Tyrant, Dictator, Conqueror, Mass-Murderer, Megalomaniac, these are words regularly associated with Napoleon Bonaparte, last emperor of France. Words used by the History books. The books written by the Victors. They call Waterloo a victory for humanity, but was it?

 

Did many Europeans die and suffer because of Napoleon, Yes. Would an equal amount have died and suffered has he not risen to power? Perhaps.

 

DELAROCHE Paul ((1797-1856))

DELAROCHE Paul ((1797-1856))

 

Napoleon was obviously a power hungry militarist, but so were many rulers at the time. His time in power certainly brought risk and danger to his neighbors but in his absence the monarchs of the time would have caused other problems.

 

Despite your stand on Napoleon the facts are that France (and Europe in some instances) has him to thank for…

 

The Napoleonic Code which replaced a system of confusing and random feudal laws which is still the basis of law in Europe
Sanitation and beautification projects throughout Europe
Movement of government employment away from family title towards personal qualifications
The freedom of and from Religion
An organized and centralized education system
He organized the Banque de France and the Légion d’Honneur

Painting by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse

Painting by Jean-Baptiste Mauzaisse

 

If he had won at Waterloo and lived out his last 6 years in power in France the Alliance of Russia, Prussia and Austria would never have been able to suppress the liberal constitutional movements throughout Europe at the time.

 

Jews would likely not have been suppressed by the Papal States. Pressure to join France in abolishing slavery would have grown.

 

Napoleon was a Tyrant. But he was the people’s Tyrant.

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