Napoleon Bonaparte The Ruthless Conqueror

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Napoleon Bonaparte: The Ruthless Conqueror

Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most successful and controversial military leaders of all time. Leading France from the years 1799 to 1815, he would establish the French empire, a superpower that was very similar to that of the Romans. In only sixteen years, Bonaparte came close to conquering all of Europe, but paid a steep price for his triumph. During his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte An exhibit for the Metropolitan Museum of Art should portray Napoleon Bonaparte as a ruthless conqueror, not an enlightened despot, as he enforced legalist-like policies, brought on the Napoleonic wars, and was driven solely by his desire for power. These three factors revealed some of Bonaparte’s most unforgiving …show more content…

Under the legalist-like Napoleonic Code, the law “defined the space women could occupy in the New Regime as marital, maternal, and domestic-- (meaning that);all public matters would be determined by men.” (Source 3) This means that, under Napoleon Bonaparte's rule, the role of women in society was very restricted, only allowing them to work within the home. This is significant, as Bonaparte was silencing the popular Enlightenment idea of freedom to all people. No enlightened despot would do this without an extreme cause, which Bonaparte did not possess. During his reign, Napoleon Bonaparte would also take the right to a fair trial away from the French people. After the first half of the French Revolution, the people of France were afraid of a repeat of the Reign of Terror. So, laws were made to protect those who had been convicted of crimes. At that time, for example, significant evidence was required to prove that a convict was guilty. Under Napoleon Bonaparte’s rule, these laws were repealed. Under Bonaparte's penal system, “a person was guilty until proven innocent.” (Source G) This means that innocent people could once again be tried and …show more content…

These wars, while trying to establish the French Empire, would significantly weaken France. During his reign, Bonaparte’s main goal was to conquer all of Europe. In order to do so, he recognized that he needed to defeat France’s main threat, Great Britain. In order to weaken them, Bonaparte created the Continental system. The Continental system was a set of blockades that was “designed to cut the British off from trade with the rest of Europe… (but,) by 1812, it was clear that the Continental system was not working.” (Source E) Underestimating the power of Great Britain’s superior navy, Bonaparte did not realize that the British would able to make their own blockades around France. Napoleon Bonaparte would blame Russia for his failure, and invade the vast country. This would be the biggest failure of his career. In an attempt to defeat his new enemy, Bonaparte would march 600,000 thousand troops into Russia. Even as the weather conditions worsened, Bonaparte decided to always push further into Russia, trying to “conquer Moscow before winter,” (Source E) which he knew would cost him more lives. Eventually losing about 500,000 of these men, he return to France with the remains of an army. This means that Bonaparte did not consider what the cost of these wars could be. This is significant, as this is a decision that no enlightened monarch would make. Instead of actually thinking about the

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