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the overthrowing of Napoleon

In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte became first consul after overthrowing the Directory and establishing the Consultate.  He had many achievements for France under educational, financial, administrative, legal and religious reforms.  However, these achievements are often exaggerated.  Napoleon was indeed the ‘heir’ of the revolution as he completed much of the work that the revolution had started, such as the creation of a Civil Code and the reforming of the education system.  Despite this, he also destroyed much of the revolution’s work.  He ignored and betrayed some of the revolution’s beliefs and much of his achievements were incomplete.  Napoleon’s achievements in Europe were mainly for his own purposes – he wanted to enhance his prestige and make France a great nation.  He appears to have had little interest in helping the European people.

Napoleon, although his main achievements centered on areas such as administration, had other remarkable, although minor, achievements in France.  He improved the appearance of French cities such as Paris by building bridges and canals and by planting trees at the sides of roads to protect them from the sun. This aided the beauty of Paris as it is today.  Napoleon also reformed the tax system, which meant that no one was tax exempt.

 One particular achievement, which may rank on the same level of importance as the Napoleonic code, but appears to be often overlooked in textbooks, is Napoleon’s founding of a national education system from primary to university.   The focus of his attention was secondary schools, of which he opened more.   Higher education also became more available in major cities.  Napoleon spent more money on education than anything else during his time in power.   However, Napoleon was somewhat inefficient in this achievement.   The educational system discriminated against females.   Napoleon saw education as being “not suitable” for girls.  Female students were to learn the very basics of education – how to read and write, and also how to do traditional female work such as nursing and embroidering.  Pupils had little choice over their career – most were forced into a military career.

What is considered to be Napoleon’s most significant achievement for France was his establishment of the ‘Napoleonic Code’. This was the codifying of all France’s civil, commercial and criminal law. This marked a trend to centralize and organize power on a national level. This code was successful as it formed the basis of many European legal systems. This ‘code’ was requested in many grievances, which were sent to Louis XVI and was demanded by the revolutionaries’. Thus Napoleon appeared to be truly the “heir of the revolution” as he had so claimed. The code took into account issues that the revolution had stood for, such as equality before the law and freedom of religion.

This Civil code also gave equal inheritance to all offspring should a parent die.  Marriage became a civil rather than a religious act.  Napoleon stopped a proposal for girls to marry at thirteen and for boys to marry at fifteen.  Instead, he increased the marital age to eighteen for girls and twenty for boys.  The civil code also permitted divorce.  On the other hand, according to John Merriman, this was also an incomplete achievement and did not satisfy everyone. Napoleon went against one of the revolution beliefs – equality for women. A woman’s wage went to her husband and she could also not buy any property without her husband’s or male relatives’ permission .   Women had to be committed to obedience and fidelity to their husbands. Napoleon further betrayed the opinions of most French people by declaring women were “ nothing more than machines for producing children”. He also betrayed the revolution by abolishing titles that the revolutionaries had abolished such as Duke or Prince. Although these titles were not heredity as before, it contrasted the aim of ‘equality’ in that people were still different in terms of social class.

Prior to the French Revolution, France was bankrupt.   Napoleon undertook vast financial reforms upon coming to power.  The French currency was stabilized and was the most stable in Europe until after World War 1.  In 1802, Napoleon was successful in achieving the balancing of the budget in France.  Taxes came from reasonable sources – ... more

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Caesar And Naopoleon

Napoleon
Bonaparte's success as a military leader and conqueror can also be seen in
another
great leader, Julius Caesar.  Both Napoleon and Caesar achieved great glory
by
bringing their countries out of turmoil.  It was Caesar, that Napoleon
modeled himself
after, he wanted to be as great, if not greater than Caesar.
Looking to the past, Napoleon
knew what steps to take in order to achieve
success
Napoleon devoured books on the art of war.  Volume after volume of
military
theory was read, analyzed and criticized.  He studied the campaigns
of history's most
famous commanders;  Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Frederick
the Great and his favorite
and most influential, Julius Caesar (Marrin 17).
Julius
Caesar was the strong leader for the Romans who changed the course of
history
of the Greco - Roman world decisively and irreversibly.   Caesar was able to
create
the Roman Empire because of his strength and his strong war strategies
(Duggan 117).  
Julius Caesar was to become one of the greatest generals,
conquering the whole of Gaul.
In 58 BC, Caesar became governor and military
commander of Gaul, which included
modern France, Belgium, and portions of
Switzerland, Holland, and Germany west of the
Rhine. For the next eight years,
Caesar led military campaigns involving both the Roman
legions and tribes
in Gaul who were often competing among themselves.  Julius Caesar
was a Roman
general and statesman whose dictatorship was pivotal in Romes transition
from
republic to empire (Duggan 84).
Caesar's principles were to keep his forces
united; to be vulnerable at no point, to
strike speedily at critical points;
to rely on moral factors, such as his reputation and the
fear he inspired,
as well as political means in order to insure the loyalty of his allies and
the
submissiveness of the conquered nations.  He made use of every possible
opportunity to
increase his chances of victory on the battlefield and, in
order to accomplish this, he
needed unity of all his troops (Duggan 117).

From the time that he had first faced battle in Gaul and discovered his
own military
genius, Caesar was evidently fascinated and obsessed by military
and imperial problems.
He gave them an absolute priority over the more delicate
by no less fundamental task of
revising the Roman constitution.  The need
in the latter sphere was a solution which would
introduce such elements of
authoritarianism, which were necessary to check corruption
and administrative
weakness (Grant, Caesar 61).
The story of all his battles and wars has been
preserved in Caesar's written
account, Commentaries on the Gallic Wars, originally
published in 50 B.C.  For this
period, Caesar is the only existent source
providing first-hand descriptions of Britain.
While no doubt self-serving
in a political sense when written, Caesar's account is
nevertheless regarded
as basically accurate and historically reliable (Frere 68).  
Caesar was
appointed dictator for a year starting in 49 B.C., for two years in 48
B.C.,
for ten years in 46 B.C. and finally dictator for life in 44 B.C. Taking over
as
Dictator for life, enabled Caesar to gain unrestricted  power.  He was
able to run a strong
military and even though he was considered only a dictator
he wrote laws that actually
made him have the same powers as a king.  The
conspirators saw the problem that had
arised and so they planned the murder
of Caesar on the Ides of March.  Caesar was killed
and there was another triumvirate
(government ruled by three) formed.  Caesar was a
strong military leader that
had showed strength and courage to take over the town and he
was able to form
a civilization that was strong militarily and politically (Grant, Caesar
187).
Caesar was one of the great generals of history; his name became synonymous
with
leadership, hence the titles Kaiser, and Tsar.
Having been promoted
over the heads of older officers, Napoleon's unbroken run
of victories over
the armies of both Austria and Piedmont established his credibility as a
commander,
while his concern for his previously ill-equipped soldiers won their loyalty.
During
the storming of a bridge at Lodi, he fought alongside his troops, and earned
from
them the nickname of "the little corporal" (Castelot 68).
Under the
new government Napoleon was made commander of the French army in
Italy. During
this campaign the French realized how smart Napoleon was. He developed a
tactic
that worked very efficiently. He would cut the enemy's army in to two parts,
then
throw all his force on one side before the other side could rejoin them
(Weidhorn 86).
Napoleon read Caesar's Commentaries on the Gallic Wars and
took note of the
propaganda he used. Napoleon would also use favorable descriptions
of battle to sell
himself to the Directory and to the people.  Letters were
written that showed Napoleon as
the victor even when he lost battles in Egypt.
The factualness of these letters were ... more

the overthrowing of

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