Napoleon Series Archive 2015

Napoleon and the Kings

Since contrasts are so often made between Napoleon and his government and the Kings of Europe and theirs, there are a few points about Napoleon's career that I would like to put into the argument:

1) Liberty and Equality were the work of the Revolution, not of Napoleon, they put him in power, he can't be given the credit for them.

2) When Napoleon became First Consul he was actually the head of government, every move he made thereafter strengthened his control and removed the checks on his power. He abolished the Tribunate, purged the judiciary and ruled through the Senate. When the legislative corps dared to criticise him in 1813 (and they were calling for more liberty as well as peace) he dismissed it.

3) As Emperor he was crowned in a religious ceremony, he adopted ceremonial costumes and brought back all the ritual of the old courts, favouring former nobles as courtiers.

4) He backed the concept of promotion by merit as far as it suited him, persistently promoting family members well beyond their competence.

5) After he became head of state he established no new Republics and turned the existing ones into kingdoms. The occupants of the countries were given no say in the matter.

6) In order to have an heir he married (out of all the women available) a Habsburg princess and not only named his son as King of Rome but had the child reared as a king; he was planning a new palace in Paris for him at the time of his downfall.

7) He showed his support for equality by establishing a new nobility: while they did not have the same privileges as the old nobility they were given the right to pass down property intact to their heirs who were also given courtesy titles - regardless of merit.

In short: Napoleon was turning himself into a classic European monarch as fast as he could. The only difference was that he was personally a better organiser and, having had the opportunity to establish a new system from scratch, ran it more efficiently.

Susan

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and "le soin de pouvoir ...."?
the silly--and unsupported--claims about Naps bein
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Sidney Smith
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Wow! Another Excellent Post.
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Spot On.
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Slightly different circumstances
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*NM* merci pour la manche *NM*
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Warre's perhaps?
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What goes around ...
Portuguese History
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You could go even further if you wished Susan
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