Napoleon Bonaparte - Villain or Hero?

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Napoleon Bonaparte was inarguably an important figure in the history of France and Europe. However, there has been much controversy over the subject in the past. Would history perceive him as a hero or an enemy of France and the world? Many twentieth-century dictators would later model themselves on Napoleon, more than a hundred years after his death. Napoleon was not the first dictator, so why was he such an important figurehead for future dictators? Some historians may consider that Napoleon was a savior of France, and a brilliant military genius. Others would believe that he was a corrupted tyrant and had betrayed key ideals that had been established in the French Revolution. His rise to and consolidation of power made him a full dictator. His foreign policy sought to dominate the whole of Europe. Despite some temporary glory and beneficial reform for France, the final result of Napoleon's reactions clearly pointed to him as an evildoer who had failed in his attempt to achieve ultimate power.

Napoleon had overturned the equality established from the French Revolution. He once said: "I intend to keep the Revolution's useful changes, but not to abandon the good institutions it mistakenly destroyed." Was the abolishment of the monarchy not a ‘good institution'? One of the major goals of the French Revolution was to abolish the absolutism of the monarchy. Ironically, Napoleon brought it back just over ten years later. His son, instead of being elected, would automatically receive the throne as heir. This was a violation of the constitution of the French republic, which stated that the government must be chosen by the people. If he were active during the time of the later years of the Revolution, he would have gotten beheaded on the guillotine under the extreme-liberal rule of Jacobins. Napoleon also took away the natural freedoms of speech and the press that the Declaration of the Rights of Man had established, through the use of censorship of press....
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