Nopleon Essay

This essay has a total of 3157 words and 9 pages.


This essay will illustrate why Napoleon Bonaparte is regarded as one of the greatest military masterminds in the history
of mankind. It will show the life of Napoleon from when he was a young boy, till he died in 1821. It will show how
he deceived the French into giving him power, and how he used this power for his own interests. It will also reveal
how he almost killed of an entire generation of French people, and once again prove that all good things must come to
an end.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. This was only a few months
after France had annexed the island. He had 7 brothers and sisters, and his father was a lawyer whose family
stemmed from the Florentine nobility. His original nationality was Cursican-Italian. In 1779 Napoleon went to school
at Brienne in France. There he took a great interest in in history, especially in the lives of great ancient generals.
Napoleon was often badly treated at Brienne because he was not as wealthy as his fellow classmates, and very short.
He also did not speak French well, because Italian was spoken on Corsica where he grew up. He studied very hard
so that he could do better then those who snubbed him.
Napoleon attended the Ecole Military School in Paris in 1784 after receiving a scholarship. This is were he received
his military training. He studied to be an artillery man and an officer. Napoleon finished his training and joined the
French army when he was 16 years old. He was appointed to an artillery regiment , and commissioned as a
lieutenant. Once again he was not well liked by his fellow officers because he was short, spoke with an Italian accent,
and had little money. Napoleon spent little time with his regiment. He was more concerned with trying to free his
home land of Corsica, witch had been taken with force by France. Soon after being commissioned his father died,
and he was forced to provide for his family. Napoleon spent the next seven years reading the works of the
philosophers, and educating himself in military matters by studying the campaigns of the great military leaders of the
The French Revolution and the European war that followed broadened his sights and presented him with new
opportunities. Napoleon was a supporter of the French Revolution . He went back and forth between Paris and
Ajaccio, working for the Republic. Napoleon rose quickly through the ranks and became a captain in 1792. In
1793, Corsica revolted against the Republic, and Napoleon's family had to Flee to France. The Republic was in
danger. France was at war with Austria, Prussia, England, Holland, and Spain. There was a revolt in western
France, and there was a great need for good officers. At the age of 25, only one year after becoming captain,
Napoleon performed so well that he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He was given command of the
artillery at Toulon, and in December of that same year, the French forced the English out of Toulon. " The
commander in chief wrote: "I Have no words to describe the merit of Bonaparte. Much science, as much intelligence,
and too much bravery." "(pg.7 Britannica Junior Encyclopedia #11 N-O).
In August of 1794 Napoleon was arrested because he had been a supporter of Maximilien Rosbespierre. He was
accused of treason. Although he was released his career seemed to be over. Then in October of 1795, the
government was threatened with a revolt in Paris. Paul Barras, commander of the home forces, appointed Napoleon
to defend the capital. "With amazing swiftness Napoleon massed men and artillery at important places in Paris The
attack of 30,000 national guards was driven back by his men. About 200 men were killed on each side, but he had
saved France from civil war." (pg.7 Britannica Junior Encyclopedia #11 N-O).
Napoleon saved the national convention from the Parisian mob and one year later at the age of 26, was rewarded with
the position of commander in chief of the interior French army in Italy. When Napoleon accepted the position as the
commander of the French Army he received a chilly reception by his generals. They thought Napoleon was no better
than intriguer who owed everything to Barras's favour. None of these men were to be easily cowed by a "wild haired
little runt "of only twenty six. Yet, as Augereau one of the generals admitted , something about this Bonaparte
frightened them. That day Napoleon issued the following order, "Soldiers! You are badly fed, almost naked. The
government owes you a great deal, but it can do nothing for you. Your patience and courage do you honor, but give
you neither worldly goods nor glory. I shall lead you into the most fertile plains in the world where you will find big
cities and wealthy provinces. You will win honor, fame and riches. Soldiers of the Army of Italy! Could courage and
constancy possibly fail you?"
Once Napoleon took over it didn't take long for him to turn the group of ill disciplined
soldiers into an effective fighting

force. In a series of stunning victories, Napoleon defeated four Austrian generals in succession, each army he fought
got bigger and bigger. This forced Austria and its allies to make peace with France. "Throughout his Italian
campaigns, Napoleon won the confidence of his men by his energy, charm, and ability to comprehend complex issues
quickly and make decisions rapidly. These qualities, combined with his keen intelligence, ease with words, and
supreme confidence in himself, enabled him throughout the rest of his life to influence people and win their firm
support" (pg. 697 - 698 Western Civilization volume II). "No longer was Napoleon a poor Corsican with shabby
clothes and cheap boots. He dressed well, took part in the gay life of Paris, and often visited the grand house of
Barras. There he met Josephine de Beauharnais, the widow of a French nobleman." (pg.7 Britannica Junior
Encyclopedia #11 N-O).
On March 9, 1796, Napoleon married Josephine and two days later left to command the army that was fighting the
Austrians in Italy. On April 10 he started a new campaign, and with a series of clever movements he split the
opposing Austrian army into three separate groups. Napoleon then defeated each one of them. This was first example
of his rules of war, "Always be superior to the enemy at the point of attack." Three weeks later he crossed the Po
River. Napoleon lead an attack and attempted to storm the bridge over the Adda River. "He charged right into the
blast of the Austrian guns. The army went wild with enthusiasm and nicknamed him the "Little Corporal." " (pg.7
Britannica Junior Encyclopedia #11 N-O).
Napoleon formed three republics in northern Italy, and made peace with Naples without even telling the government in
Pairs. In July the Austrians sent three powerful waves of men through the Alps. In only six days, Napoleon and his
men attacked each wave of soldiers, and defeated each one separately. When the third was defeated in a two days'
battle at Rivoli on January 14th and 15th, 1797, he invaded Austria. In October of 1797, he signed a treaty of
Campo-Formio. With this treaty France was given Belgium and lands along the Rhine River.
"Napoleon's speed and his cleverness baffled his enemies. Besides the fighting, this 28-year-old general made his own
treaties, and conducted his own diplomacy, He kept the Directory ( The French executive body ) happy by sending
home all the money and works of art which he could seize." (pg.7 Britannica Junior Encyclopedia #11 N-O).
In December, 1797, Napoleon returned to Paris as a conquering hero. When he returned he received a huge
welcome. At this time he began thinking of pursuing more political power and military power. He wanted to become
the next Alexander the Great. The Director wanted to get rid of Napoleon as soon as possible. He felt that
Napoleon was getting too popular and too powerful in Paris. He was given command of an army in training to invade
England, but believing that the French were unready for such an invasion, Napoleon instead asked the Director if he
could take a large army to Egypt. He proposed that by attacking Egypt, it would threaten England hold on India, a
major source of British wealth. The Director gladly let him go.
In May, 1798, Napoleon sailed to Egypt, and won the Battle of the Pyramids. On July 23 he entered the city of
Cairo. But the British controlled the sea, and on August 1 Horatio Nelson, a English admiral, lead an attack that
destroyed the French Navy in Aboukir Bay. Napoleon could no longer keep in touch with France. The British had
successfully cut off supplies from Napoleon's men in Egypt. Napoleon then advanced in to Syria, but was stopped by
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