Ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution were both rooted from the desire to abolish absolute authority, ensure the natural rights of men, and develop a stable government. Napoleon Bonaparte, a prominent military general and French Emperor, strived for these political ideologies, but was corrupt in his way of approaching them. He was strictly egotistical and selfish; these characteristics served only as a catalyst to his abolition. Mohandas Gandhi, a pacifistic revolutionary that led India’s emancipation, stated that “power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent then the one derived from fear of punishment”. Napoleon, however, seized control over France by ruling oppressively and ruthlessly; citizens followed him only in fear of his boundless power. Although Napoleon did help establish political and social equality in France, his uncontrollable desire for personal supremacy suppressed the ideals of the revolution and violated the basic principles of the enlightenment.
Napoleon’s personal greed for power drove him to infringe the basic principles of the revolution on the rights to hereditary and absolute rule. Robespierre, an enlightened leader of the Jacobins, stated that the purpose of the French Revolution was to abolish absolute monarchy and institute a “democratic or republican government” that could help increase political equality within a nation (Robespierre). However, Napoleon rejected any republican form of government; he was solely concerned with maintaining a “hereditary power, which… may endure for generations, even for centuries” (Selected). Ironically though, in hopes to gain popularity among members of the 3rd estate, he abolished the power of the nobility and appointed governors that were loyal to the central government. Not only did he crown himself emperor of France, but also, “he established an imperial court and the members of his family were made royalty, while other titles and honors were given to his...
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