..to What Extent Should Napoleon Bonaparte’s Rule in France from 1799 to 1814 Be Described as “Ruthless and Dictatorial”?

1080 Words5 Pages
To be Ruthless means to be cruel, harsh and oppressive. To be Dictatorial means personal rule, autocratic, intolerant and tyrannical. Napoleon was both ruthless and dictatorial because he established his highly autocratic, intolerant and tyrannical rule in France in complete disregard for revolutionary ideals of democratic participation and representative democracy. Although he was supposedly a part of a three-man triumvirate, Napoleon was the only one who mattered as the First Consul. All executive power was vested in him and he had direct and indirect control of the legislative process. It was direct in so far as the deliberations of the State Council could only yield laws for France if he gave his consent. It was indirect but powerful all the same in the sense that he was the only one with the authority to nominate members to the State Council. His political and administrative reforms demonstrated that he was driven by a selfish desire to secure and sustain his own power. Napoleon’s rule was dictatorial because central and local government were directly under his control. The government officials in the Senate, Tribunate, Mayors and Prefects were chosen directly and indirectly by him and were expected to implement his policies. Napoleon was dictatorial through his control of the Legislative process as laws were initiated by a Council of State chosen by him. The laws would then be discussed and voted by the Tribunate and legislative body. All these bodies were chosen by the Napoleon-appointed senate. They were however chosen from a list of candidates elected by the voters. The fact that those elections were often stage-managed to ensure the choosing of candidates loyal to Napoleon enabled him to impose his dictatorship over France. Even the possession of that executive power was not enough to satisfy his boundless ambitions for personal power as he wasted
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