Was Napoleon a Hero or a Villain?

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for French Revolution


The French Revolution - Napoleon: Hero or Villain?

Example



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Activity Overview


The impact of Napoleon Bonaparte on the development of France has been the subject of a vast quantities of historical research. This research reveals Napoleon as an individual with complex motivations and personal struggles. He holds a place of honor in French history, but were his actions ultimately helpful or harmful?

In order to analyze his actions, students will create a timeline of Napoleon’s life that tries to answer the question: “Was Napoleon a Hero or a Villain?” The timeline must include:

  • Napoleon’s domestic policies
    • How he dealt with the French Revolution
    • Slavery
    • Women

  • Napoleon’s efforts to create an empire
    • Conflicts with Britain
    • Conflicts with Spain
    • Invasion of Russia

The timeline should include 8-10 cells, but adjust accordingly for your needs. Use a color-coding system in the title text boxes to indicate whether you think Napoleon is being heroic (Blue), villainous (Red) or a combination of both (White).


Suggested Events for a Napoleon Timeline

  • 1795 - Napoleon defends the National Convention
  • 1802 - Napoleon seizes power
  • 1803 - Napoleon centralizes power
  • 1805 - Battle of Trafalgar
  • 1807 - The Empire at its Largest
  • 1808 - Mistakes in Spain and Britain
  • 1812 - Napoleon Invades Russia
  • 1815 - Escape from Elba
  • 1815 - Battle of Waterloo


Extended Activity

The storyboards that students just created can be used as the base for a persuasive essay. Students could also research the tomb of Napoleon. Students should use this research to address the question: “Why did the French people build a tomb of this scope to Napoleon?”


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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a timeline of Napoleon's life and identify whether or not his actions make him a hero or a villain.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Add additional cells as needed.
  3. Identify and describe several of Napoleon's policies and efforts to create an empire.
  4. Color code the title boxes: heroic (blue), villainous (red), or both (white).
  5. Create illustrations using appropriate scenes, characters, and items.
  6. Save and submit your storyboard.
Blank Timeline Template

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