After the French Revolution, France was in deep confusion. People were suffering from continuous wars and internal factional conflicts. People felt tired and longed for a ruler to salvage them from hunger and fatigue. During this time when people longed for new ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte appeared.
He became the first emperor of France with his military force. He overcame all his enemies, Austria, Prussia, Netherlands, Spain, and accomplished peace in Europe. Considering Napoleon! s great accomplishments and his political decisions, one can refer to the work of Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, in which Machiavelli suggests what a prince should do to maintain his states and hold them firmly. In this essay, how political decisions of Napoleon Bonaparte are applied to Machiavelli! s tactics and suggestions will be discussed.
Napoleon gained his power by military force. First he joined artillery military and spent time with no opportunity to be honored. His chance came when General Paul Barras called Napoleon for his help to defend the Tuileries. Napoleon was victorious and was appointed commander of the Army of Italy. As a commander of the Army of Italy, he defeated Austrians in Italy and advanced to Vienna. On October 17, 1797, he forced Austria to sign the Treaty of Campo formio.
He established people! s republic in various parts in Italy. After returning from Egypt to Paris, he, Abbe Sieyes, and Roger Ducos overthrew the government on 18 Brumaire. Thus, Napoleon Bonaparte became the first consul, who had dictatorial powers. With his talent and excellence, he became the most powerful one in France. In The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli, it states that one who acquires new principalities by one! s own skill and talent is secure, powerful, and revered. For Napoleon, he became the first consul and gained dictatorial powers by his own skill and talent; therefore, his position was secure, of course, and he was respected and honored by people.
Napoleon Bonaparte was the most popular dictator France ever had. As the first emperor of France, Emperor Napoleon changed nobility and the titles of government; however, French people did not notice the change. One of his greatest achievements was the Code Napoleon. The Code Napoleon was collection and revision of French Laws.
It included some of rights and freedoms of people of France. The people of France were certainly satisfied because their new constitution, the Code Napoleon, included and respected their rights and freedoms they gained by French Revolution. From this, one can refer to Niccolo Machiavelli, who emphasized that a prince, or a ruler, should be loved not hated by people. By establishing the Code Napoleon, he proved himself! ^0 an excellent civil administrator.
! +/- Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the greatest military commanders in history. Because of his astuteness and brilliance in battles and wars, he was victorious throughout the Europe continent. He defeated Austria, Prussia, Netherlands, and Spain. Thus, he brought peace in the continent of Europe.
This proves that he was never lazy in studying the art of war. In the view of Niccolo Machiavelli, studying art of war even in peace is the most important affair a ruler must do. Napoleon could not have accomplished such great achievements without practicing what Niccolo Machiavelli emphasized about being knowledgeable in war strategies. However, despite his great accomplishments, Napoleon made mistakes and suffered from it. Napoleon once tried to tame British through economics.
This plan was called the Continental System, which harmed France and its allies. Another mistake he made was that when Spain was under his control, he failed to hold Spain firmly. Spain revolted against him and caused critical problem to his reign. One says that Spain revolted because! ^0 he couldn't be everywhere within his empire at once. ! +/- Niccolo Machiavelli once says in his book that when a prince acquires a new foreign state, he needs to go there to live in person. This Napoleon failed to practiced, and it harmed his reign.
Because of the problems that began to arise and caused damage to Napoleon! s reign, his system began to break up. Countries that were under his control revolted and French people once again felt tired of endless battles and wars. Eventually, Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to the island of Alba and lost the great power. The difference between what Machiavelli suggested and what Napoleon did might have caused the ruin of Napoleon! s reign. However, as one says that! ^0 peace that is accomplished by force cannot last long! +/-, the peace Napoleon accomplished could not last and Napoleon lost his dictatorial power..