke captured Napoleon when he returned to France and Napoleon was sent to live on Saint Helena.   

What Childhood could have been like

                Life for the Duke of Wellington should have been a lot easier for him than a peasant. Peasants and the working class often had deformed bodies due to the working conditions imposed on them. However new reforms in the mid-to-late seventeen hundreds allowed working hours to be reduced and conditions improved significantly. Although there were no more slaves, the peasants were still poor. His father was the First Earl of Mornington, so it can be assumed he was in the nobility therefore he must have had a much more relaxed and easygoing life. On the other hand, England or Britain at that time already had a new constitution and experienced a period of rapid growth due to the Industrial Revolution. New ideas like the locomotive, steam engine, water wheel, and new techniques had just been developed by inventors. It should have been fascinating in his life time to see these newly invented inventions. Back then horseback riding and carriages were probably the most often type of traveling. However because of the invention of the locomotive and rocket it became easier to travel. The Duke of Wellington probably shouldn’t have been hungry to much considering his father was an Earl and the fact that during the industrial revolution there were more food because of the agricultural revolution. New ideas of society should have been introduced to the Duke of Wellington because of the enlightened thinking of Rousseau, Voltaire, Marry Wollstonecraft, and others. The Duke of Wellington should have experienced a fascinating life because of all these new changes and inventions in Britain.

Early Life and Military Life

Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington, was a general of England, a Prime Minister, and he defeated Napoleon Bonaparte at the Battle of Waterloo. He was the fourth child of six children produced by Garrett Wesley and Anne Hill. Eventually Arthur was known as "The Iron Duke". The Duke was from Anglo-Irish background as Arthur constantly met and communicated with his family and allies. The Duke of Wellington attended Diocesan School which was located in County Meath. Throughout seventeen eighty-one and seventeen eighty-four he was enrolled in Etonian and was taught by Henry Michell. After seventeen eighty-five it became apparent that he was not that interested in education and was socially awkward. His parents then sent him too the military in which he was assigned to the seventy-third regiment of foot during may of seventeen eighty-seven. By December he was already promoted to a Lieutenant in the seventy-sixth foot and was soon transferred to the forty-first foot. When he arrived at Dublin he was an aide of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland until the march of seventeen ninety-three. The Duke of Wellington was elected to the Irish Parliament during the April if seventeen ninety as a member of parliament. Arthur moved up through the ranks of the military fast as he was a kernel by the age of twenty seven. During seventeen ninety-four and seventeen ninety-five he was posted at the Netherlands during the beginning French War. He then fought in India where he became a Governor-General of India during seventeen ninety-nine. In 1803 he became a Major-General who fought in the Mahratta War. Because he was successful in two of his campaigns he became a Knight of the Bath. In 1806 Arthur was appointed as a Colonel of the thirty-third regiment of foot. On the tenth of April in 1806 he married Catherine Pakenham. Lord Longford (Catherine’s father) would not allow the marriage between them because of the fact Arthur was in debt. Although he was in debt because he promised to marry Catherine, he married Catherine. Wellington led an expedition on Iberia during the first of August. At the Battle of Rolico the British defeated the French. During the Convention of Cintra, Lieutenant General Sir Henry Bird advocated for it to be signed. The Convention was more favorable to the French so when it was signed Arthur was blamed. In eighteen twelve Arthur became the Earl of Wellington due to Spencer Perceval’s request. After eight months he became a Marquisate and during eighteen fourteen he received the title of being a Duke. In eighteen fifteen Arthur was in charge of leading the British army to defeat the French.  He was one of the key reasons of Napoleon’s fall at The Battle of Leipzig and the Waterloo. After the battle of Waterloo he became a commander-in-chief of the army. However soon after he obtained this title he became a politician and did not resume his military career. In April of eighteen twenty-seven he resigned as the commander-in-chief of the army.