Napoleon 4

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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Napoleon Bonaparte's military career was launched by the events of the French Revolution. Called upon by various revolutionary governments to perform, Bonaparte was able to advance his career with each successive coup. When he became a successful commander in the French war against the counter-revolutionary armies in Italy, he put himself into a position to take over the French government. He was invited to join a coup to overthrow the Directory in 1798 and became emperor six years later.

In domestic affairs, Napoleon acted like an enlightened despot. He brought order to France following a decade of internal struggle, he maintained the ban on feudal privilege, confiscated church property, opened opportunities for the middle class, and regularized taxes. Resistance to authority was swiftly and brutally suppressed. Policies implemented affected most social and political institutions and fell under the rubric of Code Napoleon. These codes were later exported to the places he conquered in battle.

Napoleon's domestic affairs are reflected in his statements below: Education: "...Of all political questions this is perhaps the most important. There will be no stability in the state until there is a body of teachers with fixed principles. Till children are taught whether they ought to be Republicans or Monarchists, Catholics or Unbelievers, and so on, there may indeed be a state, but it cannot become a nation. It will rest on vague uncertain foundations. It will be constantly exposed to changes and disorders...." Religion: "...Modern philosophers have sought to persuade France that the Catholic religion is the implacable enemy of every democratic system and every republican form of government: hence this cruel persecution exercised by the French Republic against the religion and its minister; hence all the horrors to which this unhappy people was condemned...Reason alone cannot enlighten us in this matter; without religion we always walk in darkness;...