Was Napoleon The Son Or The Enemy Of The French Revolution? In This Essay, I Will Try And Investigate Whether Napoleon Bonaparte Brought A Positive Change To France Or Was He Just Another Tyrant.

3273 words - 13 pages

France was under the rule of the Bourbon family, King Louis XVI, until the French Revolution occurred in 1789 which ended to the Bourbon dynasty. France was in a state of chaos as the Federal Revolt, war and the Terror emerged in the following years (Morris 2000, 107). Nevertheless, the French still had hopes on one person who they believed could rescue and save their nation from all their political, economical and social problems.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica in 1769, an island which had only become French the year before he was born. He was an artillery officer who seized an opportunity to make a name for him in 1793 when Toulon had revolted against the Revolution. He was awarded as a Brigadier General at the age of 24 after his successful win over the British and Spanish fleets in the revolt of Toulon. However, as Robespierre and his Jacobins fell apart, Napoleon’s career was ‘jeopardized’ and he was sent to jail for a month. Nonetheless, by 1796, Napoleon had achieved a meteoric rise in military and revolutionary society. In November 1799, Napoleon seized power of the French empire as The Revolt of Brumaire broke out, triggered by the failure of The Directory, until his fall in 1815 (Morris 110-114). During his regime, he was able to make progress, reforms, establish order, stability and create an influential, dominant and powerful empire in Europe.
The Napoleonic era has been assessed by many historians who come into two different conclusions. Some historians accuse Napoleon of being the enemy of the revolution mainly due to his despotic rule while other historians support Napoleon as a son of the revolution due to the positive changes he has brought to not only to France but Europe as well. And other historians believe that he was neither an enemy nor a son of the revolution but a fusion of both:he was not, however, merely a revolutionary or merely an enlightened despot; nor was he simply a combination of the two. He fused the Revolution and the ancient regime in such way as to produce an entirely new element (Lee 1982, 19).
Thus, Napoleon Bonaparte, a national hero, was neither a son of the revolution nor an enemy; he was an ambitious leader who made decisions that was best for him and France even if that meant that he had to mutilate the state into dictatorship with somewhat restricted liberty, equality and fraternity.
Napoleon used his absolute power to create new reforms in order to stabilize the government and make effective changes that brought progress. Napoleon’s “creation of the Legion of Honor in 1802 was fundamental to republican meritocracy” (Ihl 2006, 1). It abolished aristocracy in France and awarded people who served duties to the country. In other words, people were rewarded for their talent without the discrimination and prejudice regarding on their socioeconomic background; class privileges were eliminated. Before Napoleon seized power, the Bourbon family appreciated autocracy however, once Napoleon became the...

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