What impact did Napoleon have on Europe?


Quick Answer

Napoleon Bonaparte had a significant impact on Europe, ending the French Revolution, creating the Napoleonic code of civil law and waging conquest throughout Europe during the Napoleonic Wars. Even though Napoleon was eventually defeated by the competing empires of Great Britain, Prussia, Austria and Russia, Napoleon's ideals of freedom, social equality and the abolishing of European feudalism had a great impact on many European nations.

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Full Answer

The French Revolution was a tumultuous time in France. Political upheaval was constant, as the people of France suffered through a successive cycle of regimes taking power and then failing. Napoleon ended this when he took power. He gave the country a strong economy backed in silver and gold. He established religious freedom and low prices for basic foods to keep the citizens from starving. Not only did he improve life in France, but he established legal precedents for civil law that are still recognized today.

These legal precedents, referred to as the Napoleonic codes, divided civil law into three distinct categories: personal status, property and the acquisition of property. This system influenced many of the law systems that would subsequently develop throughout the Atlantic.

Napoleon was also one of the greatest generals in military history. He conquered many European nations and spread ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity throughout Europe. The leaders of competing empires did not like this, as it challenged the feudalism and aristocratic status quo that protected the higher echelons of society. Yet despite Napoleon's eventual defeat and exile, he had a great impact on the shaping of European politics.

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