Last Updated 26 Jan 2021

Napoleon: Tyrant, or Hero?

Category Heroes, Napoleon, Tax
Essay type Research
Words 651 (2 pages)
Views 325

Napoleon was a big man in all ways except stature, with big plans, big actions, big passions, and a big appetite. Throughout Napoleon’s political and military career, he accomplished many goals of the revolution that had underlying democratic values, which he spread all across Europe. However, Napoleon was also an egotistical and oppressive character, and he took away many individual rights that had been gained during the reign of terror.

Napoleon was a tyrant, twisted by his own passions and big ideas, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t heroic or that he didn’t accomplished any heroic feats. Although Napoleon seized power, he strived to strengthen his country, and gain a majority of the support, understanding that there aint(sic) no power like the power of the people. He soon had a group of lawyers write up a code of laws that governed the entirety of France, making a more just system of laws and taxation, as before the laws varied state to state, while the taxes varied by estate.

While this stabilized the government and economy, and largely leveled the playing field among men, it also took away many women’s rights, and sacrificed certain rights to maintain Napoleon’s growing power. Those who crossed Napoleon or spoke out against him, whether in public or in the paper were targeted, and he destroyed printers that voiced ‘dangerous’ thoughts. During the same time period, Napoleon also took back the rights of free blacks in Saint Domingue that the slaves had won during a revolt of their own.

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The event that showed his domineering potential, and turned off many of his previous ‘fans’, was when Napoleon was crowned emperor. Up until this point, many intellectuals had admired Napoleon for his cunning, and France’s dramatic recovery under his careful guidance. However, as Napoleon snatched the crown from the Pope like an insolent child, another great mastermind drew a groan of pained frustration.

Beethoven had been writing a symphony in his honor when Bonaparte decided to show some more of his true colors, causing the musical genius to scratch his name off the board and rename it “eroica symphony”, as he felt Napoleon no longer embodied the heroic qualities he had been trying to portray.

Few people originally had a problem with Napoleon becoming Emperor, as a plebiscite had granted him the title, however, his haughty show had proved him not to be quite the ‘hero on a white horse’ everyone had been hoping for, rather he was simply a talented, tactically genius, fallible human, worth as much as any other, and deserving no more emphasis or admiration than any other. Once he had secured France and his position as Emperor there, he set his sights out to his looming neighbors. After conquering or allying with most of Europe, almost the whole continent felt the benefit of the exchange of revolutionary reforms and ideals that took place, as Napoleon abolished the feudal system, dethroned kings, and set up a fairer tax and law system wherever he went.

Despite spreading these democratic ideals, after people had started suffering because of his anti-British campaign, Napoleon wouldn’t let his reins of power slip, and he crushed revolts or acts of patriotism in the conquered nations ruthlessly whenever they appeared. This was especially true after the Spanish and Portuguese had a successful revolution, giving other nations hope of a similar fate.

Napoleon was a tyrant first and a hero second, for while I’m sure some of what he did was for the good of France, he cared far to much about sweetening his own pot of power, and a large quantity of the things he did, though great, were probably to maintain and enhance his power, as he had shown himself to be his own biggest fan, and in turn, his own biggest enemy. While Napoleon will forever remain great figure in history, his authority left no room for opposition or opposing, or different, ideas, and this made him a tyrant.

Napoleon: Tyrant, or Hero? essay

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Napoleon: Tyrant, or Hero?. (2016, Jul 15). Retrieved from

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