Napoleon Essay, Research Paper
Napoleon was able to control, and expand his empire so successfully because of his
intelligence in knowing how to rule. There is no doubt in the fact that the French
Revolution created Napoleon Bonaparte (Connely Owen, Encarta 99). This was the man
who in 1799, combined a passion for power with his genius for leadership. Although to
many people everything that Napoleon accomplished over a span of fifteen years seemed
to undermine the principles of 1789, the result at the end was that many of his
achievements of the Revolution were made French realities (Orsinger, Richard:
www.taxdirect.net/users/rrichard/napoleo1.htm). Indeed, these realities were also made
manifest across Europe.
Napoleon was able to control, and expand his empire so successfully
because of his early success, and him learning in that time how to control an empire. From
1784 to 175 Napoleon attended the Ecole Militarie in Paris. So the wars of the French
Revolution gave him the opportunity to test his skills. He finished his training and joined
the French army when he was 16 years old. Soon after his father died, Napoleon moved to
Paris in 1792. After the French monarchy was overthrown on August 10, 1792, Napoleon
decided to make his move up the ranks. After this, Napoleon started becoming a
recognized officer. In 1792 Napoleon was prompted to the rank of captain. In 1793 he
was chosen to direct artillery against the siege in Toulon. He seized ground where he
could get his guns in range of British ships. Soon after that Toulon fell and Napoleon was
promoted to the rank of brigadier general.
When Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. He
defeated four Austrian generals in succession, and each army he fought got bigger and
bigger. He was once quoted saying, In Italy I realized I was a superior being and
conceived the ambition of performing great things, which hitherto had filled my thoughts
only as a fantastic dream (Maurois Andre: pg 30). This forced Austria and its allies to
make peace with France. During this campaign the French realized how smart Napoleon
was. He developed a tactic that worked very efficiently. He would cut the enemy s army
into two parts, then throw all his force on one side before the other side could rejoin them.
This method was extremely effective against the Sardinian troops, because he defeated
them five times in 11 days.
In November 1797, Napoleon was ordered to plan an invasion of England.
As he had showed earlier, his intelligence in military strategies was what led him to yet
another victory. While all this was going on, things were not that peaceful back in France.
Political unrest, financial disaster, and war with Europe forced Napoleon to return. France
needed a savior (Maurois Andre: pg. 15). In October 1799, and without informing his
troops in Egypt. Napoleon landed in France. A conspiracy was already underway against
the lame five-man Directory. Some politicians realized the need to seize power and
establish a strong executive. Some though that a tyrant may be needed. In November
1799, the Directory was overthrown by a coup d etat and Napoleon became a military
dictator. The French Revolution had entered yet another stage of its history. This proved
to be the turning point, because it was the beginning of a new era, the Napoleanic Era.
Due to all his early success Napoleon really did know how to control an empire because of
his base own experience of having to move up in life ( Connelly Owen: Encarta 99). He
started really low and ended up as the emperor this shows you how hard he had to work
to get there.
Napoleon was able to control and expand his empire so successfully
because of the reforms he made after he was in total control. Once named military dictator
in November of 1799, Napoleon started to make all kinds of reforms, reforms that the
people liked, and he was supported very much with the people s vote in all of his reforms.
A new constitution was drawn up which specified that three Consuls would share power
as a sort of trio. Napoleon, of course, was one of these Consuls. His ambition, however,
forced him to aspire way more. In 1802, Napoleon was made first Consul for life with the
right to choose his own successor. Then on December 2, 1804, Napoleon proudly
crowned himself Emperor of France. So by the year of 1804, the faith and future of France
and Europe lied on the shoulders of Napoleon.
In the year of 1800, Napoleon assured his power by crossing the Alps and
defeating the Austrians at Marengo. He then got to work, his work was reforming France.
He negotiated a general European peace that established the Rhine River as the eastern
border of France. He also concluded an agreement with the pope, the agreement ended the
brawl with the Roman Catholic church that had arisen during the Revolution.This really
did help out not only France, but the people of France because it brought tranquillity to
them(Ludwing, Emil pg.100). Meanwhile in France, the administration was reorganized,
the court system was simplified, and all schools were put under centralized control. The
biggest reform was that he standardized the Code Napol on , also know as the
Napoleonic Code as a law. He also established six other codes. All these reforms was
what led Napoleon to such a successful ruler, because he was a ruler of the people,
working hard for the people
Napoleon was able to control and expand his empire so successfully
because of the way he ruled. He could work 18 to 20 hours at a stretch without so much
as a break in concentration. He was, as one French historian put it, a typical man of the
18th century, a rationalist, a philosopher who placed his trust in reason, in knowledge and
in methodical effort. (Maurois Andre: pg. 125). But Napoleon was no immaterial brain,
his personality was not pure intellect (Connelly Owen: Encarta 99). He also had a love of
action and a boundless ambition. He was once quoted saying, I live every day . He was
an artist, a poet of action, for him France, Europe, and mankind were instruments. He had
a charisma, he could move men to obedience, to loyalty and to heroic acts. He was also
quite arrogant, he manipulated people at will. He once said, A man like me, troubles
himself little about the lives of a million men . Living in a revolutionary age, Napoleon
observed firsthand the wrong use of power. He knew what had happened to Louis XVI.
He knew that the Girondins had been executed and that Robespierre had fallen victim to
the Reign of Terror. So he established to Code Napoleon . He assumed that he would
not make those same mistakes.
In all the new kingdoms created by Napoleon, the Code Napol on was established as
law. This law basically guaranteed the rights and liberties won in Revolution, including
equality before the law and freedom of religion. Feudalism and serfdom were abolished,
and freedom of religion was established, except in the country of Spain, where Napoleon s
brother was emperor. Each stated was granted a constitution, providing for universal male
suffrage and a parliament and containing a bill of rights. French-style administrative and
judicial systems were required. Schools were put under centralized administrative, and free
public school were envisioned. Higher education was opened to all who qualified,
regardless of class or religion. Every state had an academy or institute for the promotion
of the arts and sciences. Incomes were provided for eminent scholars, especially scientists.
Constitutional governments remained only a promise, but progress and increased
efficiency were widely realized. Not until after Napoleon s fall did the common people of
Europe, alienated from his governments by war taxes and military conscription, fully
appreciate the benefits he had given them. This way of ruling was what made Napoleon so
successful, he used his intelligence, and did it ever payoff.
Napoleon was able to control and expand his empire so successfully because of his
intelligence in knowing how to rule. Napoleon s observed other rulers mistakes and he did
not want to do the same thing they did. He didn t his empire was based on a totally
different rule, the Code Napoleon . Napoleon knowing how to rule really did help him
out, he made himself look as a people emperor when he actually wasn t. He lived and died
by the best words that describe him, man of destiny . His goal he said was to found a
European state,a federation of free peoples . Whatever his truth was he became the arch
hero of France and a saint to the world. Napoleon arguably is the best or one of the best
rulers that this world has ever seen.