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Napoleon: The Beloved Tyrant

“Power is my mistress”, Napoleon has said once (Connelly, 2006). Truly was he a powerful man who not only swept France but also much of Europe. And like men with mistresses, Napoleon’s reign ended because of his unquenchable thirst for power. Although many writers and scribes of his day state that he was of lowly beginnings, he was actually a part of the aristocracy in France, his father being a respected soldier in the army (Hooker, 1999). Owing to the inspiration from his father, young Napoleon joined the military at an early age. He was very optimistic about his career and very ambitious.

Nevertheless, his willpower and great military prowess have helped him achieve what he searched for in life. Thus, he rose to position first in the military and on to being the emperor of France and then further on to being the conqueror of Europe. Many would have thought of him as a hero in France and still, there are others who have despised him. Truly, he was an aggressive man who have not only fought but initiated bloody battles in history such as the Battle of Toulon where he had been promoted to general for his brave demonstration (Herold, 2002).

He was always fond of battles and this is what made him hated by people. And yet, what made him revered by much of Europe is his great legacy. What then was his legacy? One will surely agree that without Napoleon, there would be no image of a diplomatic Europe where people rule countries instead of royal families endlessly fighting for the crown. Definitely, Napoleon was the embodiment of the French Revolution. Probably, the greatest legacy Napoleon has ever given not only to Europe but also to humanity is the Napoleonic Code.

The Civil Code of 1804, also known as the Code of Napoleon has changed the face of Europe. It was based on just two ideas, that all men are equal under the law and that all people have a right to property (Hooker, 1999). And yet, it was the dawn of a diplomatic Europe. Even today, the Napoleonic Code is still in effect in many European countries. One would wholly agree that without Napoleon’s rise to power, the French Revolution would have been a revolt in vain.

Conversely, Napoleon’s thirst for battles and accumulation of land did not only bring violence and discord to Europe. He also brought territorial boundaries and recognition of other states’ territories. Why? This is because right after his career, the Congress of Vienna perceived the need to create a diplomatic rule which would guide international relations, that of territorial legitimacy (Connelly, 2006). Certainly, Napoleon was fearless in battles, almost enjoying the scenes of war. Absolutely, he was a conqueror who should be stopped.

But what Napoleon left to Europe was a legacy of very considerable importance. He was the tyrant of the monarchies and yet he was beloved by the common people. He was a brutal general to his enemies yet he was a hero to France. Truly, he is Napoleon the Great. References Connelly, O. (2006). Napoleon I. Microsoft Encarta 2007 [CD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation. Herold, J. C. (2002). The Age of Napoleon. New York, USA: American Heritage Inc. Hooker, R. (1999, June 6). Napoleon. Retrieved January 14, 2009, from http://wsu. edu/~dee/REV/NAPOLEAN. HTM.

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