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

"In all that he did, his main aim was to secure himself in power." How far do you agree with this judgement on Napoleon's policies as First Consul?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"In all that he did, his main aim was to secure himself in power." How far do you agree with this judgement on Napoleon's policies as First Consul? After the Coup of Brumaire in 1799, Napoleon emerged as the new leader of France and devised a system of government that gave him effective control over all aspects of life in France. He controlled religion, education, law-making, policing, legal reforms and the economic situation by putting in place a series of policies, designed both to comply with some principles of the Revolution whilst also giving Napoleon control and security in power. This essay looks to investigate how far each of these policies suggest that Napoleon's main aim was always to secure himself in power. Napoleons policy of police and propaganda is the most obviously repressive of all the policies. Many aspects of his heavy policing conform with dictatorial regimes, as does his policy of censorship and (often false or manipulated) propaganda. France became effectively a Police State, with Napoleon at the core. The Minister of Police, Joseph Fouch´┐Ż, who controlled National Security, established a network of informers who monitored public opinion and reported on any suspicious political activity. ...read more.

Middle

Napoleon was raised a Catholic and was keen to encourage religion within France, as this quote shows: "No society can exist without equality of fortunes; and equality of fortunes can not exist without religion." However, the Concordat was manipulated to Napoleons obvious advantage as well. In signing the Concordat, the Pope agreed to endorse the Revolution and regime, state control of the churches and church appointments and accept the loss of church lands during the Revolution. Also, in 1802, Napoleon attached the Organic Articles, without papal agreement, to the Concordat. These guaranteed the revolutionary principle of religious toleration and made the Protestant and Jewish churches similarly subject to state authority. It can be argued that one of Napoleon's aims in forming the Concordat was to ensure a lack of interference from the church, meaning his position in France could not be affected by the Pope or any other religious order. However, whether or not this was his main motive in signing the Concordat is less certain. Although the church was a powerful tool in controlling and influencing the public and was often used as a vehicle of propaganda, Napoleon's desire to influence and manipulate the public cannot justify other aspects of the Concordat such as the state responsibility for the payment of the clergy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Others, such as his educational policy, are subtler, encouraging support for the regime through improved life within France. In all areas, he is seen as either directly influencing the public, either by force or by propaganda, or indirectly influencing the public by creating better conditions in France, therefore encouraging support of the regime. I believe that it was Napoleon's main aim to secure himself in power. After all, if he fell out of favour quickly, all of his other aims, such as creating a better France, would fall with him. It was implicit that he secured himself in power as soon as possible, in order that he might put all his other aims into action. Ultimately, most of his actions aimed either to limit or prevent the impact any opposes to the regime may have on Napoleon's security in power or to create a better France thereby increasing popularity of the regime. However that is not to say that other policies did not centre around a different aim, such as the economic policy, which aimed to create financial stability in France primarily, and possibly may have contributed to increased support and popularity of Napoleon and his regime. 1 ...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

    Was it the policies pursued by Henry VIII that caused "the mid-Tudor crisis"?

    4 star(s)

    Although Kett's rebellion and the Western rebellion, both in 1549, were largely due to religious grievances, the economic and social measures undertaken by Somerset played a part, as the rebels were also protesting against enclosure and inflation. Somerset did not seem as genuinely interested in helping the poor as Elton

  2. In the process of consolidating his power, Napoleon had, by May 1804, destroyed the ...

    This whole system is one that undermined the gains of the revolution, as it is a system that for most is not a fair and equal one, hence undermines the gains, as most were either directly or at least indirectly linked to equality and fairness.

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

    to the importance of forcing the enemy to give battle, but only when that enemy has been out-manoeuvred. While he was able to maintain the surprise element, Napoleon managed to win every encounter. * At Ulm 1805 the Austrians, remaining stationery, were surrounded.

  2. How far can the downfall of Napoleon be explained by the continuous opposition of ...

    The gold ploughed into Austria, Prussia and Russia, known as "Pitt's cavalry", was vital not only in supporting the continental armies but also in persuading them to take up arms in the first place. It may be pointed out that this could not have been a major factor as Britain

  1. Can Napoleon's rise to power merely be attributed to his control of the government?'

    He gained notoriety here as a ruthless fighter by firing into the crowd and five days later was appointed commander of the Army of the Interior. Barras knew Napoleon could be useful in enforcing the ideas of the new government, the Directory, in which Barras was prominent and so close links remained between the two.

  2. 'The weakness of the Directory was the most important factor in Napoleon's seizure of ...

    laid the foundations for competitive politics in future years.2 Napoleon himself of course played a large role in the coup, and gave it more chance of success than any other general could have. This was mainly due to the prestige that he brought as being the great man who had conquered Italy and Egypt.

  1. Causes of show trials + purges of 1930s.

    We can almost say that the masses were working against the Soviets at this point, even though they were pushing for a socialist system. This goes along way to explain the rise of support for the Bolsheviks in the period after the July days, because the Bolsheviks seemed the only

  2. 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

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