How did Napoleon impact society today?

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon has affected today’s society in several ways. Napoleon developed something called the Napoleonic Code. This was a series of laws that brought a sense of order and fairness to France. Prior to this code, people in France benefited based on their status because there wasn’t a uniform set of laws throughout France. The Napoleonic Code treated everybody equally, and it gave people who were poor a sense of hope that they could rise out of their condition of poverty. Some of these ideas were represented in the French Revolution that also served as the model for revolutions in other countries.

Napoleon also believed in treating the people he conquered fairly. This helped people in places he conquered be less likely to revolt against him. However, in conquest, Napoleon taught us another lesson. Conquering too much land may lead to your downfall. Napoleon’s desired to control all of Europe backfired. His attempt to blockade Great Britain and invade Russia weren’t successful and led to his demise. Germany, over a hundred years later, failed to learn from Napoleon’s error when they tried to invade the Soviet Union.

The United States benefitted from Napoleon’s rule. When Napoleon decided he wanted to conquer Europe, he decided to sell French land in North America to the United States. This led to the Louisiana Purchase that helped our country grow faster than it would probably have grown in the 1800s. Doubling the size of our country enhanced the goals of Manifest Destiny. By growing domestically as fast as we did, in part because of the amount of land gained in the Louisiana Purchase, allowed us to be ready to expand internationally around 1900, making us a world power. This world power status still exists today.