Essay on Napoleon as an Elightened Despot

640 Words Apr 21st, 2011 3 Pages
Napoleon has been described as the last of the “enlightened despots,” or as a “child of the enlightenment.” These statements can be considered accurate because Napoleon Bonaparte reconstructed France during the French Revolution. Even though he became a military dictator, before that he was able to equalize rights, create a new banking system, and build up the government, education system, and churches. After Napoleon seized power in 1799, he started to win over the French citizens and became to improve the country immediately. He created a new constitution consolidating his position and was approved by the French voters with an overwhelming number for the constitution. The essence of Napoleon’s domestic policy was to use his great and …show more content…
Napoleon kept the French church in his pocket. He paid the clergy directly, and he made them financially dependent on his treasury. As a child of the enlightenment, Napoleon used cold authority and calculation to wield one of the most powerful weapons in the world, religion, and he did it successfully. He also used his authority to work on the educational system and reform the government. Napoleon centralized the government, putting control firmly in the hands of the national government. It became more efficient. Advancement in the civil service and the military was based on merit rather than rank. The tax system was applied equally to all. When it came to education reforms, Napoleon built many new lycees, which are schools for boys age 10 to 16. He recognized the importance of education in producing citizens capable of filling positions in his bureaucracy and military. Although he did not create a system of mass education, education was more available to the middle class than it ever had been before. He saw education as a way of indoctrinating "right-thinking" citizens from an early.
It is hard to reconcile whether it was Napoleon’s political genius that made him enlightened or whether it was his enlightenment that made him a political genius. Regardless, he will always be recognized as a charismatic and remarkable enlightened despot. Yes, Napoleon was a child of the enlightenment; this is clearly displayed by his

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