Napoleon's legacy changed 19th century thinking

Napoleon's legacy changed 19th century thinking

If there is a remarkable figure from the 19th century, it is Napoleon Bonaparte. He is only capable of configuring an entire epoch in history, not only French, but also worldwide. He lived at the most crucial moment in contemporary history and became a child of the revolution. In his ideals, Jacobin and Girondin ideas converged. During the 13 years he was in power, he remained faithful to ideals that would endure, not only throughout the century, but to this day.

Above all, Napoleon was a warrior, an exceptional military man who minted his prestige on the battlefield. He left for posterity a change in the war. They were no longer just armies against armies, but with the principle of "the nation in arms" and the general mobilization of the country in the face of danger, the invaders would have to defeat the army and occupy the entire territory en masse.

The central ideas of the napoleonic war They were numerical superiority, concentration of effort, the need to cover the entire theater of operations, mobility, and the importance of the surprise factor. The army was divided into 3: passive, active and reserve. But without a doubt, tactics were what came to be proclaimed as Napoleon's basic principle. The main tactics carried out were the enveloping maneuvers (Ulm, 1805) and the interior lines (Austerlitz, 1805). Without the tactics, the French general's army would have succumbed in both confrontations.

As a politician, he made two premises clear: “My talent is to see clearly" Y "High politics is nothing but good sense applied to great things”. Therefore, his mandate was based on the clarity of actions and common sense. On this basis, he issued different laws that, according to his words, were founded "in moderation, order and justice”.

In 1804, Napoleon created the Civil Code, which would help greatly to pacify the revolutionary situation in which France was plunged. His first years in power were oriented to consolidate the Revolution and to calm the situation in which the country was.

When he proclaimed himself emperor in 1804, in reality, he was still ruling on the same principles. However, his ideas evolved into runaway imperialism. His phrase: "I am the successor of Charlemagne”, He lets us see what moved the French military. Napoleon's supreme aspiration was to revive the Holy Roman Empire.. He wanted to be recognized as an equal by the rest of the European royal houses.

This point made him marry Marie Louise of Habsburg in 1810. He thought that by becoming related to a royal house as old as the Habsburgs, he would gain more prestige. Also in order to increase his honor, when he was proclaimed emperor, he asked Pope Pius VII to do so, as was done in ancient times with the ancient Roman emperors.

In its final years, imperialism and the lust for power were mixed with the aim of reestablishing revolutionary ideas throughout Europe. He no longer only longed to form an empire, but he saw that the revolution for which he had worked so hard would end up being reduced by the European absolutist states.

Definitely, Napoleon was a "son of the revolution", as they baptized him. He was a brilliant general but a politician who ended up letting his imperialism and desire for recognition consume him. He left a legacy of laws that would be applied to this day, such as the Civil Code. He himself, in his memoirs in Santa Elena, affirmed it like this: “My real thing is not that I have won sixty battles, but that I gave France the Civil Code”. But without a doubt, his greatest inheritance were the revolutionary embryos that he sowed among all the European courts, which would eventually explode in the different revolutions that took place throughout the 19th century.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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