9 December 2009
Be aware: two similar questions asked on the AP
“Napoleon I is sometimes called the greatest enlightened despot. Evaluate this assessment in terms of Napoleon I’s policies and accomplishments. Be sure to include a definition of enlightened despotism in your answer.”(1981 - #4)
“Napoleon was a child of the Enlightenment.” Assess the validity of the statement. Use examples referring to specific aspects of the enlightenment and to Napoleon’s policies and attitudes (1992#5)
Napoleon I (Napoleon Bonaparte), sometimes considered the greatest enlightened despot, was the first modern political figure to use the rhetoric of revolution and nationalism, to back it with military force, and to combine those elements into a mighty weapon of imperial expansion in the service of his own power. As an enlightened despot, or ruler with absolute, unlimited power, but following ideas of the enlightenment, such as rationality, religious toleration, and freedoms, Napoleon made several changes to the government of France. Through the changes he made and reforms based on the enlightenment, he ruled, absolutely, as an enlightened despot, becoming the first, and greatest in history. Coming into power on the wings of the Revolution, he established himself as the First Consul. His policies included the Constitution of the Year VIII, making peace domestically and in foreign affairs, agreeing to a concordat with the Roman Catholic Church, and establishing a dynasty, and accomplished abolishment of the Old Regime, nationalism and loyalty of the nation to him, and unification of the lands he gained and controlled under the Napoleonic code.
Constitution of the Year VIII
1. Suggested democratic principles, appealed to republican theory and a Council of State, and established the rule of one man, the First Consul, Bonaparte.
2. Under the Consulate, the revolution ended in France. By then, the...
Bibliography: Kagan, Donald. The Western Heritage. 8th ed. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 2004. 668-76.
Coffin, Judith G. Western Civilizations. Fourteenth Edition. Volume 2. New
York,NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2002. 710-720. Print.
"Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821." Napoleon I Bonaparte, Emperor of the French
King of Italy. 2007. Solar Navigator, Web. 15 Dec 2009.
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