Most of the people know Napoleon as a French general who fought multiple wars throughout Europe. He was born in Corsica on August 15, 1769. He was in military as 2nd lieutenant of artillery. Napoleon not only was a very successful general, he created his own empire with his own set of laws and codes. He brought the French Revolution to an end, and founded his French empire, which reached its zenith in 1810. His achievements throughout his lifetime dramatically affected how Europe looks today. Despite his flaws, Napoleon had a great and positive impact on the modern world.
He was a great general. He saved French Republics from the French Revolution. He made various successful campaigns throughout Europe in countries Prussia, Russia, Austria, and Italy. He split his empire into different regions and let each of his most trusted people take charge of them. During his campaign, he liberated Toulon from Britain. He also led Italy through a series of wars, and there he learned how to rule. Meanwhile, he led a campaign to Egypt, and defeated Austrian, Italian, and British army after his return. In the Battle of Austerlitz, he defeated Austrian and Russians powers while being outnumbered. He was also crowned as king of Italy in Milan in March 1805, because he was once in Italy and helped the country fight different battles against other countries. Napoleon treated Italy as a second base, so it would be more convenient to fight Austria and Germany.
His title of general eventually became emperor as he gained reputation and power. He claimed emperor on May 28th, 1804 in presence of the Pope. Before his reign, the French Revolution was still going on and France is in complete chaos. Napoleon led his army and managed to seize control of this land and bring it peace. Napoleon was not very fond of the church, so he didn’t include the church in various activities. The states’ activities and the church’s activities were separated. Napoleon also presented the freedom of religion. The church craves power and wealth, therefore once they lost their advantages, they and Napoleon were in continuous conflict.
As emperor, Napoleon introduced a new series of laws and codes called the Napoleonic Code, which is a set of laws and codes that benefitted people compared to past laws. The legal system before he claimed dictator is wretched, so he decided to make a new legal system, which took him four years. In this new set of code, the wealth and poor are more balanced out, and the privileges of the wealth were extinguished, which means that everyone will be treated equally in front of the law. Birth privileges were also not recognized anymore. There are branches of laws for specific fields such as criminal and commercial laws. The civil laws are separated to family and property. People of France would have the right to own property and the right to choose one’s profession. Most of his laws were still used and preserved throughout Europe and especially in the neighboring countries of France.
Napoleon declared war on all countries around France, so after some time the countries that once were defeated formed an ally force and started pushing back Napoleon’s reign. He never gained control over Great Britain. Franco-Spanish fleet destroyed by British navy in an attempt to control the waters. The plan was to seize the isles of Britain before invasion. However, the plan failed (Battle of Trafalgar). British navy was the only thing that could demolish Napoleon’s army, and since Britain controlled most of trade, Napoleon has to get resources by raiding and conquering other territories. He made a campaign to take over Russia but failed due to the harsh weather of winter. People started to lose faith in him and started to turn against him. In 1814, Austrian and Prussian armies drove Napoleon out of central Europe. Despite several wins, the French army was outnumbered, and Napoleon was captured and sent to exile. He did manage to escape but failed immediately on his second attempt. The amazing life of this emperor ended there.
Napoleon had a great impact on Europe today because of his military skills, his code, and his ways with the church. The borders of Europe would be dynamically different if Napoleon never existed, and the laws of the neighboring countries of France would also greatly vary. He founded various institutions such as military academies, universities, and even the Banque de France. Napoleon was undoubtedly one of the most famous people in history, and that is because he is capable of influencing the world in ways that others could not. Regardless of his ambitious conquests to take over the world, Napoleon was a great general and emperor, and his ideas were still present in our daily life.
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