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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:04 PM   #1

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Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


After his first escape from Elba, why wasn't he simply executed after Waterloo? I would think that it would have been justified after so much warfare.

Was it as simple as the fact that he decided to call himself Emperor, and we don't execute sovereigns?
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:11 PM   #2

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


It might have also been better to cool off Bonapartist rallying. If you kill him, the French would be outraged. Better to let him slip into obscurity, fat and impotent and so finish off any Bonapartist dreams.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:15 PM   #3

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


I just complemented you on the other avatar and you up and change it on me!


Back to the question, how split was French society over Napoleon, pro versus con?
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Old December 7th, 2010, 12:52 PM   #4

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


Maybe I should have made my title "Chameleon" like Alciabiades haha

Bonapartism as a movement survived Napoleon I, and sought to put another Bonaparte as quickly as they could. This is purely my opinion here, but whether or not you loved Napoleon I, he did represent for the average Frenchman, a period of strength and power for their country.

The monarchy on the other hand would be remembered as the limp entity that had led to the need for the French Revolution, and was only restored after Napoleon pissed too many people off, restoring some sense of order. Still, people who remember when France was truly dominant, and that was under Napoleon. Take that away violently and it may be a symbol for a rallying cry, as well because it would have almost certainly been done by the British, the traditional foe of France.

But yes, my opinion, but I don't know.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #5

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


Perhaps one should ask instead why the authorities in Britain would never even have thought of having him executed. He had morover surrenederd himself at Rochefort, placing himself under the protection of the British, so it would hardly have been gentlemanly behaviour to kill him! He actually seems to have believed that he might be allowed to live as a country squire in England.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #6

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


Yup, the British were better than that, and made sure the Prussians didn't get their hands on him. Also, why would it be justified to kill him? You don't execute people for simply losing a war.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:05 PM   #7

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wastedgrunt36 View Post
Yup, the British were better than that, and made sure the Prussians didn't get their hands on him. Also, why would it be justified to kill him? You don't execute people for simply losing a war.
I am a massive fan of Napoleon but to be honest if it were up to me at the end of the war(s) I would have killed him. He simply posed too big of a threat for world peace at the time, imagine if he escaped again and landed somewhere volatile, he could be a catalyst for more bloodshed. There is always the theory that he was poisoned too, which means that if true he was executed in a way.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:08 PM   #8

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


he was shell of himself already at Waterloo I feel, most of his former commanders did not answer his call to arms. Ney did most of the work at Waterloo.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:26 PM   #9

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


As with so many things French, the British relationship with Napoleon was a complicated one. I suspect that more than a few British people viewed him as some kind of worthy adversary.

Executing surrendering and defeated heads of state would set an unpleasant precedent anyway. Not to mention being downright rude....

Even the exile met with some resistance in British society, Lady Holland (one of Napoleons more fervent supporters in Britain) said that

Quote:
"To consign to distant exile and imprisonment a foreign and captive Chief, who, after the abdication of his authority, relying on British generosity, had surrendered himself to us, in preference to his other enemies, is unworthy the magnanimity of a great country; "
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:27 PM   #10

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Re: Why wasn't Napoleon Executed?


He never surrendered he asked Britain for political asylum and got it. Britain wasn't a despotism like Russia, Prussia and Austria where the king can kill by royal degree at whim. He would have had to have been tried in a court if the British government wanted to execute him. He would have had a day in court and a defence and no government want's an enemy who knows your dirty laundry testifying in one of your own courts.
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