Was Napoleon Good? Essay, Research Paper
Was Napoleon a good leader for France?
There have been many successful military leaders throughout history, but no leader has ever taken over the whole world. This was nearly accomplished by the greatest military leader in history better known as Napoleon Bonaparte. Although his conquest for power and territory were great for France, it was not as good for the rest of Europe. As a self-appointed uncrowned king, Napoleon was known to many as an extraordinary military leader and a great reformer. His domestic policy continued many reforms of the revolution. Through his wars he expanded the political boundaries of Europe.
In 1802 Napoleon, by popular vote became First Consul. Then in 1804 he declared himself Emperor of the French. As soon as this happened Napoleon obtained absolute power. His domestic policy continued many reforms that the revolution had started. He kept the system of splitting France up into department and he helped to end Feudalism, which had given the nobles and clergy their special privileges. But he also allowed many migr s to return to France as long as they did not try to get their old privileges back. Napoleon came up with a law code that brought together many reforms of the revolution, and combined them into a single legal system. It was called the Napoleonic Code and was his greatest accomplishment in government. It recognized that all men were created equal and granted religious toleration, as well as a persons right to work in any occupation that they are qualified for. The people of France didn t always like this because it put the interests of the state above the single citizen. It also removed some of the laws that protected the rights of women and children. Napoleon believed that the man should be in control of the family and household. But Napoleon did make many good reforms, for example, he imposed a law that made it mandatory for all citizens to pay taxes. This greatly improved the French economy. But it didn t stop there, Napoleon created a national bank for France, where tax money was deposited and paper money was issued. He also put together government-run schools. Napoleon was careful when it came to the issue of religion. He knew that most people were against the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, so he made an agreement with the pope to stop having bishops elected and to let the pope have control over them. Napoleon preserved the idea of religious toleration, although Catholicism was acknowledged to be the religion of most of France. This was good for Napoleon because he did not lose any support of people in the church.
In 1792 France went to war. At this time, France was fighting to keep other European monarchs from destroying their revolution. But by 1795 France was fighting to gain power, wealth, and an empire. In the beginning France was thought to be harmless by its neighboring countries, but they were soon shocked when they saw how successful France was. By the early 1800 s Napoleon had created an empire that covered the continent of Europe. He proved again to be a great military leader when he fought the Austrians. They were expecting a frontal fight, but they were attacked from behind, preventing any chance of withdrawing. He soon defeated Austria and Russia, who quickly made peace under his conditions. Napoleon s victories made Prussia fearful of France s power. They became very nervous when he broke up the Holy Roman Empire. So in 1806 they declared war on France. This was an easy win for Napoleon as he took Berlin. From 1807 to 1812 Napoleon s empire spread from France to the border of Russia, he was at the climax of his reign. He directly ruled France and the Netherlands along with the rulers of Spain and Italy, who followed his guidelines. During the time in which he ruled his empire, Napoleon spread the beliefs of the revolution throughout Europe. In his empire, which covered much of Europe, he started religious toleration, eradicated serfdom, and made the Napoleonic Code the foundation for laws in many other countries. Although he was able to conquer most of Europe, he was unable to defeat Britain. In an attempt to invade Britain, Napoleon tried to cut off their ports from receiving any supplies. But Britain s navy was too quick and too powerful, his plan failed and France suffered more than Britain did. Britain stopped all oversea trade with France and neighboring counties. As if this was not bad enough, it also angered the neutral countries that held him responsible for their loss of trade.