The Rise and Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte
The great French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte had initially capitalized on the changes of the French Revolution to improve the lives of French citizens. But over time, Napoleon's lust for power overcame his good economic, political and military accomplishments, and his transformation into a selfish dictator led to his fall.
Napoleon was born on 15th August 1769 at Ajaccio on the island of Corsica, he was the second son (having 7 siblings) of a lawyer who had minor connections to the aristocracy and was far from wealthy (Dugdale). His family was radical in outlook and as a young man he strongly identified with ...view middle of the document...
Napoleon Bonaparte emerged as an important figure for reestablishing order in France and initially gained the trust and support of his countrymen. Unfortunately, Napoleon's desire for power destroyed his original goal to support the ideals of the French Revolution. Napoleon's intention was to hurt other countries' economies, but he hurt France's economy more. In addition, Napoleon was so focused on taking over Europe, that he did not spend enough time working on his original goal and on his own country. Lastly, Napoleon's government and policies limited people's rights, instead of giving them liberty. Over time as Napoleon became a dictator; he lost sight of his original goal, which was to give the French people liberty, prosperity, and equality, but after he became Consul for Life, he broke his promises. Over all, Napoleon Bonaparte did more harm than good, although in some areas he did offer solutions and positive changes. At first, Napoleon fulfilled his intentions by advancing France's economy, and creating the Napoleonic code.
In the late 1700s, Napoleon greatly advanced France's economy, by setting up an efficient tax-collection system. This system helped secure a steady supply of tax money for the government (Perry). Napoleon also created the National Bank, which helped restructuring the country's finances through revising tax collections and loans, and by reducing inflation. To give equality, Napoleon set up a system of "advancement by merit," in which the smarter soldiers got the better jobs (Beck). Before the advancement by merit system, there was corruption in the government. Advancing France's economy helped the French people greatly and as a result Napoleon gained their trust (Beck).
Napoleon also worked to establish greater control over the church and the school system. To help stabilize the social structure in France, Napoleon set up Lycees in which students could go to public schools. Napoleon, with the Concordat of 1801, restored the position of the church and promised to keep Catholicism as the primary religion of France (1996). In return, the Concordat stated that France would tolerate other religions, and also gave France the right to select the church's bishops. The Concordat also rejected church control in national affairs. Napoleon's smart move gained the support of the church and the French people (Beck). His support of the people and church showed when he won the votes for being "consulate for life" by 3 million to 1,200 (1996).
One of the most brilliant works of Napoleon was his Napoleonic Code still used today in France, Louisiana, and other parts of the world. The Napoleonic Code promised equality to the French people, by permitting freedom of speech and religion, right to landed property, and permission to divorce (Perry). Helping restore order in France, the Code also eliminated many injustices, and allowed public trial by jury. As a result the Code, eliminated feudal and class privileges, which made France a...