Napoleon Hero or Villian?

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Annika
Mr. Byrne
Block 1
November 8, 2011

Napoleon: Hero or Villain

Napoleon, the great French leader, is often seen as a hero, but if you look closer there is great evidence showing that he is a villain. He seemed to try to improve the country greatly, but really he was just trying to improve his reputation, a very selfish thing to do. For example he adopted a set of laws called the Napoleonic Code. These laws were put in place to give the country a uniform set of rules and eliminate many injustices, but really these limited individual freedoms, something that was greatly stressed before during the early stages of the revolution. It took away the freedom of speech, press, and restored slavery. I don’t believe that Napoleon had the people in mind when he made these laws; I think he wrote them to keep the people under control so he could rule them with less effort and (again) improve his reputation. If a leader rules without any uproar from the citizens then he must be the most brilliant, heroic ruler ever, right? This is exactly what I thought his intentions were. Though a very smart idea this was, it was morally wrong and unjust. In addition Napoleon tried to put other countries against each other. For example in 1803 after he failed the Saint Domingue expedition he sold the Louisiana territory to the United States. His reason was to “punish the British, the sale assures the forever power of the United States, and I have given England a rival that will, sooner or later, humble their pride.” I think he choose to do this so that when all the other powerful countries were fighting he could rise to the occasion and “take over the world.” Not a very heroic thing to do… Finally Napoleon manipulated other people to get what he wanted. In a way he brainwashed them. He created a huge empire that he could barely sustain so he had to threaten the leaders, from countries like Portugal, Prussia, and Sweden, with military actions. This was kind-of cowardly....
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