Napoleon: The Hero of France and Nemesis of Many
This above Video is a Documentary on Napoleon
Corsica, on August 15th, 1769, Carlo Bonaparte and Letizia Ramolino were blessed with a baby boy. Although he was the fourth child of the couple he was the second who survived the birth. Who knew the baby who survived the birth would have such ambitious dreams that would defy the world order?
The Buonaparte family were one of the nobles in Corsica but they weren’t wealthy. They were what you would call today, a middle-class family. But the prodigy of the family Napoleon took the family name to the heights that no one could ever imagine.
The more money you get, the more the need for it rises. The avarice of wealth trapped him and he was determined towards prominence. When Napoleon’s father died in 1785, he left behind debt for his family. Napoleon took this as a challenge and spent initial years gathering wealth. During this period he also indulged himself in consuming luxuries and purchases of properties. With time and power, he had enough he carried gold cassettes with him. He was already a quick thinker and smart-witted man. He was a man of intellect that he utilized just fine but at the same time he was a narcissist and a puritan. Just as easily he was intent on money, he was also driven towards carnal desires. When he was eighteen, he had sex with a prostitute but did not have a good experience. He later called it a mere sensation and declared that sex is harmful to society.
Napoleon started his military career back in 1785 as a second lieutenant. When the French Revolution spread like wildfire in 1789, Napoleon entered the Jacobin Club. Jacobin Club was established in 1789. It was a group of wealthy and pro-democratic party members. But due to a conflict with the Corsican governor in 1793, the Buonaparte family had to take a step back and left the island of Corsica. Meanwhile, Napoleon continued with his military career.
It was at this time when Napoleon got in touch with Augustin Robespierre as he was a key member of the Jacobin Club. He was also the one who was responsible for the famous Reign of Terror in the year 1793 against those who opposed the revolution. By now Napoleon was promoted to the Brigadier General of the army. But a year later in July 1794, Augustin was guillotined and Napoleon was under house arrest for quite a number of days as he was found to be associated with the Robespierre brothers.
But a man like Napoleon was never away from success, in 1795 he got promoted yet again to the post of Major General. When he was asked to invade England in 1795 by the Directory or the Directors who were governing France at that time, he stood his ground and boldly claimed that the French Navy was not competent enough yet to go to battle with the British Navy and it would only be a loss of wealth and lives if they go down that road.
Napoleon was indeed a widely celebrated leader in France but like every other human, he had his insecurities- one was his height. He was considered a small built leader. Although there’s no precise record of his height, it is widely believed that he was just five foot four inches. Whereas some believe that he was taller than five foot seven. The dynamics of his life give us a fascinating overview of his personality. His heroism and his boldness in approaching things are well documented.
Napoleon was quite popular among his troops. He use to spend quality time with his troops like eating, sharing food, and having social discussions. His troops were fiercely loyal to him and were willing to follow him in difficult battlefield situations.
Napoleon was also a great strategist and his policies and battle plans were truly brilliant, as he could achieve commendable results in battlefield with a lot lesser resources in his hand. He came up with another strategy to break the British Empire. He suggested invading Egypt and killing the trade link between Britain and India and harming the British Empire economically. This might be the first strike in the history on the economic growth of a nation. It was a successful ambush and the French army was victorious against the Mamluks in the Battle of Pyramids in the year 1798.
It was later when he met Josephine that he had happiness in his personal life. The love of his life- Josephine was a widow and six years older than Napoleon. He met her at the age of twenty-six and married her in March 1796. He was madly in love with his wife, he frequently wrote letters to her and even adopted her son. But Josephine betrayed his trust and had many affairs while being married to Napoleon, which devastated him. This heartbreak of him was widely celebrated by many people to cause him embarrassment. Later he found comfort in his mistress named Pauline Bellisle during the Egyptian campaign. She became famously known as Cleopatra. Later on, Napoleon had many mistresses too and he had illegitimate children, but Josephine wasn’t able to bless him with an heir. Stress in their relationship ultimately resulted in their separation.
With a higher post, the dreams goals ambitions, and strength to turn them into reality only increased. In 1796, Napoleon marched toward the Austrian army and defeated them in the blink of an eye, figuratively speaking. This immensely increased the stature and fear of Napoleon in the mind of the Foes of the French. Because of the terror nations and armies had for Napoleon, there was a truce between Austria and France soon in 1797. This treaty was called Campo Formino which provided France with desired territorial growth.
But while Napoleon was away from Egypt and conquering the Austrian territories the British Navy at the Nile utilized this opportunity and attacked the stranded army of Napoleon. It is said that an army is only as good as a leader. But an army without a leader like Napoleon could never adjust to the fact that he was not leading them anymore. This became the prime reason for the defeat of France in the Battle of Nile in 1798. Napoleon was great and feared by many, but he had limitations too, he could not be at every battle and many battles were happening simultaneously.
In 1799 when the French Armies in Egypt tried to invade Ottoman Empire or Syria, they faced many difficulties and lost the attempted siege. But the political situation in France was degrading and unfortunately, Napoleon had to abandon his army and leave for France at once. This caused even more losses for the French army at Syrian Bay. Napoleon was not as sad at the fact that he had to abandon his army and face that kind of defeat but he was smart. He knew, if he survived, he will achieve a lot more. For him, winning the war was much more important than a small battle and that is the real identity of a true military leader.
And a man like Napoleon had dreams bigger than what you may call extravagant. Later in 1799, Napoleon overthrew the Directory of France. He led a coup and was highly successful in the venture. France was now governed by the Consulate, A group of three members. Napoleon was the First and Prime Consul of the group. As a result of his efforts, the military might of France increased. In 1800, the French Army under the direct orders and guidance of Napoleon defeated the Austrian army again in Italy and the Austrian Army had to step out of Italian borders.
In 1801, he got married to Marie Louise who was just 19 years old. They had a child together named Napoleon Francis Joseph Charles who was known as King of Rome. Later, he died young- at the age of twenty-one in 1832. Napoleon and Marie stayed married until he died. Even after being married to Marie, Napoleon never lost his love for Josephine. He was extremely sad and devastated by the news of Josephine’s death in 1814 and he even isolated himself from the world when he was in exile on Elba. Josephine carried his whole heart with her, and her death devastated him. Even after the young death of Napoleon’s heir, he had many illegitimate children to carry his legacy.
With every victory Napoleon had in the battles filed, his power increased and his fame skyrocketed. But as he was now in control of France and the military is not the only matter to take care of, he worked on the educational reforms of France after this. He centralized the government and brought reforms in the banking sector of France as well. Although he supported science and arts but yet he tried his best to keep harmony between the Pope and the public. In 1802, a new law made Napoleon permanent and the First Consul of France for life. He hosted a huge feast and enjoyed it as he now permanently crowned himself the Emperor of France for life. The ladder of greed and desires is only being climbed at a steady pace.
The next year in 1803, Napoleon had to accumulate funds for his armies for further expansion, thus he decided to sell some of the land Acquired by the French Empire. About 828,000 square miles of land was sold to America for about $ 15 Million. This was the famous Louisiana Purchase, led by the 3rd President of America, Thomas Jefferson.
In 1804, he also came up with Napoleonic Code. After a long debate and discussions, he was able to officially launch and update the law France was used to till 1804. These new civil codes provided new rules and regulations regarding commercial and criminal laws. There were also amendments in the laws related to property and families. All men had equal rights in the eyes of the law and they now also had the freedom to choose any religion they saw fit. But there was a catch. This new Napoleonic Code also reintroduced slavery in France.
While Napoleon was busy making new policies for France, his fleets were attacked by the British army at the Battle of Trafalgar in October 1805. However, Napoleon came back to the battlefield and again defeated the Austrians and Russians together at the battle of Austerlitz. This victory was the direct cause of the eventual fall of the Holy Roman Empire as well.
But now, Napoleon had a score to settle with the British. In 1806 he came up with new policies, and another economic war was fought between Napoleon and the British. He came up with the Continental System of European Ports where he blocked the use of ports for the British. In 1809 he again defeated the Austrians at the Battle of Wagram which benefited Napoleon further in the context of land and wealth.
Napoleon was enjoying great stature and power. But as we know, the higher you are, the greater you may fall. It was 1810 when Russia decided to withdraw from the Continental System. In retaliation, Napoleon attacked Russia in 1812. But the Russians proved to be clever. When the French army invaded Russia, the Russian army took a step backward and lead the French army to believe that the Russians were falling back. This encouraged the French army to pursue them further but they got themself stuck in the harsh winters of Russia. Ultimately, out of 600,000 men, only 100,000 survived and safely made it back to France. This was the start of the fall of the great Napoleon Buonaparte.
In 1814, another bomb was dropped on the French Army. Not literally, but the impact was nothing less than a blast. A coalition of Austrian, Prussian, Russian, and Swedish armies joined their forces and stood against Napoleon. They attacked the French army in the Battle of Leipzig or the Battles of Nations. Alas, Napoleon was outnumbered and the French army had to retreat. This was the second big fall for the French army and Napoleon.
And then came the devastating fall. On 6th April 1814, Napoleon was denounced from his throne and forced to exile from France. He moved to Elba, a small Mediterranean Island in Italy. Although he had all the control over the island and he was the ruler of it, but his family wife and son moved to Austria. This was not how Napoleon was planning to rule and conquer the world. This was hurting Napoleon from the insides and he was in daily conflicts with his inner demons.
But by now you know, Napoleon was not someone who would sit and let this slide. He gathered a group of 1,000 supporters and attacked the mainland of France. King Louis the 18th was forced to flee for his life and Napoleon once again had total control over France. He was even welcomed and his return was celebrated by the common public of France to the fullest, he was still not done.
He then decided to attack the Allied forces which later caused his downfall. He planned to attack them before they could attack him, thus he raised a new army and went forward with his plans. On 16th June, Napoleon and his army defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny. But Napoleon already used all his luck in his earlier battles. Two days later on 18th June, Napoleon was defeated by combined forces of British and Prussians. This was the Battle of Waterloo. Losing this war was the final blow against Napoleon as this proved to be his final battle. As a result, he was again forced to exile n 22nd June 1815.
In October 1815, Napoleon was moved to the British-ruled island of Saint Helena. He was a prisoner there. Although he had the freedom to move around and carry out his daily routine freely he was always accompanied by at least 2 British troops. Time passed by and Napoleon was still a prisoner. On 5th May 1821, at 5:49 PM, Napoleon died due to Stomach Cancer while he was still a Prisoner.
While some say that Stomach Cancer was a hereditary disease as his father died with it as well, many still believe that Napoleon was poisoned with Arsenic but there is no concrete proof of it. The little kid who survived the childbirth unlike his many other siblings, who lived like a king and conquered almost everything he wanted, died as a prisoner in the end.
|Date of Birth : 15th August 1769|
|Died : 5th May 1821|
|Place of Birth : Corsica, Kingdom of France|
|Father : Carlo Buonaparte|
|Mother : Letizia Ramolino|
|Spouse/Partners : Josephine de Beauharnais (Wife), Marie Louse (Wife)|
|Children : 4 (2 Step Kids, 2 Illegitimate Kids)|
|Professions : Military Services|
Second Reign : March 1815 – June 1815
Predecessor : Louis XVIII
Successor : Louis XVIII or Napoleon II (Disputed)
First Reign : May 1804 – April 1814
Coronation : December 1804
Predecessor : Louis XVII or Louis XVI
Successor : Louis XVIII
Ruling Period : March 1805- April 1814
Coronation : May 1805
Predecessor : Charles V
Successor : Victor Emmanuel
Ruling Period : April 1814- March 1815
Ruling Period : May 1808- June 1808
Predecessor : Ferdinand VII
Successor : Joseph I
Ruling Period : December 1799- May 1804
Other Consuls : Jean-Jaques and Charles-Francois
Ruling Period : November 1799- Dcember 1799
Other Consuls : Emmanuel Joseph and Roger Ducos
Predecessor : Louis-Jerome
Ruling Period : January 1802- March 1805
Vice President : Francesco Melzi d’Eril
Ruling Period : July 1806- November 1813
Predecessor : Francis II (of Rome)
Successor : Frances I (of Austria)
|Academic references on Napoleon Buonaparte|
|1. “Napoleon: A Political Life”: by Steven Englund: This biography provides a comprehensive and well-researched study of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life and his significant impact on European history.|
|2. “Napoleon Bonaparte: A Life” by Alan Schom: In this book, Alan Schom explores the life and military career of Napoleon Bonaparte, shedding light on his rise to power.|
|3. “Napoleon: A Biography” by Frank McLynn: This scholarly work examines Napoleon Bonaparte’s military campaigns, political strategies, and his lasting influence on France and Europe.|
|4. “Napoleon the Great” by Andrew Roberts: This acclaimed biography offers a detailed and insightful account of Napoleon Bonaparte’s life and his accomplishments as a military and political leader.|
|5. “The Age of Napoleon” by J. Christopher Herold: In this book, J. Christopher Herold provides a historical analysis of the Napoleonic era and Napoleon Bonaparte’s impact on the world stage.|
|6. “Napoleon Bonaparte: The Formative Years”by Robert Asprey: This work delves into Napoleon Bonaparte’s early life and upbringing, exploring the factors that shaped his character and ambitions.|
|7. “Napoleon and Europe” by Philip G. Dwyer: This academic book examines Napoleon Bonaparte’s relationship with other European countries and the geopolitical changes he brought about.|
|Quotes By Napoleon|
|“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. “|
|“In politics, stupidity is not a handicap. “|
|“Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. “|
|“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world. “|
|“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. “|
|“History is written by the winners. “|
This Article will answer your questions like:
- Who was Napoleon?
- Why was Napoleon famous?
- Which countries did Napoleon capture?
- Is Napoleon a Hero for France?
- How did Napoleon Die?
- Some Facts about Napoleon.
- Famous Quotes of Napoleon.