What were Napoleon's lasting achievements?

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saintfester eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Napoleon Bonaparte’s legacy is as vast as the career of the man. He made huge contributions to both military and political theory that still affects western society today.

Militarily, he reorganized his entire military and command structure, making the waging of war much more modern. Reintroducing cavalry, streamlining staffing at the command level, and massed artillery barrages to help break up formations were just a few of the concepts perfected by Napoleon that continue to resonate and be studied in war colleges across the world. His focus on destruction rather than simple outmaneuvering of an army also continues to influence current military theory.

Although some considered him a tyrant, he finally ended the chaos of post-revolution France and brought about stability for the first time since the Bastille fell. Napoleon instituted a new system of laws known as the Napoleonic code which is still used in many countries today and shifted western law in a new direction after its introduction.

Napoleon was also one of the first rulers to truly embrace the idea of Nationalism as a revolutionary force. This concept, which would go on help forge the modern map of Europe, would also be central to the causes of many 19th and 20th century wars.

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