I seldom add a comment on these 'A Chesterton Calendar' entries, because I usually find in them nothing to disagree with, but I can't let this pass. Chesterton (and Belloc) had a blind spot a mile wide when it came to the Revolution of 1789. It was inspired by Satan, and planned in the Lodges of the Synagogue of Satan. There were no 'best men of the Revolution'. Their degree of evil may have varied, but they were all evil. Napoleon is no exception. How GKC could even entertain the thought that Napoleon, oppressor of the Church, who kidnapped the Pope to force His Holiness to 'crown' him as a faux, usurping 'Emperor', and then seized the crown from the Pope's hands to 'crown' himself, setting himself above God and His Church, is beyond me!
The best men of the Revolution were simply common men at their best. This is why our age can never understand Napoleon. Because he was something great and triumphant, we suppose that he must have been something extraordinary, something inhuman. Some say he was the Devil; some say he was the Superman. Was he a very, very bad man? Was he a good man with some greater moral code? We strive in vain to invent the mysteries behind that immortal mask of brass. The modern world with all its subtleness will never guess his strange secret; for his strange secret was that he was very like other people.
Chesterton, G. K.. The G. K. Chesterton Collection [50 Books] (Kindle Locations 44659-44665). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.