Napoleon And The Enlightenment Essay

Napoleon Bonaparte was a man with all the glory, never has history seen how only one man, who, brought up his country, France, from its most tormented status, to the very pinnacle of its height in just a few years time. He was a military hero who won many land-based battles, which allowed him to dominate most of the European continent. He was a man with ambition, great self-control and calculation, a great strategist, a genius; whatever it was, he was simply the best. Some of history's greatest rulers such as Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, and Joseph II have been considered to be enlightened despot. Napoleon Bonaparte was also one of them. The word "enlightened" means to be influenced by the values and ideas of the Enlightenment. Also, the word "despot" is defined as to exercise dictatorial authority. Napoleon can be considered to be a enlightened despot through his economic policies, religious and educational policies, and the Napoleonic Code.

Napoleon had many accomplishments through his economic policies, such as establishing the Bank of France and reorganizing and centralizing tax collection. He also established the Continental System, which attempted to block England from continental trade. Furthermore, Napoleon put into effect the Berlin Decree in 1816, which prohibited trade with England. In 1807, the Milan Decree was passed which stated that any ship which traded or even been stopped by the British Navy was to be confiscated. French manufacturing was wholly unable to makeup for the loss of British goods. Soon afterwards, the French manufacturers and merchants began to resent the restrictions. Napoleon regarded his allies and conquered territories as a source for raw materials, conscripts, and a market for French goods. Eventually, Napoleon's economic policies contributed to his fall.

Religious and educational policies were also part...


Assess the validity of this statement by using specific policies and attitudes of Napoleon.

I think saying “Napoleon was a child of the Enlightenment” is not correct thing. It is true that he strengthened the France world power, but he was an absolute dictator that did tyranny and abolished the right that was newly gained. He was a very innovative ruler. But although he won from the every war until he lost from the war with Russia, and enjoyed the victory, this caused the huge side effects and great social confusion and disorder across the Europe. As the France three national spirits are “Freedom”, “Equality”, and “Philanthropy”, Napoleon spread these spirits to the conquered area. But the problem is as France intended the equality and the royal authority of king was weaker than other, this naturally threatened the power and royal authority to monarchies. This caused Europe conflict each other after the Napoleon domination, Divided by two groups: Maintaining the French spirit that Napoleon spread, and going back to the age before Napoleon domination. Second, after the French Revolution that was held by publics, the gender discrimination was disappeared. This means, the equal rights were given to the women for the first time of the French history. But as he accessed the power, he abolished this big revolution and change for increasing the stability or France.

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