Why Is Napoleon Seen as a Villain Historically?
Napoleon is the most mysterious and contradicting figure in world history. He has been spoken about for centuries. Thousands of scientists argue about him, and artists still draw his portraits. What role did he play in the development of humanity? Is he really a villain? Millions of people that suffered from his invasion would agree that he was pure evil, and a great number of scientists would support that idea. But there are also a lot of researches that claim Napoleon Bonaparte to be a master tactician and military genius.
I agree that he was a genius, but an evil genius. Let us start the analysis of Napoleon as a villain. He was a student in military school, and even there, where strict rules were the main source of discipline, he commended himself as a haughty student.
In 1792, he was enlisted in the National Guard, which was led by the moderate revolutionist marquis Lafayette, and Napoleon was chosen as a lieutenant colonel. But it was too low a title for him. He used different forceful ways to become the commander of the National Guard’s battalion. From that time, he started his career as a tyrant as soon as he understood that force and strength would lead him to victory.
During the period of the Revolution, a low-minded tyrant was permitted to rule with the most frightful despotism, whose anxiety for liberty had shortly before rendered them unable to endure the rule of a humane and lawful sovereign (Scott, 1839). And Napoleon rose as an emperor and power-hungry tyrant. Having crowned himself as ruler, Napoleon claimed himself as a protector of principles and rules established by the French Revolution (McLynn, 2009). Whether Napoleon saved or suppressed the progress made from the French Revolution is a debatable question. If his ego and personal agenda had not overtaken him, he might have been one of France’s greatest revolutionary leaders (in sustaining its principles).
In the end, Napoleon was regarded by almost all of Europe as a dictator and tyrant. It is hard to say he aided the revolutionary progress when he himself abolished many of its principles and reestablished a monarchy himself. How can a person not be called a villain if he planned to invade Russia to defeat the 1st and 2nd Western armies? Also, Napoleon wanted to dictate in St. Petersburg. He then planned to defeat the United Kingdom, after which Napoleon would foresee real domination in the world.
McLynn, Frank. (2009). Heroes & villains: Inside the minds of the greatest warriors in history. Random House.
Scott, Walter. (1839). The life of Napoleon. Philadelphia: E.L. Carey and A. Hart.