Napoleon Bonaparte has been one of the biggest known leaders and highly debated characters. Known for his leadership skills, but debated for the many different interpretations of his actions. Most historians have believed that Napoleon is either an Heir or a Betrayer. It was through his actions on how you can see how Napoleon is considered a betrayer to the French revolution. This is shown through different actions and the way he handled certain situations. The first sign that he was a betrayer against the French revolution was that he was established as an absolute dictator.
Also, Napoleons betrayal is portrayed with the unnecessary wars that bankrupted France due to the idea of expanding his universal brotherhood. Lastly, Napoleons actions were considered to be completely contradictory to the French revolution motto of Liberty Equality Fraternity. As you can see through these three arguments, that Napoleon proves that he really is a betrayer to the French revolution. The basis of the French revolution was that the people wanted to get rid of the absolute monarchy that had no interest in serving the 3rd estate. Napoleon on the other hand, did the opposite of what the French revolution wanted.
He maintained power, and became an absolute dictator that made all the decisions in his own interest. With all this power, Napoleon showed that he was a betrayer, because he did not do anything for the good of the people, rather he did it for his own interests. One example, is that instead of allowing people to vote, Napoleon established representative institutions that only gave the illusion of democracy because really they had no power. Also, in the beginning of his dictatorship, he established the “Coup D’Etat” which made himself the first consul which later on allowed him to crown himself Emperor.
This can be considered a betrayal because he was crowning himself “king” in a sense. Clearly, these arguments show how Napoleon, although a great leader, was too focused on the power that he obtained from becoming Emperor and it clouded his decisions causing him to become a betrayer to the French revolution. Another big part of why people consider Napoleon as a betrayer to the French revolution, was his relentless quest for personal glory and his desire to conquer more than he could. Napoleons commitment to make everybody into a brotherhood completely went against what the French Revolution stood for.
This is shown in his many unnecessary wars that took place. He started recruiting mass armies for the sole purpose of conquering other lands. Napoleons focus on universal conquest was shown by the year 1812, when almost every country besides Russia, Great Britain, and the Ottoman Empire, were under his control. Another aspect that shows how Napoleon betrayed the French revolution was when he implemented the Continental System, in which he resorted to economic warfare by forbidding his subjects and allies to trade with the English. Thus, further more affecting the already poor economy and worsening ties with England.
These actions portray Napoleon as somebody who is entirely set on European domination and showing how his military focus lead his straying away from the idealistic French revolution. The French revolutions motto was Liberty Equality and Fraternity. The French expected Napoleon to honour these sayings and bring back peace, order and to consolidate the political and social conquests of the Revolution. But, Napoleon used other means of establishing a revolution. Unlike the motto, Napoleon used certain things such as censorship, the power of terror, and even execution to establish control.
Napoleon to keep control of public opinion, he censored almost everything, and filtered what the people could hear. Also, Napoleon used the aspect of fear to keep people under his control, and he used force to subsidize anybody going against his will, thus showing how he did not follow the motto of the French Revolution. Also when he was in power, he rolled back many of the reforms of the Revolution, including the rights of women and basic protections for civil liberties. He anointed himself emperor and established his family members as hereditary monarchs of sovereign European nations.
In this sense, he completely eviscerated the liberal reforms of the revolution. This depicts how Napoleon truly went against the motto of the French Revolution and showed how he truly was not an Heir, rather a betrayer. Napoleon to this very day is still argued as whether he is an heir or a betrayer. But in many cases, he is seen to be a Betrayer to the French revolution. This is shown through different ways, such as his absolute dictatorship and how he uses his total control of power to make decisions for his own interest. This shows how Napoleon became what the French revolution sought out to get rid of with the start of the revolution.
Also, with his many attempts at European domination, you can see that Napoleon put too much focus onto wars and campaigns, instead of trying to create equality for everyone. Lastly, the revolution was about liberty and rights, as said in the French revolutions motto. But Napoleon went against that, and denied the peoples liberty, and their rights with things such as censorship and execution. Overall, you clearly see how Napoleon, in many situations, goes against what the French revolution stands for and shows how he really is a betrayer of the revolution.
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