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Hero or Tyrant?

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FC: Napoleon Bonaparte: Hero or Tyrant? | Nidhi Kumar Period 6 Mrs. Lynde

1: May 18, 1804 Great Leader Napoleon, Thank you so much! Your new Banque de France allowed me to find a job to support my family in in the state of turmoil that the revolution has led to. With this, the economy of France is now recovering and rising as a world power. You deserve the position as the First Consul in the Directory for being a hero....by helping others live and grow while putting the country before yourself. Live long and Prosper. Sincerely, Bureaucrat from National Bank

2: Diary of Bureaucrat of National Bank | May 10, 1774 Dear Diary, With the death of a king a new one has come onto the throne. One by the name of Louis XVI. We supposedly think that this leader will bring forth an era of freedom and equality toward the third estate. The working class needs a leader that puts the country before himself and is not so conceived in pertaining glory toward himself but willing to compromise the taxation put upon the working class and control the freedoms of the First and Second Estates. I, a young chap, have to support my family while paying taxes given to us by the church, which have led

3: us to poverty, begging on the streets for food. I hope to obtain a government job like the nobles, one that cannot be taken away from me by all means of force. I hope this leader is one that we can trust to implant all out decisions in this regime. | The New King

4: July 14, 1789, We, the people of the working class, are tired of false hopes. We recently wanted the king to convoke the Estates General and give more rights to the Third Party, however like any blunt leader, he refused in order to promote peace in the area...a terrible tacit to use. Nevertheless, we decided to take matters into our own hands and form the National Assembly, However, we were kicked out of the Estates General and not given representation. To fight back, my friends and I didn't give up and continued to fight until an oath was taken by the king, which declared not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom was established. With the formation of the National Guard, today.....we stormed the Bastille. Around 13:30 the we surged into the undefended outer courtyard, and the chains on the drawbridge to the inner courtyard were cut, crushing one unfortunate vainqueur.

5: With the belief in our minds that we had been drawn into a trap, the fighting became more violent and intense, while attempts by deputies to organize a cease-fire were ignored. We all had one thought in our head....this means war... | Storming of the Bastille

6: October 16, 1793 Dear Diary, Both of our leaders have been guillotined and the National Convention has taken control. It is now as we call it "The Reign of Terror" upon us. Thousands are being guillotined and killed in the conflict between the Girondists and the Jacobins. I have still yet to obtain a helpful job in the government. The National Convention has helped us obtain more rights......but no enough. Austria and Russia do not seem pleased to have two members of their descent killed. November 2, 1795 The National Convention has been overthrown and a new group called the Directory has been taken to the leadership position of France. There are five leaders who take on the power of the executive branch. They seem to be unsuccessful but good in an army sense. With the establishment of the Directory, the Revolution seems on the verge of ending. The Reign of Terror has imposed several threats on us and we need time to recover.

7: The possibility of foreign interference has vanished with the failure of the First Coalition. I predict that these next years of the Directory will be a time of chronic disquiet and the late atrocities have made goodwill between parties impossible. Most of the Frenchmen have different view on them. They disregard the terms of the constitution, and, when the elections are against them, they prolong the war to stay in power. They are thus driven to rely upon the armies, which also desire war and are becoming less and less civic in temper. The economy has been badly troubled and we are left with nothing to eat. The working class is out on the streets begging for bread...I am working as a clerk's apprentice as a temporary job to keep my family alive. We need food.

8: 1796 I'm afraid I have lost track of the date. The wars between foreign countries have made us, the working class, lose interest in the date and move on to more valuable affairs. However, I must write about this man I have truly come to admire. Napoleon Bonaparte, a young Corsican who is in charge of French forces in Italy and then Egypt, has won considerable fame for himself with a series of brilliant victories and also amassed massive reservoirs of wealth and support as he moves through Europe. His militaristic skills are brilliant and he is bringing France into being a world power. Most of the people admire him nowadays. 1799 Napoleon’s seemingly unstoppable forward progress ran into a roadblock in Egypt, and France’s army as the general faced simultaneous threats from Britain, Austria, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire. Hearing of the bedlam taking place in mainland Europe, as well as within in his own country, Napoleon deserted his men and headed back to France. The failing war efforts have amplified our distrust of the Directory, and large majorities of the public have began calling for peace at home and abroad.

9: November 9, 1799 The Directory has began to abuse their power. Meanwhile, inflation is continuing unchecked, leading the public to wonder whether a royal return to power would be more beneficial. Trust and faith in the government are nearing an all-time low. Sieyes, a member of the Directory, does not want to keep his newfound power for himself but instead intends to use it to protect the French government from future instability and disturbances. Therefore, he has enlisted the aid of Napoleon, with whom he began to plan a military coup to topple the very same Directory on which Sieyes himself served today! November 10, 1799 Napoleon, who has returned to France, overthrew the Directory yesterday. Today, Napoleon has dissolved the legislature and instituted himself as first consul, the leader of a military dictatorship. By imposing this state of military rule that would grip France for fifteen years, Napoleon has effectively ended the French Revolution. I have a strong feeling this will be an new opportunity for us all.

10: January 18, 1800 Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, has created a National Bank to foster renewed economic growth in the wake of the deep recession of the Revolutionary period. The new Bank's task is to issue bank notes payable to the bearer on sight in exchange for discounted commercial bills.This allowed for the recovery of the economy and the rise of new jobs. From this, I was able to get money and support my family which had been sustaining on bread for several years. This is a miracle which has been brought to us, and Napoleon is truly....a great hero. December 2, 1804 Napoleon crowned himself Emperor in Notre-Dame de Paris. Napoleon had Pope Pius VII in attendance to indicate approval of the Church. Let us all rejoice in this act which will bring France to prosperity!

11: November 10, 1814 Over the past couple years Napoleon has corrected significant problems France was having with laws and the economy. He not only stabilized, he revolutionized the entire government. He created a codified set of laws which are still in use to this day. When the poor could not afford food, instead of sending them a stimulus check that wasn't worth much, he had the government buy enough bread for everyone and distribute it. He also established schools and revolutionized the educational opportunities in France. Under the Bourbon rule only the rich and elite were able to get an education and have the best opportunities. The French revolution had abolished the monarchy and nobility, but they didn't know what to do next. Napoleon has made it work. It is fair to say that the opportunities and quality of life have risen dramatically for the lower and middle classes under Napoleon to a level that has never been seen before. When he took over other countries, he gave most of them at least some independence or at least established constitutional governments and gave the citizens significant rights. This included much more rights for women and minorities.

12: He is a very good administrator and was one of the few dictators who actually has the good of the people first and foremost in his mind. A final note, he established recognition systems to honor those who had been faithful to France or done something great. Not just the rich and not just the military. Citizens can be given honors and he promoted many based on merit, rather than who he knew, though he certain had political appointments. These few years can be named as the "golden years" for France's working class and lower classes.

13: June 20, 1815 Today has been a great loss for all of France. Just one hundred days ago, he had returned and we were all crying tears of joy. Today, Napoleon has been defeated at Waterloo and has been sent to exile at Saint Helena. He was a great leader.....a wise and powerful one.....as I look back at my diaries, I see that Napoleon has truly evoked my life from a low standard to a high one with the job at the National Bank and the issuing of bread and money to the poor. His death will be a tragedy and an unforgettable moment for all of France. To let him know my appreciation, I tried to send a letter to him before he was exiled.....but it was too late. All is lost...and in comes another era.

14: Analysis As Napoleon and his armies and influence spread throughout Europe and, eventually into the disastrous invasion of Russia, he nevertheless created not just an name of being a "freedom fighter" but someone who advocated the idea that the strength of a government should not be aristocratic but more republican, even as he permitted European monarchies to continue to rule. It can be said by this quote "Napoleon was a progressive force, establishing political stability, restoring morality....modernizing....codifying law....ending or mitigating feudalism....establishing schools, beautifying cities....encouraging science...Helped by his prodding, Europe advanced half a century during the fifteen years of his rule" by Durant. He was a hero for France, because of his ability to win battles when his forces were inadequately supplied, as well as his ability to transform his troops into great soldiers.

15: As a leader the French, people loved him, not just because he was a war hero but also because he was a great First Consul and Emperor. He brought about the end of religious unrest, revolutionary plots and unfair taxation. He also let most of the exiles, all but 100, come back to France. He lead a frugal life compared to those led by the kings of France before him and gave much back to France. Most importantly, what he gave not just to France but to the world, is his belief in talent over birth right. If Napoleon is not a hero, few if any, can be called one.

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Nidhi  Kumar
  • By: Nidhi K.
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