Napoleon Bonaparte: The French Revolution

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There is a discernible line between revolutionary leaders and tyrannical dictators. Sometimes history may blur this line making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Although Napoleon may have done some beneficial things in his life that were “revolutionary”, I think the evidence overwhelmingly shows that he was a tyrannical dictator. Napoleon may have done some beneficial things for the French people like eliminating Jewish ghettos and ending seigneurial dues. Yet we should not forget his selfishness, destructive tendencies, and that he most certainly benefited personally from all of these good doings. “...takes a dim view even of Napoleon’s liberal views by pointing out that as the First Consul he shut down critical French Newspapers”.…show more content…
His humble beginnings and small homeland instilled in him an ambition to prevail over these shortcomings. This ambition, though not a fault in and of itself, was possibly his downfall and controlled most of his life decisions. For example, Bonaparte made valuable connections with important leaders of the French revolution by befriending them quickly leading to a promotion. “I no longer consider myself a mere general, but a man called upon to decide the fate of the people.” Napoleon declared this soon after one of his earliest victories phrasing it almost as if he’d been chosen upon by god like the royalty that preceded him. But revolutionary leaders don’t lead revolutions because they were selected by a divine being, they lead because their country is in dire need of change. We see this unrelenting ambition all throughout Napoleon’s life. Taking over European countries like collecting medals and basically crowning himself Emperor of France. “In 1804, Napoleon climbed the ultimate political rung by prevailing on Pope Pius VII to coronate him the Emperor of France”. Whatever he wanted he took without thinking twice. His shade of greed complemented his fervent ambition nicely. Napoleon’s biggest blunder is a direct result of this avarice, the loss of some 490,000 soldiers in an invasion of Russia. “...driven by the same obsession that had taken him to Egypt.” Now it had grown much more than simply ambition but an…show more content…
Now if the context of history is laid out upon Napoleon’s actions what is made apparent? Much like most of humanity, he was flawed and complicated. The framework for France was built by this man, without his contribution to the intricate threads of history who knows what would have happened to the France we know today? But a few good actions don’t dismiss the pain and abuse he caused in so many innocent lives. Taking over the world is not a valiant act, conquering what is not yours is not gallant. If Napoleon truly was a revolutionary leader there would be no argument. He was not on par with the likes of Genghis Khan or Hitler, but just because he wasn’t the worst leader in history doesn’t automatically make him the best. The line may be blurred but it is clear Napoleon Bonaparte was no revolutionary, but an oppressive tyrant who desired only power and
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