Did Napoleon Betray the Revolu

Topics: French Revolution, French people, American Revolutionary War Pages: 4 (1358 words) Published: October 8, 1999
In order to investigate the claim that ‘Napoleon betrayed the revolution', it has to be determined what is the French revolution? And what are the revolutionary ideals that Napoleon allegedly betrayed? If Napoleon betrayed the Revolution then he betrayed the ideals of Liberty, equality and fraternity. However if Napoleon did not betray the revolution, he consolidated the revolutionary ideals. The only way of determining whether Napoleon consolidated or betrayed the revolution is to explore his actions such as his military success, Dictatorship and social reforms. The difficulty of this analysis is that Napoleons motives for his actions determine whether he consolidated or betrayed the Revolution.

If Napoleon betrayed the revolution, then he betrayed the ideals of Liberty, equality and fraternity. For it is ideals rather than realities that Napoleon allegedly betrayed. The reality of the French revolution is 8 periods of constant change and successions of policies and leaders, with each new leader and party brining amendments to the revolution. Napoleon's "coupd'e`tat of 18 brumaire was an insurance against both Jacobin revolution and Royalist restoration." The French people expected Napoleon to bring back peace, order and to consolidate the political and social conquests of the Revolution. Napoleon considered these conquests to be "the sacred rights of property, equality and liberty." If Napoleon gained power with the promise of upholding the principals of the French Revolution how did he betray the revolution? Many historians argue that Napoleon was an effective but ambitious leader. This ambition led to a dictatorship, which they consider Napoleons ultimate betrayal. However other Historians such as Tombs and Furet see Napoleon's regime as "the most convincing though temporary solution to the political and ideological problems bequeathed by the Revolution." Napoleons dictatorship can also be considered a natural progression from the authoritarian...

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