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Old January 27th, 2012, 04:47 AM   #11

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Let me give another example of Napoleon's policies running counter to the policies of the Jacobins....

Following the decree of 'Liverty, Equality, Fraternity' to the letter, Robespierre gave the slaves in St Domingue (Haiti), Guadeloupe and Martinique their freedom, but as soon as Napoleon became emperor, he re-established slavery, and sent armies out to the colonies to put the blacks back on the plantations as slaves. That worked in Guadeloupe and Martinique, but failed in Haiti.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 04:21 PM   #12

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For any with the time and resources it should make for an interesting research project to track the fate, identities and actual political allegiances of those '130 Jacobins' summarily dispatched by Napoleon to the 'dry guillotine' of Guiana on foot of the machine infernale assassination bid.

The conventional line is that they were ex-Robespierrists, supporters of the Terror and Septembriseurs who opposed Brumaire and as such were easily scapegoated during the inevitable authoritarian backlash. Fouché's detective work pointed (correctly) at Chouanne royalists but Napoleon was intent to capitalise on the opportunity to quash all internal dissent irrespective of the actual evidence.

Truly it seems, they were the 'last of the Jacobins' or at the very least the final victims of the revolution's many extrajudicial mass round-ups. As such, or in either event you may have expected their fate to draw more attention, interpreted either as the swan song of populist radicals or in its imminent forebodings of a looming dictatorship - who knows?, with the constant avalanche of Napoleonic/French Revolutionary studies perhaps there are whole shelves devoted to the matter but as a casual reader I've yet to come across a full account.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 08:33 PM   #13
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Napoleon was always an opportunist who sought to advance his own career. Napoleon would have sought favour from whosever was running france, revolutionaries, the King, The Pope, or Alein Lizard men.

Politically later he reintroduced slavery, Reduced right for women, created a new nobility,. re introduced the Church, he favoured an ordered class system.
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Old January 10th, 2017, 11:12 PM   #14

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Originally Posted by pugsville View Post
Napoleon was always an opportunist who sought to advance his own career. Napoleon would have sought favour from whosever was running france, revolutionaries, the King, The Pope, or Alein Lizard men.
Absolutely right. Surely it's best to stay alive if you want to get on?
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Old January 11th, 2017, 02:02 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivfan View Post
Let me give another example of Napoleon's policies running counter to the policies of the Jacobins....

Following the decree of 'Liverty, Equality, Fraternity' to the letter, Robespierre gave the slaves in St Domingue (Haiti), Guadeloupe and Martinique their freedom, but as soon as Napoleon became emperor, he re-established slavery, and sent armies out to the colonies to put the blacks back on the plantations as slaves. That worked in Guadeloupe and Martinique, but failed in Haiti.
Except that's not how it worked.

No slaves were put back in Chains on Sainte-Domingue. Obviously because the French were defeated, but even then also because that WASN'T the objective of the French expedition — both Napolén and its commander made public statements to the effect that slavery would NOT be reintroduced. (The Haitians at the time had no obligation to be persuaded, but posterity has no cause to assume these weren't genuine when made.) The objective was to restore French control of the island, not slavery per se. HAD slavery been the key, he would have made it so — but if slavery was a liability Napoléon was since with dropping it in a New York minute.

Because that's how it went down on Martinique and Guedaloupe. No slave was EVER released there as an effect of the original decision made in Paris. The plantation and slave owning colonists simply reused, and not much Paris could do to enforce it, so the slaves stayed slaves regardless of the proclamation in Paris. Worse, the colonies threatened to defect to Britain in order to keep slavery. As worst Napoléon simply confirmed that actual situation on the ground by his repeal. And had he not done so, France risked losing both to Britain.

So no, he wasn't dyed-in-the-wool emancipist anti-slavery campaigner. In a choice between slavery and empire, he would chose empire every time, but slavery only if it was perceived as a temporary necessity for maintaining French control. It had no significance either way to him beyond that.
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Old January 12th, 2017, 10:49 PM   #16

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Napoleon liked the revolution, but after being apart of that revolution for a time he became to dislike the Jacobins. They stood for Chaos he stood for order, they wanted to get rid of a one man authoritarian power he wanted to establish a one man government, they supported the execution of the king he was against it, they loved the mob Napoleon feared the mob. Etc etc.

Napoleon was a revolutionary at heart but never a Jacobin, he hated the Bourbons but didn't condemn them. He was to say a little in between the Royalists and the Jacobins. Later under his reign he used from both sides the most positive measures and this would form the basis of the Napoleonic regime.
I mean Napoleon wasn't really a revolutionary. He was just a competent man with strong beliefs and a stronger self interest.

The revolution was great for Napoleon. He got a promotion.

He quickly sold out his old colleagues when the Jacobins lost power.

He had a great relationship with Barnave, one of the Republican politicians, but there was another one who almost had Napoleon executed in the siege of Marseilles, and who forced Napoleon to go over his head to save his life.

When Napoleon ruled countries, he almost always ruled through the "better people" - conservative old nobles.

In Spain, he assembled a junta to help Joseph rule that was 100% noble.

In Poland, he assembled a government under Poniatowski that was 100% noble.

In France, he went from having an 80% commoner officer corps to a 60% noble officer corps.

In Italy, he put the Church laughably in charge of implementing his "secular" constitution.

Napoleon had no ideology, he was just a pragmatist and an improviser, and he figured the people who already had the experience running a country were the best to keep running it. He would just prod them along with a hot iron rod to get better results, and cloaked his rule in liberal rhetoric.

Jacobins would be like activists in the workplace today demanding affirmative action.

The old regime are like the people who still think other races are inferior so screw affirmative action.

Napoleon would be the person who'd say, "yes, it's unfortunate, but most of the people with the resume qualifications are white"

Nothing was wrong to Napoleon which was convenient.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 03:55 AM   #17

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pugsville View Post
Napoleon was always an opportunist who sought to advance his own career. Napoleon would have sought favour from whosever was running france, revolutionaries, the King, The Pope, or Alein Lizard men.

Politically later he reintroduced slavery, Reduced right for women, created a new nobility,. re introduced the Church, he favoured an ordered class system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnincornwall View Post
Absolutely right. Surely it's best to stay alive if you want to get on?
Sorry @Pugsville and @johnincornwall your point of view is reductive and, can be, unfair.
Napoleon was clearly a Jacobin in 1792. He organised Jacobin clubs in Corsica with Saliceti. From 1789 till 1792 he was a nationalist Corsican opposed to French domination.
This two examples prove that your legend of an "opportunist Napoleon" isn't credible because it was very risky to pretend publicly being a nationalist Corsican in the first years of the Revolution and a Jacobin in a Corsica dominated by Paoli.
In his yougness, he wasn't reluctant to show his political convictions, in 1793 he published a pamphlet, "le souper de Beaucaire" (Beaucaire supper) in which he didn't hesitate to display these Republicans and Jacobin convictions, which gave him the support of Augustin Robespierre, brother of Maximillien, and it allowed him to be appointed commander of artillery during the siege of Toulon, and then a 24 years general in charge of Mediterranean fortifications with the title of commander of the artillery of the Army of Italy, after his military successes in Toulon .
In this period, he was clearly involved with Jacobins and considered as a Jacobin general and worked out an excellent plan of battle that allowed French successes in Sardinia against Austro-Sardinian forces in 1794.
Following the Thermidorian reaction in July 1794 and then the fall of Robespierre, Napoleon was arrested and imprisoned in Nice for around 2 weeks.
Thanks the help of his fellow friend Antoine Christophe Salicetti, he was acquitted and released.
Therefore we can claim with certainty that he was ambitious but surely not "opportunist". The young Bonaparte was a man of convictions.
He was still perceived as a clear anti-royalist ans was engaged by the government in the war of Vendee in 1795, he refused because he didn't want to be too much far away of his first great love (Desiree Clary).
You can grant that if he was opportunist he would has gone in Vendee, on the contrary he was very independent. Because of his disobedience, he was dismissed from his rank of general and faced a difficult financial situation and reduced career prospects in mid September 1795.
In october 1795, a royalist rebellion made that he was reintegrated in his rank of general and put in charge to counteract the insurrection.
He retained of his yougness convictions, the typical trend for centralization and social progressist laws as those mentioned in the civilian code.

@Pugsdville
About your "argues", it seems you're keen on long lists of biased and caricatural argues that denigrate Napoleon.

1 Slavery: He restablished slavery for "economical" reasons about Saint Domingue island, the main world sugar producer of these times, he didn't do it by conviction but by pragmatism.
What a monster!
It's true that your so dear British didn't reestablish slavery .....because they didn't abolish it.
British and Napoleonic history is a long "love story".

2 "Reduction of right of woman". It seems you 're really attached to this legend because you repeat it often
If it's true that in Napoleonic code the right of the wife is a little bit inferior to this of the husband (in particular about divorce), I don't see how we can say that he reduced them given that they weren't really protected by the law before.
On the contrary, the civilian code precised rights and duties of each members of the couple and it was not only innovative, in accordance with the spirit of the revolution and a real social progress in the world of the 1800's.
Dear @Pugsville, could you recall to historumites, what were the rights of women in the so perfect and so exemplary Great Britain of this time?
Social progress in Great Britain was limited to the rights that kids gained to work in the coal mines.

3 New nobility. Yes, but by the merit and so what! rich classes didn't exist at this period and doesn't they still exist today.
Napoleon was no longer a pure Jacobin, he had to lead a country, he was pragmatic and knew that he needed the support of a social dominant class.
But we can note a very important difference in the Napoleonic nobility: no longer conditions of origin, if you were the child of an innkeeper you could became count.
This didn't exist in your so perfect Great Britain excepted, maybe, some very rare exceptions.

4 He reintroduced church. So what, he reestablished social peace, and wanted to restore peace and social order in certain French regions, because many insurrections were caused by anticlericalism.
Napoleon himself wasn't a fervent believer, but as i claimed it above, he had a country to lead.

5 "He favoured an order class system".
You should be surprised if you knew better what was Jacobinism!
At the beginning of the Revolution, Jacobin were favorable of a constitutional Monarchy this is absolutely not in contradiction with what you refer.
Even if in 1793-94 Jacobins ideas hardened (terror, wars, royalist insurrections), this doesn't mean that Jacobinism is intrisically opposed to an order of class system.
Some of them were moderate progressist and are still very famous like Hebert and Danton.
Kind regards,

Last edited by phil1904; January 13th, 2017 at 04:23 AM.
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Old January 13th, 2017, 12:46 PM   #18

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Quote:
Originally Posted by phil1904 View Post
Sorry @Pugsville and @johnincornwall your point of view is reductive and, can be, unfair.
Napoleon was clearly a Jacobin in 1792. He organised Jacobin clubs in Corsica with Saliceti. From 1789 till 1792 he was a nationalist Corsican opposed to French domination.
This two examples prove that your legend of an "opportunist Napoleon" isn't credible because it was very risky to pretend publicly being a nationalist Corsican in the first years of the Revolution and a Jacobin in a Corsica dominated by Paoli.
In his yougness, he wasn't reluctant to show his political convictions, in 1793 he published a pamphlet, "le souper de Beaucaire" (Beaucaire supper) in which he didn't hesitate to display these Republicans and Jacobin convictions, which gave him the support of Augustin Robespierre, brother of Maximillien, and it allowed him to be appointed commander of artillery during the siege of Toulon, and then a 24 years general in charge of Mediterranean fortifications with the title of commander of the artillery of the Army of Italy, after his military successes in Toulon .
In this period, he was clearly involved with Jacobins and considered as a Jacobin general and worked out an excellent plan of battle that allowed French successes in Sardinia against Austro-Sardinian forces in 1794.
Following the Thermidorian reaction in July 1794 and then the fall of Robespierre, Napoleon was arrested and imprisoned in Nice for around 2 weeks.
Thanks the help of his fellow friend Antoine Christophe Salicetti, he was acquitted and released.
Therefore we can claim with certainty that he was ambitious but surely not "opportunist". The young Bonaparte was a man of convictions.
He was still perceived as a clear anti-royalist ans was engaged by the government in the war of Vendee in 1795, he refused because he didn't want to be too much far away of his first great love (Desiree Clary).
You can grant that if he was opportunist he would has gone in Vendee, on the contrary he was very independent. Because of his disobedience, he was dismissed from his rank of general and faced a difficult financial situation and reduced career prospects in mid September 1795.
In october 1795, a royalist rebellion made that he was reintegrated in his rank of general and put in charge to counteract the insurrection.
He retained of his yougness convictions, the typical trend for centralization and social progressist laws as those mentioned in the civilian code.

@Pugsdville
About your "argues", it seems you're keen on long lists of biased and caricatural argues that denigrate Napoleon.

1 Slavery: He restablished slavery for "economical" reasons about Saint Domingue island, the main world sugar producer of these times, he didn't do it by conviction but by pragmatism.
What a monster!
It's true that your so dear British didn't reestablish slavery .....because they didn't abolish it.
British and Napoleonic history is a long "love story".

2 "Reduction of right of woman". It seems you 're really attached to this legend because you repeat it often
If it's true that in Napoleonic code the right of the wife is a little bit inferior to this of the husband (in particular about divorce), I don't see how we can say that he reduced them given that they weren't really protected by the law before.
On the contrary, the civilian code precised rights and duties of each members of the couple and it was not only innovative, in accordance with the spirit of the revolution and a real social progress in the world of the 1800's.
Dear @Pugsville, could you recall to historumites, what were the rights of women in the so perfect and so exemplary Great Britain of this time?
Social progress in Great Britain was limited to the rights that kids gained to work in the coal mines.

3 New nobility. Yes, but by the merit and so what! rich classes didn't exist at this period and doesn't they still exist today.
Napoleon was no longer a pure Jacobin, he had to lead a country, he was pragmatic and knew that he needed the support of a social dominant class.
But we can note a very important difference in the Napoleonic nobility: no longer conditions of origin, if you were the child of an innkeeper you could became count.
This didn't exist in your so perfect Great Britain excepted, maybe, some very rare exceptions.

4 He reintroduced church. So what, he reestablished social peace, and wanted to restore peace and social order in certain French regions, because many insurrections were caused by anticlericalism.
Napoleon himself wasn't a fervent believer, but as i claimed it above, he had a country to lead.

5 "He favoured an order class system".
You should be surprised if you knew better what was Jacobinism!
At the beginning of the Revolution, Jacobin were favorable of a constitutional Monarchy this is absolutely not in contradiction with what you refer.
Even if in 1793-94 Jacobins ideas hardened (terror, wars, royalist insurrections), this doesn't mean that Jacobinism is intrisically opposed to an order of class system.
Some of them were moderate progressist and are still very famous like Hebert and Danton.
Kind regards,
Great points as always Phil. I'd like to add that one of the more popular but false misconceptions going around is that the Jacobins abolished the Church. The Church in fact did continue to exist under the Jacobins albeit reduced in power and with the clergy functioning more as civil servants who were paid by the state and whose members swore an oath to uphold state constitution.

Certainly Napoleon's relations with the Jacobins was every bit as complex as he was, but you're absolutely correct, for someone to claim that Napoleon was an opportunist is to reduce this complex man into some caricature. I guess some people are still manipulated by English anti-Napoleon cartoons circa 1798-1803.

As for slavery and gender equality, I think its rather unfair to hold him by modern standards in regards to race and gender. But as you said, the status of women was definitely better under the 1st Empire than it was under the ancien regime. Sure he restablished slavery in the colonies, but I believe the institution of slavery still remained banned within France intself.

Its also a bit funny how his detractors remain quiet on the emancipation of Jews under Napoleon's policies.

Wether some people like it or not, Napoleon has largely been a positive force in history; banned the inquisition, shut down the Jewish ghettos, and of course what I believe to be one of his more important contibution, public education. The man made modern France and modern Europe and this rather tiresome anglo-centric bias against him is quite frankly annoying. He should in fact be known as Napoleon the Great.

In fact this book will get some people knickers in a bunch:Napoleon the Great (Andrew Roberts)

https://www.amazon.com/Napoleon-Grea.../dp/1846140277

Last edited by seneschal; January 13th, 2017 at 12:55 PM.
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