Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Re: Year III and all that ...
In Response To: Re: Year III and all that ... ()

I can write it off as a dynasty that had been in power since 1589 - and at which point were the people given a voice?

Yet at same time, I recognize that for most of that time, the people probably loved their God, and his choice, their King.

The transition from absolute monarchs to representation, from the unwashed illiterate masses to a educated populace with equal opportunity, etc. etc., that transition was going to be brutal. As much as I use rhetoric like "evil monarchy", that is really just in response to the concept that Napoleon was evil, or the revolutionaries were evil, or that even the terror was inappropriate. Why not behead a bunch of nobles... they would do the same/worse to the people that would dare stand up to them... Again, it was going to be brutal unless the ruling class led the change... sad for the individual stories, but looking back, a fascinating time to study.

Expectations of the time should be tempered with the realities they were working with. For example, the censorship of caricature was probably smart since the uneducated could be so easily stirred to excess with humor. In the parts of the world where people are still burned as witches because the populace is stuck in the stone age, would anyone object to censoring/muzzling those that stir emotions with ancient thoughts? Or would we stand back and proudly say, "We accept diversity and their right to express themselves" as a mob expresses itself by stoning the defenseless. I note that when these incidents make the news, there is widespread horror and condemnation... I see no one expressing pride that some village in Africa had a drought issue, and applied some of their traditional methods at resolution. Hey, let's check back in a few months, if it worked, on to California! If we keep stoning people in California, the drought problem will get fixed one way or another! Jerry Brown, call my office....

Just gets back to Anthony's point, whatever Napoleon did that gained and kept power, it was as legitimate as any government in the world, and he fought the good fight that most of his country appreciated, and a fair number that didn't like Napoleon represented the previous regime, and they were what the country had rejected, so who cares... if Napoleon is to be viewed negatively for not installing a (democracy??? republic??? Monarch not named Napoleon???), then what of (insert ANY of his enemies here)? "Lord" Wellington?! Didn't he know he should, after Waterloo, go back to England and denounce class and British imperialism? Instead, he.... shhhh, Napoleon, secret police... oooohhh, bad.

Here is a question - had Napoleon copied the United States constitution and said, "I will be George Washington, and resign the instant the wars cease!" If he had done that, I argue that he would have been viewed as even a greater threat to the European powers... and that while at times they considered leaving Napoleon on the throne with different borders (if you believe them) that they would have stopped at nothing to defeat the United States of France and its intolerable proposition that men without (status/wealth) could vote! What next!? Women voting!?

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A Military Coup?