This paper is aimed at discussing Napoleon Bonaparte who can be regarded as one of the most significant figures in the history of the nineteenth century. He was the military and political leader of France during the period between 1799 and 1815.
His rule produced many long-term effects inside and outside France. In particular, one can speak about various changes in the organization of many armies, transformation of national bureaucracies, and dramatic demographic losses in various countries.
His actions show that the nineteenth century was a period of significant social and political upheavals which made many nation states more oriented to the needs of people.
One can say that Napoleon’s contemporaries might have different attitudes toward him. For instance, his political opponents believed that he had been the tyrant who usurped the power against the will of the public.
To some degree, their accusations are quite justified because Napoleon overthrew the Directory and proclaimed himself as the First Consul in 1799. However, his political power was virtually unlimited.
Later, he claimed the title of an emperor, and in this way, he undermined the results of the French Revolution. Nevertheless, his supporters regarded him as an unparalleled military genius who transformed the French Army into one of the best ones in the world.
In the course of his career, Napoleon achieved more than forty victories. Moreover, approach to warfare was innovative, and it was emulated by other military commanders.
It is possible to speak about several important achievement and legacies of Napoleon. First of all, much attention should be paid to the adoption of Napoleonic Code which shaped the legislation of many counties as France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain, and other European states.
To a great extent, the adoption improved the functioning of courts and law enforcement agencies. It is possible to say that this legacy was palpable throughout the nineteenth century.
Secondly, it is important to emphasize the changes in the military organization, for instance, the increased speed of conscription and the extensive use of artillery.
However, one should not forget about the negative legacies of Napoleon. For instance, historians note that during the Napoleonic Wars, France lost approximately 1.4 million people.
These military confrontations produced disastrous demographic effects on other countries such as Austria or Russia.
Certainly, Napoleon is not the only person who can be blamed for these military conflicts; however, Napoleon could easily accept the necessity to sacrifice thousands of people in order to achieve some political or military goals.
Moreover, one should not overlook the adverse economic impacts of his rule. For instance, Napoleon’s wars with Great Britain prevented France from participating in overseas trade. Moreover, French manufacturers could not get access to many raw materials.
Modern historians recognize Napoleon’s military successes and his role in improving the work of many bureaucracies. However, they recognize that his wars ruined millions of lives.
Overall, it is important to speak about the political factors that shaped his career. In particular, one can mention the French Revolution which enabled him to rise through military ranks.
Much attention should be paid to such the military confrontations with the royalists, for instance, the Siege of Toulon or the defense of Tuileries Palace.
The political and social upheavals, which engulfed France in the eighteenth century, gave Napoleon an opportunity to display his military talent and determination.
This discussion shows that Napoleon was able to change the political landscape of the nineteenth-century Europe.
By attempting to create a global empire, he changed the political regimes in various countries and introduced legislation which improved the functioning of bureaucracies. However, his military successes produced catastrophic demographic effects in many countries.