Sunday, January 11, 2009
Napoleon: Enlightened or not?
It's hard to answer this question since others have already said pretty much what I wanted to but I guess I will just try to further explain why Napoleon was in fact enlightened. One must put into perspective what it was like to be him. He felt like he could do great things for his country, all of Europe, and what lead to his demise, himself. He wasn't all for himself and that is apparent in the reforms that he constituted throughout France and Europe. However, Napoleon was ambitious for himself and saw that he could do great things. That is where his fault came in. He just went too far in his idea of basically taking over Europe. People weren't going to let that happen. Now, when one looks at the good things that he did do there can be much enlightenment to be seen. Napoleon abolished feudalism in France, something that no other despot could do or even tried to do. He promoted religious toleration with great success. Most importantly, he abolished slavery in France. if this can't be seen as enlightened I don't know what can. As seen in the last DBQ that was done about slavery, many of the people opposed to slavery were enlightened scholars. Napoleon held these values as well. There is no question that Bonaparte went too far in his dream of expansion, but to say that he wasn't enlightened is just plain ridiculous.