Some of history's greatest rulers such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, and Joseph II have been considered to be enlightened despot. One of these was also Napoleon Bonaparte. They ways by which Napoleon has been considered to be a despot are through his economic policies, religious and educational policies, and the Code Napoleon.
The term "enlightened despot" has been used to describe many great rulers, but it might be misinterpreted. The word "enlightened" means to be influenced by the values and ideas of the Enlightenment. Also, the word "despot" is defined as to exercise dictatorial authority. Considering the definitions of these two words, the term "enlightened despot" would be defined as a person who believes to be influenced by the ideas of Enlightenment and exercises authority similar to that of a dictator.
Napoleon had many accomplishments through his economic policies, such as establishing the Bank of France and reorganizing and centralizing tax collection. He also established the Continental System, which attempted to block England from continental trade. Napoleon also put into effect the Berlin Decree in 1816, which
prohibited trade with England. In 1807, the Milan Decree was passed which stated that any ship which traded or even been stopped by the British Navy was to be confiscated. French manufacturing was wholly unable to makeup for the loss of British goods. Soon afterwards, the French manufacturers and merchants began to resent the restrictions. Napoleon regarded his allies and conquered territories as a source for raw materials, conscripts, and a market for French goods. Eventually, Napoleon's economic policies contributed to his fall.
Religious and educational policies were also part of Napoleon's accomplishments, which lead for him to be the greatest enlightened despot. One of the religious policies was the Concordat of 1801, which gave the Catholic Church special status. The Concordat also gave power...