I wrote an essay on Napoleon, and I was wondering if you could read through it, checking for grammar errors. Though I rarely spell things wrong, I always get marks off for misusing grammar. Also any pointers on further improving the draft would be appreciated.
"We have finished the romance of the Revolution; we must now begin its history, only seeking for what is real and practicable in the application of its principles, and not what is speculative and hypothetical." This was spoken by Napoleon Bonaparte soon after he came to power. During his reign of France, Napoleon abided to the ideals of the French Revolution - liberty, equality, and fraternity. By granting religious freedom, Napoleon promoted the ideal of liberty. He also abolished the privileges of the nobility and clergy by setting up Code Napoleon. In addition, Napoleon boosted up a sense of nationalism for the French through his numerous foreign conquests. Nevertheless, Napoleon was a dictator who suppressed his oppositions unconditionally. Despite his tyranny, Napoleon still sought to advance the ideals of the Revolution.
As the Empire of the French, Napoleon supported religious tolerance in France. While acknowledging Catholicism as the main religion in France, Napoleon signed the Concordat which let the Protestants and Jewish to practice their religion and retain their civil rights. In 1807, he called a meeting of Jewish rabbis to further discuss their congregation in relation to the French state. Though his main objective was to remove friction between government and religion, Napoleon¡¯s granting of religious freedom furthered the ideal of liberty.
In addition to religious tolerance, Code Napoleon was set up to ensure equal treatment before the law and in taxation for all citizens. Napoleon abolished the privilege of tax exemption of the nobility and clergy so the tax burden was no longer on the shoulders of the peasants alone. Furthermore, he opened access to positions for people with abilities and rewarded true talent, on the basis of equality. By eliminating feudal rights and privileges, Napoleon recognized the principle of equality.
On top of abiding to the principle of equality, Napoleon used his military genius to conquer vast foreign territories, giving the French a sense of national identity. ¡°Citizens are put in national armies and national schools. National flag and anthem supplant royal ensign and hymn." Napoleon¡¯s many military victories included the conquest of Italy and the defeat of the coalition force of Austria and Russia in the battle of Austerlitz. His gift for propaganda was essential for these victories as Napoleon sought to inspire his troops by appealing to their morale and their love of France. ¡°All of you are consumed with a desire to extend the glory of the French people,¡± said Napoleon addressing to his troops in the Italian campaign. Through his military conquests, Napoleon recognized the ideal of fraternity by fostering patriotism among French citizens.
However, Napoleon¡¯s thirst for power inevitably betrayed the ideal of the Revolution. Though he divided the central government into three consuls, Napoleon dominated most of the decision-makings himself. He controlled the press and education in order to regulate public opinion. ¡°I shall never allow the newspapers to say anything contrary to my interest,¡± wrote Napoleon in his letter to the minister of police. The freedom to express political thought, a principal goal of the Revolution, was never achieved under Napoleon¡¯s military dictatorship.
Napoleon was both an idealist and pragmatist. He stood for the ideals of the Revolution by granting religious freedom, eliminating feudal rights, and fostering nationalism. Yet he was practical enough to maintain a firm grip on power. It was his pragmatism that led him to establish a dictatorial government which went against the ideal of liberty. Though the full ideals of the Revolution were not achieved, Napoleon abided by these ideals the best he could while maintaining a military dictatorship.
Anyone who can discuss the politics of pragmatism VS idealism as it applies to revolution and dictatorships can use a simple style guide and a grammar guide. You can find these guides in book stores, the library, or the Internet; you know, the same places you lifted this research material that "you" wrote.