NAPOLEON AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

May 6th, 2015
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"We have finished the romance of the Revolution, we must now begin its history, only seeking for what is real and practicable in the application of its principles, and not what is speculative and hypothetical."

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NAPOLEON AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTIONNAPOLEON AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION "We have finished the romance of the Revolution, we must now begin its history, only seeking for what is real and practicable in the application of its principles, and not what is speculative and hypothetical." After Brumaire (9-10 Nov. 1799) --the coup d'etat which first set Napoleon on the path to becoming the supreme executive of a French empire-- Napoleon declared, "The Revolution is made fast on the principles on which it began; the Revolution is finished." Since this famous utterance came so soon after he gained power, it is clear that Napoleon was saying something significant about what the role of his new-born regime would be to those which had preceded it. Like the man himself, this quote and the one at the head of this page are both highly complex and ambiguous. He is declaring that the new regime was both a break from the immediate past and part of a continuity with that past. What was Napoleon's relationship to the Revolution? To what extent was he its heir or its betrayer? Did he save the Revolution or liquidate it? Napoleon clearly felt, like the Jacobins,

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