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Was Napoleon Bonaparte A Hero Or A Villain?

1653 words - 7 pages

Was Napoleon Bonaparte a hero or a villain?

During the Napoleonic Era, from 1799 to 1815, France became a military power gaining and controlling land throughout Europe. While some historians believe Napoleon Bonaparte was a ruthless dictator, his military accomplishments far outweigh any atrocities he committed. He helped France gain stability after the French Revolution and he also abolished the Feudal contract. Napoleon was a brilliant strategist using military tactics to cause fear and to defeat whatever enemies stood in his way. Throughout his rule, Napoleon continually gained ground, and by the end of his reign, his empire encompassed all of Spain, Italy, and a small portion of land by Russia and Austria. (see map) He is one of the most controversial leaders in history so therefore is one of the most studied strategic minds. He revolutionized warfare through unique tactics and innovative inventions. Even though he displayed characteristics that were villainous, he was the leader France needed to gain stability after the Revolution and therefore was a hero. Napoleon’s need for power and drive to conquer the world was his downfall but how he united the French at a difficult time made him a hero to all.
Napoleon’s background really shaped who he was. In 1769 he was born in Corsica. His parents, Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Leticia Ramolino were minor nobles owning an estate in Corsica.[4] His first school he attended was College d` Autun. He was on a scholarship and was often made fun of for being a Corsican. He was often an outsider but from the start he showed extraordinary leadership.[5]After the college d` Autun he attended the college of Brienne. [6] He later attended the Military college of Paris. During this time his father, Carlos, died of stomach cancer.

Napoleon was born in the time of the revolution. All of the Turmoil allowed one to advance quickly to a powerful position. Napoleon took support for the Jacobins. He was not in favour of Robespierre but was in favor of the Directory. During a riot he was called upon to disperse the angry mob. He knew that regular canons balls would not work but if something that could shoot many projectiles at once would be deadly and effective. He lined up his cannons filled with small pebbles and glass shards. This dispersed the crowd very quickly. This is what would be come to be known as the Famous ``Whiff of Grapeshot.`` For his accomplishment he was awarded the army of Italy. It consisted of 30,000 underfed underpaid and was faced with the task of invading Italy. He won crucial battles that demoralized the Italian army. An example of this is when he faced The Austrians and the Piedmontese. He divided each army and defeated them separately. After the battle was over he said to his troops “soldiers, we thank you” and gave them their first real money in years. He gained a lot of ground for France and thus increased his national prestige.
He made many good changes for France. One of...

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