The French Revolution was a period where thousands of French people fought for the abolishment of monarchy, religion and the establishment of equality and freedom. There were thousands of lives lost for these purposes and the country was separated into parts where revolutionaries were on one side and monarchs on the other. Napoleon Bonaparte arrived to France in the years of the revolution. He wasn’t a well-known man at first, but after introducing himself to the powerful class of nobility, he started to gain popularity through out he country.
Napoleon gave peaches in order to win over supporters and control in the government. He rapidly gained power and was elected to be the next emperor of the country. He won the election by to 2,569 (Carroll, Napoleon Bonaparte). French people were happy to give away their unknown freedom for order and victories amongst enemy. People were supporting Napoleon, and intended to follow his rule. The leaders of the revolution were happy with his rule, knowing that there would be no possibility for the Bourbon dynasty to get power in Napoleon’s rule.
However, no one knew what giving such amount of power to one man could cause. During Napoleon’s reign, goals of the French Revolution were both lost and achieved. To begin with, Napoleon’s rule was absolute monarchy. One of the main goals Of the French Revolution was to destroy the monarchy, which the Bourbon dynasty continued over years, and establish a true democracy. French people were sock and tired of the rule of dictatorship and wanted rights for everyone. Napoleon, on other hand, didn’t want to share his power with the country.
Indeed he was a great leader, but the emperor whom revolutionaries wanted didn’t exactly match with Napoleon’s actions. His establishment of dynasty went against all of the evolutionarily and their liberal thoughts. It was the opposite of the French Revolution’s purpose and their plan for a democratic country. (Egan, The Western Heritage). The society was trying to remove the Bourbon dynasty from power, and just when they did, Napoleon took over power and established a new one. Therefore, by doing this, he destroyed all the efforts of the revolutionaries in abolishing the dynasties.
Previously before establishing the Bonaparte dynasty, he was approved to be the consul for life, officially given all the power. In 1804 he established the Civil Code, also known as Napoleonic Code, which he had Ritter. The code was built with the idea of monarchy. Napoleon designed every law and no one could say anything against it. This code was in use in every town or city Napoleon ruled and everyone who were under the control of Napoleon had to obey it. As a monarch, Napoleon also established the rule of one man, the First Consulate, Bonaparte. (Coffin, 710-720).
Napoleon then ended the revolution by establishing these new rules. The third estate was satisfied with the results which they achieved. Even though they couldn’t stop Napoleon from being a dictator, they destroyed the dual privileges of the higher class, and accepted Napoleon’s offer of security. The idea of monarchy was against the purpose of the French Revolution, but the revolutionaries were satisfied with the ending. Secondly, Napoleon thought that every country needed a religion. He shared the enlightened idea of Voltaire that people had to believe in religion to be a better person and a citizen.
He knew that French revolutionaries abolished clergy because they were corrupt, and was taking people’s money by lying to them. During revolution, all the lands of the clergy were confiscated. In his journey to Egypt, Napoleon was said to become a Muslim, and wanted his own empire to live peacefully with the Church. (Napoleon l, Britannica). Napoleon thought that religion was necessary for a state. He even told his army in the Egypt to respect and protect other religions. (Repaper, 120). He understood the fact that it was the best for his country if he made peace with the Church.
The revolutionaries were against his idea of re-establishing the Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, he tried to convince Poe Pious VI to talk with the French priests who had already agreed the terms of Civil Constitution of Clergy, which was a law, which lowered the Catholic Church’s privileges compared to government. The Concordat of 1 801 was signed, reconciling the Church and the revolutionaries who were against religion. This agreement of Concordat granted freedom of worship to all citizen, which more accepTABLE than the previous condition.
Even though Napoleon tried to create a better and a stronger empire, he went against one of the main goals of the French Revolution which was abolishing the Church due to it’s UN-revolutionary actions. Lastly, Napoleon treated his country equally in some ways and met the expectations of the French Revolution. The most important unequal law which Napoleon had passed was the inequality in gender difference. Napoleon saw men more superior than women. He thought that men deserved to have more rights than women, and that women should obey to his husband.
For example, women didn’t have the right to divorce from their husbands which men had. Except this, he had had several significant actions which helped maintain equality in the country. The bourgeoisie, or the middle class led the French Revolution. Their primary goal to set equality between classes, which wasn’t exactly complete even though they were controlling the classes. Napoleon’s new laws helped the middle class to each their goal of destroying the privileges of the upper class. With his new laws, feudal privileges were disappeared and peasants were freed from their nobles.
Napoleon also dismissed the nobles dictatorship in towns, or lowered it in some cases. (Kananga, 671 Napoleon re-organized the state in order for it to be as equal as it could be while he ruled as a monarch. Napoleon’s purpose was to conquer all Europe, so in order for that to happen, he wanted a unified country with satisfied citizens. He tried to give equality to all people, but in some cases he would just ignore the unnecessary inequalities for bigger purposes. He wanted the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, and he did a good job in giving the revolutionaries their wants.
Taking all these points into consideration, Napoleon was a great leader who matched the revolutionaries expectations in some ways and not. The thought of monarchy which Napoleon always desired was against the beliefs of the revolutionaries and simply destroyed their goal of creating a form of democracy in France. Furthermore, Napoleon also destroyed the revolutionaries’ goal of abolishing the Roman Catholic Church because of it’s corruptness and dishonesty against society. The French revolutionaries opposed religion in the 17th and 18th centuries, while Napoleon thought that religion was for a better order and organization in government.
He re-established the Church, but taking away most Of it’s privileges, and also gave freedom of worship who believed in different religions than Christianity. Napoleon did a great job in creating equality in society, what revolutionaries actually wanted. They wanted equality between classes. Napoleon took away most of the feudal rights of the nobles and made most people equal in society. Even though they didn’t have a lot of freedom of speech, they were seen as equals in society. To conclude, goals of the French Revolution were some lost some achieved during Napoleon’s reign.
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