Napoleon and the French Revolution

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The French Revolution began as a movement against the oppression of monarchal government and separatist powers within French citizens; an idea, manifested in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, where men are born with natural freedoms. The Declaration ratified that “men are born and remain free and equal in rights,” and it was the responsibility of the French government to uphold those rights. After ten years of revolution, the French government finally settled into an uncomfortable disarray, where the once strong and clear fervor of revolt had turned into an aimless attempt at orderly government. While the idea of freedom was still noted within the French, the people were so starved for leadership that they were willing to accept anything or anyone that presented itself; and in 1799, general Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of Frances government. A new form of republic was proclaimed in which Napoleon directly controlled almost all of the government. Napoleon proceeded to rule France for the next sixteen years, during which he rose to the self-proclaimed title of consul for life, then to Emperor Napoleon I by returning France to a monarchy. The revolutionary era that had begun in an attempt to limit tyrannical authority had ended with a government much more monocratic than the old monarchy. In this sense, Napoleon and his empire were direct betrayers of the French Revolution objective. While the creation of Napoleon’s empire contrasted the revolutionary intent, there were aspects of the French Revolution retained by Napoleon, including a defined code of French laws nationalism within the French people. At the beginning of the revolution, a surge of nationalism spread throughout the citizens as France joined together to take over their government. This sense of nationalism was lost in the later years of revolution, until Napoleon arrived and the French, once again, united under the strength of a motivated, capable, and determined leader. One...
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