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Napoleon Bonaparte Essay

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During Napoleon’s reign as Emperor of the French Empire he made laws, or a set of codes, that applied to all of France. He enacted laws that protected the people, promoted religious tolerance and took away the serfdom and feudalism systems, all of which gave people more freedom over their land to support themselves and their families. The well-being of the people was compromised since the workers lacked many rights, this being evident by the fact that trade unions and strikes were illegal, which encouraged employer abuse.

One aspect of Napoleons opening up government positions other than the nobility class was that it would have provided officials who could sympathize with the commoners, and therefore would have brought fresh ideas to the French political scene.

A downside to his rule was that he limited the freeness of speech and press by closely monitoring the press and prohibited any ideas that seemed to be against the French Emperor in his eyes; and also the French Police read peoples mail.

Napoleon showed a keen interest in learning early on in life. It was primarily based on the desire to learn about new military strategies. On the contrary, he suppressed new ideas and learning from coming into the empire by quieting anybody who spoke or thought differently than himself. For example, Mme. Stael was a writer who had established a salon where European people with influence could come together and share new ideas with one another.

Napoleon saw this as a threat to his power, so he shut down the salon and exiled Mme. Stael to Germany where she could no longer write and spread new ideas in his French domain. Napoleon promoted equality by allowing people from all social backgrounds to obtain government careers by based upon ability only as opposed to whose family you were born in, or what rank you had. Another way was by his changing the standards of aristocracy that was based upon ones merit in state service. He contradicted himself by claiming he had when equality for all citizens. Women were considered “less than equal” in the empire and lacked many of the rights that men had, and was considered as a minor in court cases.


1.If I were to grade Napoleon’s leader based on the principles of the Enlightenment I would give him a C. Because even though he did secure some freedom for the people, he still failed at equality for all people being taking so many freedoms away that the Revolution had made. 2.I would tell Napoleon to change his laws limiting women so much, otherwise he should stop saying “freedom for all!” 3.Should follow the philosopher Diderot and apply his ideas of social equality that would make a better society.

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