Was Napoleon A Great Man? Essay

737 words - 3 pages

On BonaparteNapoleon was indeed a great man, in that he made a significant impact on the course of history, although with both positive and negative consequences. He was one of history's greatest military commanders and succeeded in conquering most of Europe and did much to modernize the nations he ruled. He also introduced the Code Napoleon, which brought unity, order, progress and reform to France and Europe and the Code is still used today. However, in the end, he betrayed some of the principles of the French Revolution by suppressing liberties that were fought for during the revolution and brought France back to a monarchy. He was also too ambitious, and made the fatal mistake of invading Russia.

Napoleon's strength as a military commander was a major contributing factor to his success in conquering much of Europe. Napoleon himself said, "Power is my mistress". (Encarta 98) He had a love for action and a boundless ambition. "I live only for posterity," he said, "death is nothing . . . but to live defeated and without glory is to die every day."
(http://library.thinkquest.org/17120/data/bios/users/napoleon2/page_2.html)
The battle of Austerlitz was one of the greatest military engagements won by Napoleon and is an example of his incredible military genius. Despite being outnumbered, Napoleon delivered a crushing defeat and as a result of the victory, the third coalition against Napoleon dissolved.

Napoleon's goal was to found a European state "“ a "federation of free peoples." (Encarta 98) This was achieved by the Code Napoleon which was introduced by Napoleon in 1804 and it greatly benefited the French Empire. Even today, the Code Napoleon is still in force in France and its impact still is apparent in the law of all European countries. It laid the foundations for liberal reform, justice and democracy and introduced many reforms and improvements from the old system of government. Feudalism was abolished, allowing more freedom and equality before the law. Napoleon also encouraged education and fostered science and the arts. He also firmly believed in meritocracy, where people are rewarded for their ability rather than by reasons of birth or social influence.
However, the Code upheld the principles of the French...

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