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Napoleon: The Misguided Child Of A Revolution

1084 words - 5 pages

The French Revolution inspired the idea that the subjects of any government have the right to freedom, politically, socially, and economically. The citizens of France needed a strong, powerful leader to take initiative and set France back on the track to become the great nation that it once was. Therefore, Napoleon was able to quickly rise through the ranks as a military commander, eventually crowning himself Emperor of France. Once Emperor, he led France to become a prosperous nation, while promoting, but also sacrificing some goals of the Revolution. Napoleon, “...would govern in the interests of the people as an enlightened but absolute ruler,”(7). Napoleon was a misguided child of ...view middle of the document...

In the eyes of the French people, “...Napoleon was, by the most unquestioned of titles, emperor of the French,”(40).
Napoleons vast power, which he fought so hard to earn, enabled him to carry out the goals of the Revolution to their full extent throughout the nation of France. Napoleon was a true revolutionary at heart. He was, as George Lefebvre states, "'a typical man of the 18 century, a rationalist, a philosophe [who] places his trust in reason, in knowledge and in methodical effort,”(5). Napoleons administers these Revolutionary ideals he believes in, with, The Code Napoleon, which, “...incorporated many principles of the Revolution: equality before the law, the right to choose one’s profession, freedom of religion, protection of property rights, the abolition of the serfdom, and the secular character of the state,”(9). Napoleon was especially successful at providing social equality for the citizens of France, something that he believed in very strongly, growing up in a lower social class then the men he would soon rule. He preached, “We must use all our rational abilities and reason to improve condition in France, to end hunger, and to create a society based upon the Principles of liberty and equality,”(38). He even anticipated the future, “Fearing a revolution based on a lack of bread, he provided food at low prices and stimulated employment for the laboring poor. He was even able to bridge the gap between church and state, maintaining the, “...spiritual and temporal prosperity of the state,”(40). Napoleon was the French peoples savior, and a true child of the Revolution.
Not only did Napoleon implement the goals of the French Revolution in France, but due to his immense military power and territories, he was also able to spread and enforce many ideas of the Revolution throughout the rest of Europe. France was already, “...one of the greatest powers in Europe,”(17) before the arrival of Napoleon. After his decisive assault and domination of most of Europe, Napoleon's military command extended so far that, “By 1810, Napoleon dominated the Continent, except for the Balkan Peninsula,”(12). He wielded such influence across Europe that he had the ability to impose whatever laws or governmental reforms he saw fit. Napoleon chose to use his influence by...

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