This week in history: Napoleon's coronation

By Cody Carlson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5 2012 4:28 p.m. MST

Asprey writes of the consequences of Napoleon's imperial creation: “European rulers in general, including the English king, cautiously welcomed the move as indicating an end to the danger of revolution... Liberals everywhere were dismayed and saddened. Upon learning the news, composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who had just dedicated a new symphony to his hero, furiously tore up the dedication, retitled the work “Eroica” and dedicated it to “the memory of a great man.”

For the next century-and-a-half, France continued to wrestle with the idea of an executive — subsequent republics were too unwieldy and prone to factionalism, while the Second Empire of Napoleon III ultimately proved too centralized and fragile. It was not until 1958, when Charles de Gaulle demanded more presidential power, that the Fifth Republic was established and France finally solved the problem of a powerful and responsive executive.

Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Salt Lake Community College. He is also the co-developer of the History Challenge iPhone/iPad apps. Email:

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