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From Rise to Fall How Bonaparte Came to Power

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How My Outside Reading Supplemented Chapter 20 and fulfilled TBR Learning Outcomes

George Worden

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Western Civ. 1020

Dr. Crawford

From Rise to Fall How Bonaparte Came to Power

The discrepancies between the books chapter and outside research seem to vary a minuet amount on the story of Napoleon. Bonaparte was known as a military and political genius. The fall of Bonaparte's regime truly was quick, horrendous, and easily linked to key factors. Napoleon stated "The state it was I" (Tarbell, 106) Napoleon instated himself as a key factor in the government and it was centered solely on this one man. He also had many rivals of his time that used slander and propaganda in order to disgrace his name, and demean from his many achievements. Bonaparte left France with a completely new mold in which he reflected his uniformity for the Europeans to fill. Left also by Bonaparte, is an amazing sequence of events that played a role in establishing not only European democracy, but as well as most of what is now known as the United States. Much has been written of these tales of Bonaparte and his trail to and fall of power and the course book only gives the reader a quick insight into such a great man's mind.

Napoleon was known for his great mind. He started his rise into power like many others, through political opportunities and advancements. Napoleon jumped at any opportunity available in his career. This was obviously an attribute that led too much of Bonaparte's success. Bonaparte attended a military school, where he learned the basics, and would soon get to execute his new knowledge on the field as head of the army in Italy. France was stationed in Italy during Bonaparte's control over this militia group. In The Life of Napoleon, it states, "The military genius that this twenty- seven year old commander had shown in the campaign in Italy bewildered his enemies and thrilled his friends." (Tarbell, 74) Napoleon demonstrated great genius in his battles using complex military command. His enemies were troubled by his tactics and everyone knew when to make Napoleon an ally. The Age of Napoleon states "General Bonaparte appeared on the world stage in the spring of 1796" (Herold, 49). He did this by intruding in a war that was taking place in France, in order to seize the French throne from Bourbon Louis XIV. Napoleon earned much of his fame from ending the First Coalition and forcing Europe to accept his reform and end the Bourbon rule. The French in this war were complete individualist and this individualistic attitude of the French militia would cause much trouble to a commander wanting to operate the troops as one. Bonaparte was a man that had the power to rally this militia and to make the men more holistic. In The Age of Napoleon, Bonaparte quotes himself as an "ispo facto" (Herold, 54). Napoleon portrays himself in both outside research and the text book as an important factor in the government, but still above the politics, yet in complete control. This statement is completely contradictory, as with most ideas held by Bonaparte. Bonaparte knew he had come into great power. The rise of Napoleon's success in both research and the text is connected with the amount of victories gained under his control of France. He always took charge when commanding his men and was known for his great rallying speeches, which rivaled other great generals such as Cortez or Joan of Arc. Thus, Napoleon had countless followers. Enough of his followers were so loyal, he was able to develop his own police force, to repress rebellion and keep negative propaganda from spreading. In A Life of Napoleon, "Madam Colombier, who owned the leading salon in town, introduced him to powerful friends which prophesized a great future for him." (Tarbell, 29) Bonaparte also made many useful acquaintances that shuttled him up the ladder of French political rankings. In The Age of Napoleon, Pope Boniface VIII excommunicated Napoleon from the church on May 17, 1809. (Herold, 281) Church figure heads were very intertwined with making important decisions and establishing political ties around this time. With the aid of Philip IV of France, Bonaparte had the pope arrested for his offense. After the Pope's arrest, Philip reinstated Bonaparte within the church. This counterattack on the Pope shows that Napoleon had much influence over the royal powers of the time, more so than the church. For Napoleon, having friends in the social nobility class was to his advantage, and an exploit he normally always perused in hopes of gaining more allies. Bonaparte also assimilated the support of the Jewish community, only further strengthening his influence and integrity in European society. Making France free of laws that discriminated against Jews was a taboo notion during the time. This shows the radical ideals and thoughts on Bonaparte's behalf. Bonaparte established a major control over most of continental Europe by distributing territory and founding alliances with family, friends, and empires as often as possible. This greatly expanded the reach and rule of Bonaparte. Such a plan of putting more of his family members and friends over the European regions would build ever more to the loyalty and strength Bonaparte was trying to establish in his control of Europe. Bonaparte's goal with this scheme was to keep his rule within a family hierarchy. Ultimately this would cause a never ending reign of Europe in some form by Bonaparte, carrying on his name and continually passing sovereignty to the next family member in line. The Ottoman Empire was also a helpful ally to Bonaparte. He promised return of the Ottoman Empire's territories in order to gain its support. This offer was accepted by the Ottoman Empire, with the hope that the joining of these two powers would warrant continuous growth. With this gained support of the Ottoman Empire, Napoleon gained an ally that has borders with Russia, another one of his planed sites of attack. Financing was another way mentioned in which Bonaparte came to a rise in power in Western Civilization. Being First Consul, Napoleon had access to the greater wealth of France, which he used to wage wars that he typically won. His allies made donations of many different things from service to money, and offered help in any way possible. For the wars that he won, Bonaparte expected full reimbursement from the losing side for the trouble and resources incurred by his military. In The Age of Napoleon it says "French troops remained in occupation of Prussia at the expense of Prussia." (Herold, 269)

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