NAPOLEON BONAPARTE-The ideals of the French Revolution were ‘Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity,’ yet the methods that were used to accomplish these goals were extreme. For example, about 40, 000 people were guillotined during the Reign of Terror. When Napoleon Bonaparte, a French army hero, seized control of the government in France in 1799 by a coup de ” tat, he was looking to achieve peace in France by ending the Revolution. To do this, he had to be in complete control: he ruled like a dictator. However, he realized that he would have to allow the French people some of the freedoms and rights sought out during the Revolution.
If he did not, he would have lost their trust and there could have been another revolution. Therefore, it is accurate to say, ‘Napoleon Bonaparte stabilized and united French society, yet supported the ideals of French Revolution.’ Peace and tranquillity in France came with Napoleon’s strong, autocratic rule. After making himself a consul for life, he re-established the French monarchy, naming himself Emperor Napoleon I in 1804. He centralized France’s government by appointing new officials, made tax collections more systematic and efficient, and created a National Bank. He believed that it was by God’s will that he was brought to power and persuaded others into believing it through the Napoleon Catechism.
It taught the French people that Napoleon was due their respect and loyalty because it was ‘he whom God had raised up under difficult circumstances to re-establish the public worship of the holy religion of our fathers and to be the protector of it.’ In other words, his coming to the French throne was a blessing. In some ways the event was a blessing. Napoleon brought civility back to France through legal codes and treaties that reflected revolutionary ideals. The Code Napoleon was one example. It recognized the equality of all citizens before the law, protected property rights, safeguarded employers by outlawing trade unions and strikes, and supported religious toleration. Above all, it abolished serfdom and destroyed all remnants of feudalism.
... an autocrat, however, with the support of the French people and the ideals of the French Revolution as a guide, Napoleon brought France to great heights. ... the people of France, Napoleon was a savior, a man who could, despite being an autocrat, implement the ideals of the French Revolution. Establishing order ... Napoleon Bonaparte once said, "Nothing has been simpler than my elevation... It ...
In addition, Napoleon signed the Concordat of 1801 with the Pope to reverse the dechristianization attempts made during the ‘Republic of Virtue.’ Although he was not a religious man, Napoleon realized that most people needed to practice their faith. For France, this agreement made the Catholic Church an ally and they retained the power to nominate bishops. In return, the Pope agreed to recognize the accomplishments of the Revolution and to not question the ownership of the land that had been confiscated then. Processions and religious festivals resumed and seminaries reopened.
However, Napoleon wanted to be the emperor of all of Europe. This could be deduced in Jacques Louis David’s painting of Napoleon’s Crossing the Alps, where he was portrayed with majesty, power, and strength. He was a short man, but had an extremely large ego. He developed a strong army and conquered much of Europe.
His Grand Empire consisted of the Italian and German states, Spain, Western Russia (for a brief time), and Switzerland. Yet, with all his potential power, he did not mistreat the citizens of the newly acquired territories. For example, he abolished feudal rights, the tribunal of the Inquisition, and the internal trade barriers in Spain with his Imperial Decree at Madrid in 1808. This document was used, in the future, as a basis for other imperial policies. Likewise, Napoleon’s concern for the inhabitants of Westphalia was expressed in his letter to Jerome Napoleon in 1807: ‘I want your subjects to enjoy a higher degree of liberty, equality, and prosperity hitherto unknown to the German people.’ In conclusion, Napoleon’s autocratic rule stabilized and unified French society, as well as instilled some of the ideals of the French Revolution. But, Napoleon considered himself friendless and Count Mole perceived the thought behind Napoleon’s actions as ‘nothing but his own gratification, of magnifying himself and his power without limit and without rest.’ So why then did the middle class, who had fought a bloody revolution to end absolute rulers, tolerate Napoleon’s ways? It seemed as long as peace, prosperity, and some of their ideals were preserved, they would accept his more aristocratic policies and give up some of their basic civil rights..
... lost power to a charismatic and fast rising new general, Napoleon Bonaparte. As the efforts of the Revolution to ... establish a stable representative government had failed, France replaced it with the rule of a military genius. Initially, Napoleon suggested power ... former governmental systems either before or during the Revolution. Napoleon used his military genius to conquer much of ...