Napoleon Essay

Napoleon Essay

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A larger than life figure--the first modern military dictator in Europe. Some of the achievements of the French Revolution (FR) were lost some were preserved. Legacy mixed.

Born in Corsica, 1769. Son of a petty nobleman. Military school; then to France to make his career. Brilliant artillery officer, military planner. RUTHLESS AND AMBITIOUS.


  1. : Drove English from Toulon during the FR
  2. : Saves the French Republic from Royalists
  3. Fought against Austrians in Northern Italy; experienced glory, success, and believed he was "a superior being."


Challenged British control of the sea route to India. Lost Battle of the Nile at Nelson's hands in 1798. Slipped away from defeat, returned to France, realized that Britain, Austria and Russia were allied to defeat France, he quickly staged a Coup d'etat to become the man-in-charge. New French Constitution in 1799. Ist of three Consuls. 1802 pronounced himself 1st Consul for Life.

1804 crowned himself Emperor of France. Admired Generals like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Augustus Caesar, Charlemagne. All soldiers who built empires. Rationalists, philosophe, man of ideas, man of methodical action.

1801 Made peace with the Pope (Concordat) and ensured that Church property seized during the FR remained as State property, but agreed to pay the salaries of priests and Church Officers. Henceforth all clerical appointments would me made by the State but consecrated by the Pope. Priests asked to take an oath of allegiance to napoleaon; only half of them agreed to do so. Roman Catholicism recognized as the chief French religion (although it was now under state control) and continued to extend the FR's freedom of wor...


... middle of paper ...


...aised new army to fight European coalition: Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Spain, England. Defeated, Paris captured by English and Spaniards in 1814; Leader of Émigrés Bourbon Louis XVIII came to the throne. Napoleon escapes from prison on Elba Island, dramatic recovery, 100days. Raised new army and moved against allied forces in Belgium in 1815.

Final defeat at Waterloo in 1815 against a coalition of Europeans.

Significance; Civil code finally destroyed feudalism in Europe.

Bourgeoisie in ascendancy.

National state emerges on ruins of dynastic state. Ancien regime dead.

New concept of warfare and new concept of nationalism make a very deadly combination.

Liberal humanism was destroyed or subverted; Europe would travel the road to colonization of the world, scramble for Africa, German and Italian unification and the path to the World War I

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