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Napoleon Bonaparte

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Essay title: Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte had many different sides to him and to many faces to count.

To some, he was an extraordinary military commander who led an army to victory. To others, he was a distinguished civil administrator, and yet others thought of him as a great man that was tossed complicated twists in his short life. He is both a historical figure and a legend and it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. There have been many successful military leaders through out time but no leader has ever taken over the whole world. This task was nearly accomplished by the greatest military leader in history better known as Napoleon Bonaparte was. In his lifetime, he took over most of Europe before conquering Moscow. History Place the publishers of the internet site napoleon Emperor of France had this to say about the way napoleon acted, "Having that much power can sometimes makes a man lose control and do bizarre things but in his short lifetime he was so puzzling to his opponents it drove them mad." All of these things help explain why Napoleon was a very complex person.

Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Auaccio on the Mediterranean Island of Corsica. He was born to a poor family of lesser nobles on the island of Corsica. His family consisted of seven brothers and sisters and his father who was a lawyer. James Thompson's article "Napoleon Bonaparte" enlightened us about his father being a lawyer. His father was also his mother because she passed away when giving birth to Napoleon. So that meant that originally his nationality was Corsican-Italian. Being from Italy, he despised the French at that time. In 1784 to 1785, Napoleon attended the Ecole Militaire in Paris. That was the place where he received his military training. He studied to be an artilleryman and an officer. He finished his training and joined the French army when he was 16 years old. The year before he went to school at the age of 14, France had annexed Corsica, so he went to French schools. Napoleon possessed a brilliant mind, tireless energy, and tremendous ambition. In his own words, Napoleon himself once believed to be a "man of destiny." Believing in his self-fulfilling prophecy, military exploits, and his ruthless efficiency Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon 1, Emperor of France. (Thompson 128)

Rising rapidly to the rank of general, he was placed in command of French forces in Italy and won brilliant victories there, thus becoming a popular military hero. At the start of the French Revolution, he took part in the Corsican rebellion against Pasquale Paoli and was forced to leave the island. Returning to France, Bonaparte was associated with the Jacobeans and gained notice by dislodging the British from Toulon. He was briefly imprisoned in 1794. In History place's article Farewell to the Old Guard they agree with me that his career was reborn when the convention was raid by a Parisian mob, and Napoleon was called on to disperse it. Made commander of the army in Italy, Bonaparte conducted the brilliant Italian campaigns against Austria and concluded with the favorable Treaty of Campo Formio. Bonaparte then drew up a plan to strike at Britain's colonial empire by attacking Egypt. His victory over the Mamluks in the battle of the Pyramids was made useless when British Adm. Nelson destroyed the French fleet in Aboukir Bay. Leaving a hopeless situation in Egypt, Bonaparte returned to France and joined a conspiracy already hatched by Emmanuel Seiyo's.

The French Directory was overthrown by the coup of 18 Brumaire, and the Consulate which History Place describes as a form of the French government that is much like our presidential cabinet, was set up with Bonaparte as first consul, or dictator. He centralized the administration, stabilized the currency, and reformed the tax system. He also made peace with the Roman Catholic Church by the Concordat of 1801 and reformed the legal system with the Code Napoleon. In 1800, Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Marengo, Italy, and the treaties of Lunoville and Amines made peace with Austria and Britain respectively. This phase is generally considered to divide the French Revolutionary Wars from the Napoleonic Wars. In 1802, Napoleon became first consul for life, and in 1803, Britain again declared war on France.

Napoleon had himself crowned emperor in 1804 and proclaimed king of Italy in 1805. Britain, Austria, Russia, and Sweden formed the Third Coalition against him but Napoleon crushed the Austrians at Ulm and won his most brilliant victory at Austerlitz over the Austrians and Russians. Prussia, which joined the coalition in 1806, was defeated at Jena. British sea power, however, grew stronger with Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. Napoleon then instituted the Continental System to try to halt British trade with France and her allies. On land, war with Russia

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