A Republican Emperor

Napoleon, a leading republican of Europe, was willing to become Emperor of France. Republican France welcomed Napoleon as Emperor. There may be a lesson or two to be learned from that bit of not very distant history.

Napoleon did bring reforms to Europe in the fields of science, education, and in a variety of cultural areas. Those works of his could be called republican.

The legal system called the Napoleonic Code influenced most of the West and some of the East. It is extent in the U.S. state of Lousiana today.

Napoleon was a warrior, a leader of armies. Some say he won a war against Russia. To attack Russia he left France with about half a million men, the largest army ever assembled in Europe until that time. He returned home with about 20,000 men and “the shirt on his back.”

He met his Waterloo in a battle against Prussia, in which Prussia saved Britain’s bacon.

After Waterloo, Great Britain, Spain, Prussia, Russia, and others joined one another for suppressing liberal movements throughout Europe.

Lessons may begin with questions like>

  • Why do the histories of many revolutions seem revolting?
  • Why might a republican be willing to become an emperor?
  • For what ought the citizens of a republic be responsible?
  • Where is your revolution headed?


by Richard Sheehan                                                                                                                              for Mago Bill


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