Napoleon Bonaparte DBQ

Essay by pkmonkyJunior High, 9th gradeA+, April 2009

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The ideals of the French Revolution were "Equality, Liberty, and Fraternity," but the methods that were used to fulfill these goals were complicated. During the Reign of Terror, about 40,000 people were guillotined because of Maximilien Robespierre. He thought that “Liberty could not be secured unless criminals lose their heads”. Napoleon Bonaparte, a Revolutionary hero, seized control of the government in France in 1799, he was looking to bring peace to the French people by ending the Revolution. For this to be done, he had to be in complete control like a monarch or a dictator. However, the French people still wanted to have some of the privileges they had during the Revolution. Napoleon Bonaparte stabilized and united French society, yet supported the ideals of French Revolution.

Peace came to France with Napoleon's strong rule. After making himself a consul for life, he re-established the French monarchy, naming himself Emperor Napoleon I in 1804.

He centralized French government by appointing new officials, made tax collections more efficient, and created a National Bank. He believed that he was chosen by God to be in power and made others believe it through the Napoleon Catechism. It showed the French people that Napoleon was blessed to get the throne. "…he whom God had raised up under difficult circumstances to re-establish the public worship of the holy religion of our fathers and to be the protector of it" (Document 7).

Napoleon brought civil rights back to France through codes and treaties that talk about revolutionary ideals. The Napoleonic Code is an example. It recognized the equality of all citizens before the law, protected property rights, safeguarded employers by outlawing trade unions and strikes, and supported religion. Napoleon also signed the Concordat of 1801 with the Pope to reverse the dechristianization attempts made during the...