In an alternate scenario I am building, The French revolution never happens and thus Napoleon does not come to power. Without Napoleon, the Napoleonic Wars never occur and the HRE remains intact. The problem is that I want the Confederation of the Rhine to exist and am having trouble justifying it.
Without the Napoleonic wars occurring, what is the smallest thing I can change in history to create the Confederation of the Rhine? The only rules are that the change must be realistic, no magic negotiations, no super weapon, none of that garbage and that the Rhine must form by the 1870's.