Napoleon, Hero or Tyrant? Essay

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Corsica in 1769. At a pretty young age he went to the mainland of France to study at a military academy. In the period that Napoleon was born, you could only get a great life if you were from a noble family, other people couldn’t come far in the estate society. But the French revolution changed this. How exactly? Well after the revolution a lot of noblemen fled outside France or were executed, so actually Napoleon was the right person at the right moment. For what exactly?

People like Napoleon who were willing to fight had a lot of opportunities, where he started as an officer in mainland France, he became general in 1796 and he led the campaign to Italy. His army wasn’t well armed ,but the revolution cause something. All the soldiers were eager to fight, they were fanatic. They didn’t fight for just the money, but were prepared to die for their country. So to get back at the question why he was the right guy at the right moment, if he was born 30 years ago he would never make it further than a soldier, but Napoleon even became emperor of France in 1802.

Napoleon promised the ideals of the French Revolution: Fraternity ,Equality and Liberty to the French people, but did he really live up to his promise? Furthermore, was this guy really a hero or just a bloody tyrant? In 1793 Napoleon had its first offensive, and conquered Belgium, The Netherlands and parts of Germany and also recaptured Toulon from the British. In 1796 he conquered North Italy and founded some republics there, whereas it seemed that those republics were free, they were under French rule as was the Batavian Republic(Belgium and the Netherlands).

This shows that Napoleon wanted to look like a good person, but he actually wasn’t. Also he destroyed an Egyptian army that was 4 times bigger, but the British destroyed a French fleet, so it turned out to be a failure. In 1799 Austria ,Russia and Great Britain had formed a coalition against France and were going to the border, but Napoleon brought peace. He turned people against the government and was cheered while going to Paris. He had the support of the army, so he forced parliament to give him the power. He made peace with the three countries against France and because of him in 1802 there was peace again.

Seems like a heroic action. But was the power used for only good? Napoleon acted like he was a democrat, but nothing was less true, he was a dictator. A referendum even gave him the absolute rule. With 3 million people supporting and 1500 against him he got what he wanted. But 1500 against were 1500 too much, so with a secret service he got rid of all the opposition. He used the press for his propaganda, there wasn’t any freedom of press or speech. But he also did good things, for example he reformed education, so every French person would have the right to be educated. Also he gave everyone equal opportunities .

Because of Napoleon it wasn’t important who you were, but what you could do, what your talents were. Was this just to keep the people happy and not having more opposition because of his bad actions? Did he live up to his promises? No he didn’t: He gave the French fraternity and equality, but liberty? Not at all. He wasn’t the liberator of the French like most people believe it now. He wasn’t there to liberate France, he wanted to control the whole of Europe. He got large parts of Europe under his control, in 1810 he ruled the Batavian republic, Switzerland, Spain ,Italy, Poland and almost whole Germany.

He wasn’t able to defeat the British, Austrians and Russians. But like almost everything Napoleon did, he did something good as well. He got rid of the class estate system and brought equality in the countries he ruled. But in 1812 he made another big mistake. He invaded Russia. With 500. 000! soldiers he went to Moscow. The Russians were afraid but smart. They burned every village in Napoleons way so he couldn’t get any food supplies, his army could not eat anything. When he got to Moscow , it was almost deserted. He took control of Moscow ,his goal was trying to let the Russians retreat.

But they didn’t and he payed a huge prize for this. The winter started so Napoleon had to return, but this winter was fatal to him. A huge amount of his army died because of hunger, exhaustion and frost. The Russians killed the remaining soldiers. Only a very small part of the army of Napoleon returned to France. March 1814, the allies took control over Paris and banned Napoleon to an island called Elba, next to Italy. But he escaped and got control in Paris again, and invaded Belgium. After this he was defeated again in the battle of Waterloo. Napoleon was banned to Saint Helena, a British island and died there in 1821.

To conclude, Napoleon did a lot of good things in my eyes. He gave the people equality, and gave them other advantages too. But a hero would do that to improve lives of others, he did it to keep the people a little bit happy for the bad things he had done. Why would a hero lie to the people, promising them liberty, but showing none of that. Why would a hero be responsible for deaths of hundred thousands of people. Because Napoleon wasn’t a hero. He was a selfish bloody tyrant. All this tyrannical man wanted was power. That was all he what wanted…