Daniel Mark Epstein marks the anniversary (this month) of the 200 years since Napoleons coronation. The Louvre has arranged an exhibit around Jacques-Louis Davids huge tableau. Epstein: "It is the celebration of a turning point in history and a controversial painter, and the illumination of a paradox at the heart of French culture." Read this short piece. Then read Paul Johnsons Napoleon, then the best history of the revolution, Simon Schamas Citizens. And, through it all, do not forget that the French Revolution produced Napoleon, while the American Revolution produced George Washington.
As Johnson says, "It does not seemed to have occurred to him [Napoleon] to study the example of his older contemporary George Washington, who translated military victory into civil progress and renounce the rule of force in favor of the rule of law."
How do you say, paradoxe in English?