The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars lasted from 1792 until 1815. They are among the longest and most intense conflicts ever seen in Europe. The French Wars were not an ideological conflict between the French Revolution and Napoleon on the one side and the old regime powers of Europe on the other; they originated in deep, structural problems in 18th-century international politics. The figure we connect with these wars, Napoleon Bonaparte, is either adored or hated in equal measure. Thanks to the French Revolution, he rose to become the most powerful ruler in Europe. The Introduction gives a brief account of his background, his character, and his rise to prominence.