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Napoleon and the French Revolution

            From 1799 to 1815, how far did Napoleon maintain the aims of the French Revolution?.
             Napoleon can be seen as an enlightened despot or argued to be a military dictator. As he said himself, he felt he was the "heir to the Revolution " and to the greater degree fulfilled its aims. As First Consul and Emperor his relationship with the aims of the Revolution are complex. 1789 was the beginning of the fall of the Bourbon rule and would later result in the end of the ancien regime. The Napoleonic period between 1799 and 1815 maintained the aims of the French revolution in varying degrees. .
             To begin with, we must define what the Revolution was. This is complicated, as there wasn't only one revolution but a series of them as the French struggled to make a new political and social system. Mirabeau, Lafayette, Brissot, Danton, or even Robespierre were all revolutionaries and their ideas differed slightly. But, in summary they all wanted "liberty, equality, fraternity ". .
             After Brumaire (9-10 Nov. 1799) --the coup d'état which first set Napoleon on the path to becoming the supreme executive of a French empire "Napoleon declared, "The Revolution is made fast on the principles on which it began; the Revolution is finished. " Like Napoleon, this quote is complex, but also very significant as it was made soon after he came to power. He was saying that his new regime was a break from the past but also a continuity of it. This can be seen in his centralised form of governance. It was highly autocratic, but unlike predecessors Napoleon was enlightened, so the people were willing to have some of their liberty taken away for security. The aims of the revolution as Napoleon felt could only be fulfilled by autocratic rule that governed for the greater good. He had seen this during the Robespierre led Jacobin rule. After the uncertainty of the reign of terror and ten years of upheaval, Napoleon was a welcomed choice.

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