Ms. Eileen Chubik Kwis
World History 638
5 March 2012
Napoleon: History’s Greatest Enigma
Napoleon Bonaparte is considered one of history's greatest heroes and also one of its most contemplated leaders. Some people see him as a child of the enlightenment, preserving the accomplishments of the French Revolution, and exporting the ideas of liberty, equality, and nationalism to the rest of Western Europe making him a hero. Others argue that he was a ruthless tyrant who trampled on the very ideals for which the Revolution had been fought. Yet, Napoleon showed more accomplishments in his life to make France a better country. A hero is defined as, "a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities," (www.merriam-webster.com) and these noble qualities are just what Napoleon had. He had audacity and was not afraid of others even though his stature would appear quite contrary. Moreover, he was decisive which gave the citizens of France the sense of national identity and the pride they needed. Finally, he was caring for his people to gain their support and made France a better place for even the poor. Napoleon was a hero to France and its people and should be remembered as so. “Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms,” (Aristotle). Many would say Napoleon is not a hero, but rather a tyrant because his foreign policy killed many people due in part to wars and mistakes made by Napoleon due to his decisiveness. Some would say that he spread propaganda and was someone who beguiled the French public into believing he was the perfect ruler for them. Any person who says these things has been misled. There has never been great change in history without few casualties. His foreign policy helped him expand France and allow the people of his country to gain nationalism to become a united nation. Napoleon used propaganda only to gain the trust of his people so he...