Napoleon Bonaparte was a major progressive force in a Europe that did not always appreciate progress. He brought political and economic stability to France, promoted religious freedom and tolerance, especially for the Jews, and worked to preserve the best ideals of the French Revolution. Napoleon believed in equality of opportunity, and created an educational system designed to make that possible. He was tireless in his efforts to improve the lives of the French and all who came under his protection. In short, Napoleon stood as a barrier against the forces of reaction and repression, and ushered in a new millennium of enlightenment.
And yet, today many people see Napoleon as a warmonger, determined to rule a continent and to gain absolute power. The seven coalitions of powers against Revolutionary and Napoleonic somehow became the ‘Napoleonic Wars.' The progressive reforms that Napoleon brought to Europe somehow became French and Napoleonic Imperialism. The forces of reaction promoted those ideas in his time, and many historians have continued to promote those myths today. Napoleonic history is marred with myth, falsehoods and erroneous judgments that too many people accept as fact.
Scholars seek the truth, and objective Napoleonic scholarship will reveal a very different story from that which is told all too often. We believe that solid academic research, free from the influence of those myths and falsehoods, will reveal the true story of Napoleon and his times. While no man is a saint and no great leader is flawless, the true story of Napoleon is far different from that which is still presented by many historians and writers. The INS is dedicated to giving historians a forum to present the results of their research, and to providing an objective voice of reason as this and future generations develop their understanding of one of history's greatest figures.
Coat of Arms of the French First Empire