Was Napoleon Bonaparte An Enlightened Despot Or Absolutism?

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Over the years, many historians have argued over if Napoleon Bonaparte is an enlightened despot or a restorer of absolutism. An absolute monarch is one who has absolute rule over their subjects. Their actions are not restricted by law, and they can restrict the rights of citizens, such as freedom of speech and press. Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, came into power through over throwing the directory through a Coup d’etat. He didn’t let much get in his way to make France a supreme power. Bonaparte also made sure only good was said about him. Napoleon Bonaparte was a dictator who sent France back to the ages of Absolutism, because he corrupted the people’s viewpoints, got rid of many revolutionary ideas, and spied…show more content…
Through the Napoleonic Code, France was given a set of laws that all of the empire followed, but this actually limited rights. Freedom of speech and press were gone. This goes against key enlightened thinker ideas, such as Voltaire and Locke. Also, Napoleon only let four newspapers out of fifty-plus in Paris be published. The four that supported everything he did and said, manipulating the words to make it sound as though Napoleon was always right. Also, during the French Revolution, the woman had many rights. After Napoleon came to power, women were regarded as property to their husband and could not exchange in commerce. Women could divorce their husband, but the process was a difficult one and they had to wait ten months to get remarried. Napoleon saw woman as slaves to their husband. Essentially, the cons outweigh the pros. The French Revolution abolished slavery in France and all of its territories, declaring every man free and equal. It’s an “overlooked fact that [...] Napoleon re introduced slavery in the French colonies.”(Napoleon: Revolutionary or Tyrant?) This angered the people of Haiti, who then started a revolution of their own, resulting in France having to sell the Louisiana Purchase, no longer needing it. Napoleon Bonaparte showed that he was an absolute monarch by getting rid of many key revolutionary ideas, leaving a lasting impact on the

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