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Two Faced H Istory Essay

1228 words - 5 pages

The past is history and history is the past that intrigues the modern world. History is written by the royals, the rich, and the powerful; in many ways it is the winners who fill the pages of the history books. For this reason perspective is essential to understanding the truths of the pasts. Men are not created either bad or good, but rather possess layers that create a unique character. It is the historian's job to unravel these layers; these layers contain the truth behind both the man and history. Like any other man Napoleon Bonaparte had layers that are to this today complicated to know, but like no other man he was great in seizing the opportunity of a time and place that was vulnerable. Great men are born with a stroke of genius, and hold all the luck in the world at the palm of their hands, but great men know how to take advantage of the good and the turmoil. Bonaparte possessed qualities of a leader, but it was the events that took place in 17th century France that molded him into emperor. From the perspective of the French Bonaparte was a heroic emperor, but in the eyes of an enemy Bonaparte was tyrannical emperor. There are pages in the history books that are written with a certain degree of irresolute, there are characters that leave a reader both sympathetic and appalled.
17th century France was in turmoil. The French revolted and ousted Louis XVI, no longer was France ruled by a monarchy, it was the republic of France. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsica who grew into a soldier climbing on both the professional ladder and social ladder. At the age 27, he was given the command of the French army in Italy (video). This is where he proved his brilliance in campaigning. Bonaparte tapped into the soldier's minds by reminding what they were fighting for saying "...Would you be lacking in courage or constancy?" "The grateful Patrie will owe its prosperity to you"(Doc.1). Without these words the soldiers would have not fought with their minds. Bonaparte used the revolution's ideas to campaign and he used the revolution to rationalize the steps he took. Bonaparte took advantage the turmoil to solidify his persona among the French people. "On my return to Paris, I found division among all authorities, and agreement upon only one point: that the Constitution was half destroyed and could not save liberty" (Doc.3). Bonaparte saw an opportunity in the weak Directory to overthrow it and put himself in power. In alliance with the director Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès, his brother Lucien; the speaker of the Council of Five Hundred, Roger Ducos, Joseph Fouché, and Talleyrand, he overthrew the Directory by a coup d'etat on November 9, 1799. He used himself as a figure head for revolutionary ideas protecting himself and protecting the revolutionary mentality. Without the French Revolution occurring Bonaparte would have simply stopped at the rank of soldier, but because of post revolution ideas he was given the opportunity to succeed as...

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