• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Can Napoleons rise to power be attributed merely to his control of the army?

Extracts from this document...


Carolina Andreoli History H Fri, 14 May 2004 Can Napoleons rise to power be attributed merely to his control of the army? Napoleon Bonaparte was the emperor of the French, who consolidated and institutionalized many reforms of the French Revolution. Considered one of the greatest military commanders of all time, he was able to quickly become First Consul, and shortly after emperor of France. It is crucial to understand his life, character and all the factors that led him to become undisputed ruler of France. On 15 August 1769 at the island of Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte was born a French subject, for Corsica had been part of France. His family belonged to Corsican nobility, which was very fortunate for Napoleon since Corsican nobility was looked down upon in France and therefore his name was never entered in the 'cidevant' lists at the time of the revolution. His father first opposed to French rule, however after seeing advantages that could be gained for his family, he quickly changed his mind and sent Napoleon to the Military Academy in France. His first language being Italian, Napoleon never lost his accent and never learnt to write French grammatically. It is difficult to know whether he considered himself a true Frenchman or not, but historians say that deep inside he was really a Corsican. ...read more.


On the next day, the Ancients have a meeting at St. Cloud and news arrive informing that directors in Paris have either resigned or been arrested. Without a board of executives, the Directory was over, and the provisional government could not be established. As the discussion was taking too long, Napoleon bursts into the Council of the Ancients and begins to speak. Exactly what happened next is disputed. Some say it was a useless conversation, without dignity or nobility. However the official version of the speech, probably provided by Napoleon, was very different. After giving out his speech to the Ancients, Napoleon then went to a meeting of the Five Hundred. He gave the same speech, but the majority called for his arrest for they believed Napoleon was trying to set up a military dictatorship. Lucien, Napoleon's brother and president of the Five Hundred, was unable to stop the debate, but Napoleon was able to leave the room escorted by grenadiers. Once outside the room, he looked pale and shaken, and the only thing he could say was, "I simply went to inform the deputies of the means of saving the republic, and they answered me with dagger-blows". Lucien uses this as an excuse to dissolve The Five Hundred, accusing the deputies of "assassins". ...read more.


According to Norman Hampson, "What decided Bonaparte's victory was not so much the success of the coup as its favourable reception by public opinion at large. There was not much left that seemed worth fighting for." A 'cloud of political apathy' had settled in France under the Directory, so when the coup took place, there was little reaction by the people, thus making Napoleon's way much easier. It was not until Napoleon's policies were cleared out, that the property-owning classes began to support him seeing advantages of their own. Property-owning classes consisted of landowners and the bourgeoisie, who had bought royalist and church lands and feared that a Jacobin revival or a Bourbon restoration would result in the seizure of their property. The return of Napoleon with a strong government would protect them from the Jacobins and royalist thus assuring their property. Napoleon's influence is evident in France even today. Reminders of him dot Paris, the country's basic law is still the Code Napoleon, and the administrative and judicial systems are essentially Napoleonic. Therefore it can be said that it was not merely because of his military successes that he came to power, but also to the events of the Coup, weakness of the Directory and several other factors that made him First Consul and ruler of France. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The Weakness of the Directory was the main reasons for Napoleons rise to Power. ...

    5 star(s)

    allowed him to rise in the army, a strong directory would have restricted how political he could have become, if they had not needed to use his armies to put down riots. Also a strong directory could have made people content with government instead of disinterest, and therefore wouldn't have allowed Napoleon to create the final coup.

  2. Reasons for Napoleon's Success (to 1807).

    if necessary be quickly changed; regiments could be transferred from one corps to another if required, and infantry or cavalry detachments could be sent out as skirmishers or moved round as protective screens to shield the movement of the rest of the troops, and leave the enemy confused and uncertain as to what was happening.

  1. How did Napoleon maintain control in France between in 1799-1814?

    Napoleon also appointed Prefects for each department which was important as it made a connection between local and central government and Napoleon made the prefects responsible for propaganda, education and conscription within each region, so Napoleon could make sure that he kept his support through out France.

  2. Napoleon Bonaparte.

    He crossed the Alps and planned an attack on the Austrians. He ran into unexpected trouble as he could not overtake Austria, but still found the victory he needed to make peace with Britain and gain more land in Belgium, Luxembourg and northern Italy.

  1. In the process of consolidating his position, Napoleons reforms, had by 1808, destroyed the ...

    he had claimed that in assuming 'sovereignty', he had taken the burden from the people and vested it in himself and his heirs - although these were merely words to legitimise his dictatorship. Napoleon hid his betrayal of the principles of the Revolution behind flimsy reasoning that appeared to be

  2. How far did Napoleon Bonaparte maintain the revolutionary ideals of liberty and equality in ...

    Proclaiming the freedom of labour and the equality of citizens before the law, it in fact deserted the wage earners. Also, the criminal and penal codes that were issued in 1808 and 1810 re-established harsh penalties such as branding and mutilation.

  1. "To what extent was French defeat at the battle of Waterloo due to Napoleons ...

    Wellington's men had just lost a battle against Ney at Ligny and had been separated from their close allies the Prussians. Also the British army itself was only 20% British. This is significant because British troops are renown as being difficult to break, so with less of the resilient troops the army will be easier to rout.

  2. To what extent was Napoleon nothing more than a dictator?

    This was further accentuated with the creation of the Imperial University in 1808, which tightly controlled the educational system and brought it under Napoleon?s strict authority. * Use of church as a tool to power: The liberal principles which Napoleon did uphold can be seen as ones which consolidate his support and provide him with power.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work