Napoleon and the French Revolution, Free Essay in History

Published: 2022-02-23 04:40:48
Napoleon and the French Revolution, Free Essay in History
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: French Revolution
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1016 words
9 min read
143 views

The French Revolution was a remarkable event in European history and particularly, in the history of the French people. The key ideas of the revolution were equality, fraternity, and liberty. Napoleon Bonaparte was a key individual who played a role in the revolution as a commander in the French army and later ascended into power to become the emperor of France. However, Napoleon's reign is controversial in the sense that he is questioned whether he betrayed or continued the spirit of the revolution. Firstly, Napoleon continued the spirit of the revolution. For instance, the Napoleonic codes were vital for the sanctification of equality, which was a treasured revolutionary desire. Since the revolution had raised concern over religious practices, Napoleon promoted religious tolerance as a symbol to stabilize France. He recognized the Catholic faith as the religion followed by many French citizens and allowed both the Jews and Protestants to practice their religion as a guarantee of civil rights (Collins, 1999). In Napoleon's account of the internal situation of France, he writes "Religion has resumed its sway, but exhibits itself only in acts of humanity. Adhering to a wise policy of toleration, the ministers of different sects who worship the same God do themselves honor by their mutual respect, and their rivalry confines itself to emulation in virtue" (Document Four)The statement confirms that religious tolerance terminated anti-church revolution and enhanced peace and harmony in France. Napoleon further assured the French of their individual rights but stripped them of political liberty and the ability to maintain a republican government. Nevertheless, the move stabilized France due to the guarantee of civil liberty such as freedom.

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On the other hand, Napoleon consolidated the ideals of the revolution by liberating and introducing the revolutionary objectives to territories acquired by France through military conquest. Therefore, in the conquered territory, Napoleon granted constitutions, created effective governments that promoted education, abolished feudalism, and introduced law codes. Besides, the French emperor ensured that he protected his country from external threats. Countries such as Great Britain were threatened by the French Revolution and attempted to replace the government by imposing a Bourbon king they could control. For example, in 1805, Britain, Austrian and Russian Empires formed the "Third Coalition" aimed at controlling France (Collins, 1999). However, the military clash in Austerity with the French saw Napoleon emerge the victor due to his great military skills. As a result, France gained new territories after the battle at Austerity.

On the contrary, as much as Napoleon consolidated the revolution, he also betrayed it. Napoleon became obsessed with power and personal glory leading France on a path of a dictatorship regime. Napoleon used the state as an instrument of dictatorship. Napoleon was such as dictator that "He always derived amusement from causing anyone uneasiness and distress" (Document Three). He terrorized his secretaries because he never repeated his statements and as such, the secretaries had to use short handwriting because the Emperor never wrote anything for himself. Moreover, his ambition of conquest brought suffering and death to many young French soldiers. The extensive military campaigns exhausted government resources. For example, the French invasion of Russia turned disastrous and France suffered a major loss. In his farewell speech after the loss, Napoleon supports his actions by stating "I have sacrificed all of my interests to those of the country...I go, but you, my friends, will continue to serve France" (Document Two). He also encourages the Old Guard soldiers to continue with the spirit of the revolution.

How equitably did the United States comply with the provisions of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo?

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was a fundamental and significant document that ended the Mexican-American War in 1847. However, the treaty was one-sided in the sense that the US gained so much new territory ceded for $15 million (Carey, 2017). Not since the Louisiana Purchase had the US acquired such as vast territory including California, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming. After the ratification of the treaty in 1848, Mexico lost 55% of its territory. The United States did not equitably comply with the treaty provisions. Shortly after the ratification of the treaty, settlers moved to the new lands and ignored the provisions that guaranteed the rights of the Native Americans and Mexicans living the ceded territory. As such, they lost their lands and rights and in some states, they were denied citizenships until years later in the 1930s when they received full US citizenship (Carey, 2017). The former citizens of Mexico were almost considered foreigners in the US even after the Treaty of Guadalupe promised them property and civil rights. Similarly, federal, state and territorial bodies in the southwestern US produced a complex tapestry of opinions regarding the meaning of the treaty. For instance, Mexican and Spanish land titles were not sufficient to prove ownership of property according to the US government and judiciary. As such, according to legal bodies in the Southwest, the property and civil rights stated in the Treaty of Guadalupe proved fragile. In the aftermath, a generation of Mexican-Americans and Natives became a poverty-stricken minority. Up to date, there are hundreds if not thousands of court cases filed by generations of Mexican-Americans and Native-Americans involving the land taken from their forefathers. These property rights cases have not been resolved even after a century and a half years later (Carey, 2017).

In summation, the Treaty of Guadalupe was a significant document in the history of both the US and Mexico, but the outcome favored the Union of the United States. The provisions of the treaty were not equitably followed leading to the loss of civil and property rights of the Mexicans and Indians who were former Mexican citizens.


References

Carey, C. W. (2017). The Mexican-American War. New York, NY: Enslow Publishing.

Collins, I. (1999). Napoleon and the French revolution. M.J. Haynes.

Document Two: Napoleon Bonaparte, Farewell Speech to the Old Guard following the failed invasion of Russia and defeat, April 29, 1814.

Document Three: Madame de Remusat, Remembrances of Napoleon, 1802-1808.

Document Four: Napoleon Bonaparte, Account of the Internal Situation of France, 1804.

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