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Napoleon's Foreign and Domestic Achievements

In 1797, Napoleon Bonaparte became first consul after overthrowing the Directory and establishing the Consultate. He had many achievements for France under educational, financial, administrative, legal and religious reforms. However, these achievements are often exaggerated. Napoleon was indeed the 'heir' of the revolution as he completed much of the work that the revolution had started, such as the creation of a Civil Code and the reforming of the education system. Despite this, he also destroyed much of the revolution's work. He ignored and betrayed some of the revolution's beliefs and much of his achievements were incomplete. Napoleon's achievements in Europe were mainly for his own purposes - he wanted to enhance his prestige and make France a great nation. He appears to have had little interest in helping the European people.

Napoleon, although his main achievements centered on areas such as administration, had other remarkable, although minor, achievements in France. He improved the appearance of French cities such as Paris by building bridges and canals and by planting trees at the sides of roads to protect them from the sun. This aided the beauty of Paris as it is today. Napoleon also reformed the tax system, which meant that no one was tax exempt.

One particular achievement, which may rank on the same level of importance as the Napoleonic code, but appears to be often overlooked in textbooks, is Napoleon's founding of a national education system from primary to university. The focus of his attention was secondary schools, of which he opened more. Higher education also became more available in major cities. Napoleon spent more money on education than anything else during his time in power. However, Napoleon was somewhat inefficient in this achievement. The educational system discriminated against females. Napoleon saw education as being "not suitable” for girls. Female students were to learn the v...

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