Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Crow and the Emperor
"I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of birth or wealth, wherever I found it. I abolished feudalism and restored equality to all regardless of religion and before the law. I fought the decrepit monarchies of the Old Regime because the alternative was the destruction of all this. I purified the Revolution."
~ Napoleon Bonaparte
My friend Crow who met the Emperor many years ago had this to say about him:
For all his faults, (he had some world class ones) Napoleon's greatest achievements, other than in battle, were in the field of law, the arts, government, and civil reform. Wherever the writ of the French Empire ran, there were basic civil rights, freedom of religion, hospitals and orphanages.The Code Civil, better known as the Code Napoleon has survived and thrived to this day, and gave France its first written code of law. It is also a part of the laws of Italy, Germany, and parts of the United States.
He revamped French education, instituted the precursor of the metric system, granted full citizenship to the Jewish people, granted freedom of worship for all denominations, encouraged industrialization and agriculture, built roads, bridges, harbors, drained swamps, encouraged and sponsored the arts, established the first governmental office to oversea France's natural resources, planted trees, balanced his budgets, put France on a stable economic footing, brought the smallpox vaccination to the continent, encouraged the use of gas lighting, and opened careers in France to talented people, not caring if they were peasant or noble, middle class or fanatic, as long as they would serve honestly and loyally.
Napoleon also established the Legion of Honor as a system to recognize those who had served France in an extraordinary capacity, be they military or civilian. He also established fire departments, hospitals, and orphanages. The fact that not one European nation alone could defeat him is testimony to his greatness. It required not only the combined forces of Russia, England, Austria and Prussia to remove him from power, they needed treachery and deceit to remove him for good. His position in history is positively unique, there never was another character quite like him and there never will be again.
At 5'7", the Emperor wasn't short either. That was propaganda. Yes, everyone has faults and Napoleon Bonaparte's major fault was that he thought he could make the world a fair place by force.
Unfortunately, now we have those who embrace the idea of force while forgetting the principal of fairness:
Quote of the week:
“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests”
~ John Stuart Mill