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Was Napoleon a Hero or a Tyrant?

History & Geography project


on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Was Napoleon a Hero or a Tyrant?

Matthew, Hannah, Axelle Napoleon: Hero or Tyrant? Peninsular War After the French Revolution, the french government was completely disorganized. Once Napoleon was in power, he put in place several reforms to rebuild the country and its economy: After a coup d'état in November 1799, Napoleon became First Consul. But his thirst for power and glory made him eager for absolute power. He crowned himself emperor in a grand ceremony at Notre-Dame in Paris, in 1804.

Jacques-Louis David painted a magnificent work of art representing the ceremony, "The Coronation of Napoleon", in which we see Napoleon at the height of his glory. Napoleon's Downfall: Reasons Why France V.S. Britain "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" (Lord Acton) If Napoleon's thirst for power brought him glory, it also lead to his downfall. When Napoleon became too ambitious, many European countries united to fight him.

Since Napoleon was occupying most of Europe (expansionism), he was crushing many rulers and cultures. People started to resist in the name of their country: that feeling is called nationalism, which is a patriotic feeling, principle or effort. Napoleon's mother, Letizia, was represented on the painting even though she did not attend the ceremony (because Napoleon was in a quarrel with his brother Lucien). Napoleon's robe was covered with his emblems: the ermine, symbol of power, the bee, symbol of longevity and N (like Napoleon). The painter Jaques-Louis David represented himself in the painting, with a drawing pad and pencil in his hands. He took two years to finish the painting. These are two of the Emperor's brothers, Louis and Joseph Bonaparte. Joséphine, the emperor's wife, was crowned empress by Napoleon himself. Napoleon, with a crown of golden laurel leaves, received the Pope's blessing but crowned himself. It took a long time for the pope Pie VII to accept to come to Paris and let the emperor crown himself. Napoleon had forced his sisters to hold the empress' cape. During the ceremony, they were furious, but the painter decided to represent them as nice and calm. The Coronation of Napoleon
Jaques-Louis David
1805-1807 Rebuilding France after the Revolution The bank of France was created by Napoleon on January 18, 1800. He created it in order to stabilize the economy after the Revolution. It still exists today.
The Napoleonic Code a set of laws concerning property, the family, and individual rights. It reinforced the power of men over women. This code was effective to all territories under Napoleon's control.
The Concordat 1801 was an agreement between Napoleon and the Pope Pie VII, signed on July 15, 1801 which re-established the catholic Church in France after the religious turmoil caused by the French Revolution. Napoleon, Emperor of France Napoleon Crossing the Alps
Jaques-Louis David
1800-1801 France was becoming more and more threatening to Britain, because Napoleon was seizing control of all Europe. Soon, the British knew, they would have to fight not only Napoleon, but his allies as well.
In order to further weaken the British, Napoleon imposed the Continental System in 1806. It was a type of economic boycott, intended to prohibit trade between Britain and the rest of Europe. Since a country cannot produce all that it needs, trade is necessary in order for a country to carry on.
An example of a modern-day economic boycott is the Fruit of the Loom boycott. Fruit of the Loom suffered a huge student boycott starting in 2009. The company was forced to re-open a factory in Honduras they had shut down. The boycott finally cost the company about $50 million. In 1808, since Portugal was not accepting the Continental System, Napoleon sent an invasion force through Spain to Portugal. Spanish cities started to riot in protest, so Napoleon removed the Spanish king and put his brother Joseph on the throne. This enraged the Spanish, and they created guerrillas, bands of Spanish peasants, who attacked the French army in small groups. The French won a few battles, but the war soon turned to their disadvantage. Following a series of defeats, the war ended. After six years, the Peninsular War was over. It was significant because it marked the beginning of Napoleon's series of big mistakes, and eventually, his downfall Failure in Russia In 1812, Napoleon decided to invade Russia, because the czar refused to stop selling grain to the English. In June, Napoleon's army came into Russia. As it advanced, Alexander pulled back, to lure Napoleon away from his bases, so that his army would starve and be greatly weakened when they would fight. He also used the scorched-earth policy.
On September 7, the two armies fought in the Battle of Borodino. Napoleon managed to reach Moscow a week later, but he found it in flames. A few months later, he decided to turn back. The Great army finally got out of Russia in the middle of December. Only 10 000 soldiers were left out of approximately 422 000. The Hundred Days After abdicating in Fontainebleau in 1814 after his defeat in Russia, Napoleon was sent to Elba, a small island near the Italian coast, on May 14. But in February 1815, he found a way to escape the island and convinced the French to take him back as leader. He then rapidly formed a new army. But because he had recruited his army in such a hurry, his soldiers were under trained. After a few battles, Napoleon surrendered at the battle of Waterloo in June 1815. He was captured by the English and exiled to St Hélène, in the Atlantic Ocean. He died there on May 5th, 1821 after spending 5 and a half years in exile. Napoleon completely changed France's Public Education system. He founded Lycées in 1801. He created them to educate future officers, administrators, and engineers under state control. Today, they still exist, but they have grown bigger, modernized and accept girls as well as boys. Napoleon's Down Side Though Napoleon modernized France, he was very conservative in issues like women's rights. Instead of defending women’s rights, the Napoleonic code affirmed men's power over women. Here is an excerpt from the Code Chapters:

"Of the respective Rights and Duties of Married Persons.

The husband owes protection to his wife, the wife obedience to her husband.
The wife is obliged to live with her husband, and to follow him to every place where he may judge it convenient to reside: the husband is obliged to receive her, and to furnish her with everything necessary for the wants of life, according to his means and station.
The wife cannot plead in her own name, without the authority of her husband, even though she should be a public trader, or non-communicant, or separate in property."

Napoleon said he wanted “a government ruled for the people, not by the people”. Much like a dictator, Napoleon censored the press and limited freedom of speech, thus restricting individual rights and opinions. Military Matters Napoleon was a genius military strategist, and his military career can only be compared with that of great heroes like Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar. His goal was to establish France as master of Europe, to the great concern of the British. He sees the European conquest as his destiny. During his career, he made and broke many alliances. Here are a few:
The Russian alliance: he broke it when he invaded Russia to stop their trade with Britain.
The Quadruple alliance was an alliance first formed in 1813 by Prussia, Russia, Austria and Britain to defeat Napoleon.
The Peace of Amiens was a contract between Britain and France. It ended in the spring of 1803, due to a lack of trust between Napoleon and the British. Napoleon had good and bad sides, but was closer to a tyrant than to a hero. He wasn’t a “bloodthirsty monster” type of tyrant, but a dictator. Like a dictator, he restricted individual rights and freedom of speech. He had sole control of his empire. He considered himself over the people, and he once said, like Louis XIV, “I am the state— I alone am here the representative of the people.”. But he added: “France has more need of me than I of France.”. Conclusion: Hero or Tyrant? The Third of May
Francisco Goya Bonaparte au Pont d'Arcole
Baron Antoine-Jean Gros
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