While Napoleon was celebrating the birth of his heir, his problems throughout Europe were on the rise. In particular, nationalist sentiments emerged all over the continent, as people again desired the British goods the Continental System deprived them of, and became increasingly disgusted with Napoleon's egomania. In Britain, opposition to Napoleon ("Old Boney") became almost a national religion. While the British lower classes were suffering during the Industrial Revolution and might have rebelled otherwise, the opposition to Napoleon's control of almost all of Western Europe greatly unified Britain and prevented such a rebellion from happening. While Britain was helped along a liberal path, Spanish resistance took the form of conservatism, as the Spanish fought to restore the old Bourbon family to the Spanish throne.

In Germany (the Confederation of the Rhine), hatred of Napoleon and the French also began to mount. The reaction against Napoleon was so great that many intellectuals started to reject French Enlightenment Rationalism in favor a new intellectual trend called "Romanticism." One German Romantic, Herder, contradicted the Enlightenment ideal that all nations progressed toward one goal. Rather, Herder claimed, each nation had its own particular "genius." Napoleon thus touched off a new school of thought in Germany. Furthermore, Napoleon showed the Germans the kind of power that could be achieved through a strong centralized state. Napoleon thus helped to inspire the previously loosely federated Germans to form a nation-state; some scholars speculate that memories of Napoleonic order and unity may have contributed to the German people's acceptance of Nazism.

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