Events Throughout History That Have Changed Us – History Essay
Throughout global history, there have been turning points that have led to lasting change. The changes often occur for various reasons because of different events. These
events have been witnessed all around the world from Capitalist America to Communist China. The French Revolution is a prime example of people wanting change, for different reasons. The rise of Napoleon Bonaparte as consulate of France is a turning point that caused changes that we still see today.
After the execution of Louis XVI, there were multiple government changes. The instability of the government caused various people to come to power. The French writer Voltaire once complained, “A man traveling across France would have to change laws as often as he changed horses.” The people of France wanted some stability and their lives.
Napoleon Bonaparte took full advantage of the people’s want for a government that was stable. After overthrowing the Directory, the French government, in 1799, Bonaparte had a new constitution drafted, which made France a dictatorship, giving him total control of the government. Although he took total control, one of Bonaparte’s first goals was to reconstruct the government. He tried to keep revolutionary ideas, but replaced elected officials from local government with people he appointed. Some other changes that occurred under Bonaparte were establishment of technical school, universities and secondary schools, which were controlled by the government. He also established the Bank of France, which help to change the financial system of France. Every citizen was required to pay taxes; it helped relieved inflation, high prices, and more importantly the debt of France.
Perhaps the most important contributions that had real lasting change, was Napoleon’s approach to French law. Bonaparte once said, “What the French people want, is equality, not liberty.” He did just that. The Napoleonic Code was based on Enlightenment ideas of the time, like equality of all citizens before law and religious toleration. Although it took away freedom of speech and allowed censorship, the French people had been craving for this stability. The Napoleonic Code was not limited to just France.
After his death, nations around the world adopted similar law codes. States in America such as New York and Louisiana have civil and criminal codes based on those of Napoleon. Several other states used Bonaparte’s code of law as a model, for their own. The U.S. federal government also uses some Napoleon’s ideas of law.
Change is all around us. It is human nature to want change, to want to a better way of life. When someone comes to power and provides stability to a government, in turmoil, people will support. Napoleon Bonaparte coming to power in France was a major turning point in world history, which has had lasting changes that can be seen today.