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Napoleon Bonaparte Essay

1180 words - 5 pages

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769, on the island of Corsica, a colony of France. Many hail Napoleon as one of the greatest men of all time. He was emperor of the French who consolidated and institutionalized many reforms of the French Revolution. The French Revolution, from 1789 to 1799, changed the political, economic, and social structure of France forever. France changed from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy, and finally to a republic. Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders of all time. But, even though how great Napoleon was, something about how Napoleon governed France still floats among people's minds. Was Napoleon Bonaparte a hero or a villain? This is one of the major controversies surrounding Napoleon. This issue is important, because many people question if Napoleon did more for France or was rather a self-centered individual. Many believe that Napoleon was a tyrant, because his principles defeated the purpose of the ideals of the French Revolution, basically that Napoleon abused his power and was only concentrated on fulfilling selfish dreams. I believe that Napoleon was one of the greatest leaders that France had ever had and was a hero in the French society. Napoleon was a hero in France and also in most of Europe. Napoleon's heroic efforts include his remarkable military accomplishments, his ability to promote and advance the wide-ranging social, economic, and cultural changes that arose from the French revolution, and his domestic policy that still affects French institutions today.

Napoleon's domestic policy was one of his greatest legacies to France. This policy provided the stability in France necessary to consolidate the revolution begun in 1789. For example, Napoleon's Bank of France and tax reform stabilized the French economy. This bank issued government securities and extended low interest loans to promote industry. In some cases, new industry was also encouraged by the offer of grant money or tax rebates. Napoleon refined the system by demanding that tax collectors pay 5% of expected revenue up front and ensuring that tax collectors were now professional, government employees. Napoleon also ensured that there were no tax exemptions based on class. This previous policy on "class exemptions from tax" was a major issue in French society prior to the revolution. Direct taxes on land, business licenses, personal property, and servants were now maintained at a steady level as established under the directory. Under Napoleon's domestic policy, indirect taxes, such as those imposed on durable goods were also raised, as more revenue was needed for the economy. The concordat also healed the relationship between France and the Roman Catholic Church. For example, the Church renounced all right to those lands that had been confiscated during the revolution thus allowing the new owners, who were primarily peasants, the confidence that they would retain their property. Religious...

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