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In the process of consolidating his power, Napoleon had, by May 1804, destroyed the gains of the revolution. How far do you agree with this judgement?

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Introduction

"In the process of consolidating his power, Napoleon had, by May 1804, destroyed the gains of the revolution." How far do you agree with this judgement? There were many gains of the revolution, to include both social and political gains. The general achievement of these gains collectively is that they achieved the quality of being brotherly; brotherhood: liberty, equality, and fraternity. On one hand it can be said that in the process of consolidating his power Napoleon destroyed the gains of the revolution. For example some could argue that, these gains were undermined by Napoleon's measures as first consul, Napoleon did not make this a fair system and he took away the idea of equality. Examples of how the gains of the revolution were undermined by Napoleon's measures as first consul include; he appointed senators for life, it was the benefactor and president who in which gained (i.e. Napoleon). However there is always another line of argument and in this case the other line of argument states that the judgement which says "in the process of consolidating his power, Napoleon had, by May 1804, destroyed the gains of the revolution" is false. ...read more.

Middle

The revolution wanted to change the ideas of positions being given on the bases of family, hence reintroducing the hereditary principle is not just undermining what the revolution was about but also going back on what was achieved due to the revolution The concordat was another which can be argued to have undermined the reforms and the gains of the revolution. This was eventually signed and all agreed on the 16th of July 1801 and was a very controversial policy in which was introduced by Napoleon, although was not published by Napoleon until April 1802. One of the main reasons why this can be seen to have undermined the gains of the revolution is because it went against some of the policies of the revolution. For example one of the main policies of the revolution was the conformation of the separation of the church and state; however in the concordat this was ended. So we can see how the Concordat was almost completely going against what had been achieved in the revolution. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another concept that reflects the gains and the principles is the civil code, introduced on 21st March 1804. This was founded on the work of successive revolutionary governments and hence followed the same line of thought as had been had by the revolution. Hence we can say that this is showing Napoleon not to destroy the gains of the revolution but actually to build on the gains of the revolution instead. A final point to examine is the extent to which the constitutional changes of the period to 1804 undermined the process towards democracy and liberty that was achieved during the revolution. The revolution can be argued to have achieved a very strong path towards liberty, freedom, equality and democracy. And the constitutional changes can be argued to have come along and very much undermined all that had been previously achieved by the revolution. However we do have to consider the point that has been proposed by historians, which is; that "Bonaparte could not suppress something which did not exist". ...read more.

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