Napoleon Essay, Research Paper
Revolutionary Leaders The effects of the French Revolution were far reaching in terms of both place andtime. The political revolution evolved and changed government like a geological palatialshift changes landscape dramatically and violently. Leaders of the revolution rose andfell radically, all influencing this new ideal. Not only one of the greatest military leadersin history, but one of the greatest political and social leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte bestpersonifies the ideals of the entire French Revolution in contrast to MaximilienRobespierre who provided a dramatic extreme in the overall purpose of change. Robespierre was completely polar towards the extreme revolutionaries. Their Reign of Terror attempted to stamp out all resistance, and any country who revoltedagainst their rulers were offered help in doing so. Robespierre, as a leader of theJacobins, was passionate and he demanded power throughout the Reign of Terror. Hedefended this by saying a revolutionary government has the right to summonextraordinary activity . He felt he literally had the right to make up rules as needed, asthere were no established rules during that time. This was to rationalize the atrocities hefelt necessary and justified. This was a repressive environment, unbending and too rigid for the FrenchPeople. Innocent people could be accused of being outside the sovereign andexecuted. Robespierre s position became precarious, and the people of the NationalConvention began to feel threatened by his so called emergency measures of terror . On July 27 1794, rightists joined the Plain – the right wing of the National Convention -in a rising of the Convention, and Robespierre was arrested, tried, and executed by theguillotine on July 28. His position, although totally against the royals, did not embodythe desires of the French people nor did he lay a political path to follow. Although Napoleon was defeated at his best game in the end, his ideas and thoseof the revolution remained. The French people desperately wanted revolutionary change,but with more order and stability than was offered through Robespierre. Napoleonpromised to the French people a worthy government: order, liberty, and equality; allthings the French held to be important after recently surviving such a harsh and drastic
revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte defined the term revolution with his political,economic, and social reforms. The French Revolution and Napoleon became the classical model for revolution. Napoleon brilliantly preserved equality of rights and integrated bourgeoisie and oldsocial regimes. Napoleon s greatest accomplishments include calming the civil war thatwas common to the city of Vendee, restoring domestic peace and tranquillity. Napoleonwas able to restore the economic prosperity of France, balancing the national debt,expanding trade, and even creating a national bank. Under Napoleon, the governmentwas completely reorganized to maximize its efficiency: this meant making the position ofadministrative office open to any man able enough to hold it, not just to someone of blue , or aristocratic blood. The Code Napoleon consolidated the French legal systemand turned it into a uniform system. This new code held the same basic principles of therevolution, as well. Napoleon also granted religious freedom to the catholic church inthe Corcordat of 1801, and he even allowed Jews their religious freedom, as well. Most importantly, Napoleon s accomplishments embodied the principles andideals of the French revolution. This is what makes him an outstanding figure in historyand a famed representative of the French Revolution and the enlightenment. He stood forthe people and their beliefs, while Robespierre simply struggled to create radical reformstoo fast and too disorganized. The French people just survived one of the most drasticmeasures placed on society: a revolution. And when a man with the leadership andcourage of Napoleon steps up and assumes power, the people are susceptible to hispromises of order to such a chaotic environment, even though Napoleon actually ruledthem as a despot. Such a change seemed hardly radical anymore, and Napoleon gainedthe support of his country in short order, hastily spreading out the boundaries of France,conquering and reforming each and every country as he went. His power grew rapidly,and his reach spread farther with every battle he won. But the true measure of this man ishow he met the French people s needs, not how many battle s he won. A revolutioncreated this enlightened despot, and this enlightened despot upheld the principles of thatrevolution to create an Empire that will be long-remembered.