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Was Napoleon Good Or Bad?

Updated on April 2, 2014

Napoleon; Good or Evil


I believe this question has multiple answers from different point of views so I will answer it based on the point of view of France. To France, Napoleon tried to be good. Despite his battle hungry views and his longing to “conquer the world” he was able to accomplish a few things for France that they had not seen in a long time; he had created peace for France for the first time in 10 years, he settled the problems and stabilized the republic, and he strengthened the French revolution ideas of liberty and equality.

The reason so many people automatically assume Napoleon was bad was because he was a supreme warlord. The majority of his accomplishments came from military conquests over the enemies of France. Napoleon allowed France to finally not be a pushover and to be seen more as a power in Western Europe. Obviously, since most people would consider war bad they would also consider Napoleon bad, but I think in a sense for the French people he brought about enough good changes and ideas that would shape France in the future in positive ways.

Armies all around the world operate on what is called a Napoleonic staff model; this model creates superior information and decision. However, since its main focus is destroying the enemy, the action often results in nothing else besides that. That was one of the biggest flaws in Napoleon’s style of commanding; even though he was winning battles over Europe and causing peace within France, he was not creating any allies after battle or any peace with France’s enemies.

So then again people may be posed with the question; was Napoleon bad or good? I think you can only answer this question by calling him both. Initially, to France, he was good for what he was able to accomplish and bad to his enemies because he was defeating them. In the end, he wasn’t that great for France because he left them with no allies and many men dead from battle, and somewhat good to the rest of the west for the ideas and styles of command that his legacy left behind. So what is my final answer? I would like to describe Napoleon as unsuccessfully good; his battle hungry views caused significant positive changes for France and his legacy left behind some important military tactics, although in the end he didn’t accomplish enough to be successfully good.

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