Napoleon's gain to power; how he sustained it and the effects.

Essay by AgordonHigh School, 11th gradeA+, August 2003

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One of America's greatest patriots, George Washington, had once stated, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action." Following the years of the French Revolution and the respective Reign of Terror, France was left in disarray, or moreover the irresponsible action the first president had spoken against was ever-present. But, as the mythical phoenix rose up from its own burnt ashes, likewise did the nation of France. Following the hypothesis of Arnold Toynbee in his expository entitled Study of History, the moral conflicts that plagued the nation would likewise yield a final solution; being a direct resolution to the initial conflict. Thus, the child of the enlightenment and "keen-minded military dictator of exceptional ability" (McKay, 712), Napoleon Bonaparte, took the shape of this great rectifier. Analogous to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's (D.,

N.Y.) coined alliteration "defining deviancy down," in which moral absolutes are succumbed to situational morality, the French populous had lost its moral code and it took a, in some ways, totalitarian ruler to return the nation to its once stable state.

In the landmark 1781 legislation, the enlightened Habsburg Emperor, Joseph II abolished serfdom and feudal dues. In addition, he allowed the acquisition of lands by peasantry. In effort to end civil strife and maintain order, the great emperor created edicts rooted in these enlightened ideals. Napoleon's orders appealed to the peasantry who had now gained both land and status from these changes. A case-in-point is Napoleon's bargain with the middle class in the famous Civil Code of 1804. Not only was this set of laws based on enlightened ideals but also maintained the revolutionary principles of equality of male citizens before the law and...