To what extent was Napoleon a Dictator

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To what Extent Was Napoleon A Dictator?

        The word dictator refers to a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession. This definition proves that Napoleon was definitely a dictator, as he centralised power around himself, although there were dictatorial principles that Napoleon did not enforce so strictly, or even liberal principles which he allowed, such as plebiscites.

        After Napoleon finally brought peace in Europe in 1802, he started on leaving his mark internally on France. One of the first internal affairs was his life consulship. This made him leader of France for the rest of his life, leaving him with absolute power in France as no one could challenge him as Life Consul. Then he furthers his position as a dictator by having the right to nominate his successor, which would leave an unelected leader, also known as a dictator, and also proves that Napoleon was unchallenged in France. After centralising power he then sets about by strengthening his power. He increased personal power through his control of an enlarged senate, controlling everything not controlled by the Constitution, so Napoleon’s power by this point is almost absolute. He tops things off when he purged the Tribunate in 1802 as it criticised Code Napoleon, which was a threat to Napoleon’s absolute power, thus had its powers taken away. Proof of Napoleon’s new power was the Duc d’Enghien who was judicially murdered because he was found guilty of conspiracy, but he was kidnapped from neutral ground. The authoritarian nature of the Constitution and set up of government proved Napoleon was a dictator, because by the end of 1802 he had centralised power around himself for the rest of his life.

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        More proof that Napoleon was a dictator was the police state he set up. Across France there were Gendarmes and Prefects. The Gendarmes were a paramilitary force set up to gather intelligence for Napoleon about anyone posing a threat to Napoleon’s power, proving Napoleon as a dictator as he removes opposition. These spies under Fouché were becoming increasingly powerful, knowing vast amounts of information on plots, so Napoleon goes over their head to limit their powers and sets up a prefect of Police for Paris, which opens letters, and reports made, which was used to destroy the careers of those ...

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