Napoleon Bonaparte

In the age of Enlightenment the political landscape was changing. Therefore, the French rebelled against King Louie XIV and Marie Antoinette. Thus, the emergence of Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the island of Corsica near Italy. He was one of eight children born to Carlo and Letizia Buonaparte. Carlo was a lawyer branching off his family to the Florentine nobility. Napoleon went to many schools throughout his life. In 1779 he went to school at Brienne in France and this is where he developed his great interest in history.

In 1784, heattended the Ecole Military in Paris and received military training. After he finished his training, he joined the French army at the age of 16. He was given to an artillery regiment, and commissioned as a lieutenant of the French army. Not too long after this, his father died and he became the man of the house. Napoleons rank increased rapidly as he became a more powerful leader. He became a captain in 1792 and in 1793 Corsica, his birth town, revolted against the Republic causing his family to flee to France. War was breaking out causing France to be in feud with Austria, Prussia, England, Holland, and Spain.

At the age of twenty-five, Napoleon did such a great job that he was promoted to Brigadier General. In 1793, he led his first battle as a General at Toulon. August of 1794, Napoleon was arrested for being a supporter of Maximillion Robespierre and was accused of treason. At the age of twenty-sic, after being released from prison ha save the national convention from the Parisian mob and was given the position of commander in chief of the interior French army in Italy. There, he gave a speech to his army describing how they were badly fed and basically naked.

He continued speaking about how the government owes them a great deal but will not help them out. He told them he would lead them into the most fertile plains in the world where they will find big cities and wealthy provinces. From this speech, he took ill prepared soldiers and turned them into a strong army. As his life progressed, he became a fine gentleman. He turned from a poor Corsican boy with torn clothes to a well-dressed general. Napoleon often visited the grand house of Barras and this is where he met his first love, Josephine de Beauharnais.

She was the widow of a French nobleman and on March 9, 1796, they wed. Napoleon formed three republics in northern Italy. He then made peace with Naples without even telling the government in Paris. In July, the Austrians sent three powerful groups of men through the Alps. Napoleon defeated all three groups in only six days. The defeat of the this group was called the battle at Rivoli. The third group only took two days t defeat and it took place on January 14th and 15th, 1797. In October of 1797, he signed a treaty of Compo-Formio stating that France was given Belgium and the lands along the Rhine River.

When he returned to Paris in December 1797, he was a hero. This made him think about pursuing more political and military power to become the next Alexander the Great. Egypt was next in line for Napoleon to attack. He proposed that if he were to take an army to Egypt and attack, than they would produce a threat on Englands hold on India. In May 1788, he sailed to Egypt and attacked. He won and the battle was named the Battle of the Pyramids. July 23 of the same year, he went to the city of Cairo and several days later was attacked by Haratio Nelson, an English admiral.

The British then cut off all supplies that were being delivered to his men, therefore they began dying from disease and heat. He saw no hope in his army at this point and so he had no guilt in returning to Paris. His army was left in the hands of General Jean Kleber while he fled home. At the age of thirty, he became the First Consul of France. As the First Consul, he directly controlled the entire executive authority of the government. In May 1800 Napoleon invaded Italy. To do this, he went through the path known as Great Saint Bernard. All paths were guarded except this one.

On June 14th, the Austrians attacked him in the plains of Marengo. The French seemed to have been beaten, but Napoleon would not surrender. His reinforcements arrived and he lead a final charge to win the Battle off Marengo. After winning this battle, he set up an educational system with secondary and technical schools. He wrote laws that are still in use today, he recognized the treasury department, formed the Bank of France, and controlled taxes. Council of State was then set up to give Napoleon advice and to help him write laws. This made France become one of the first efficiently organized modern states.

In 1802, Napoleon was set to be the First Council for life. He was not fully satisfied wish this title. This caused him to crown himself Emperor of France. Pope Puis VII was invited to crown him Emperor, but as the Pope walked up to place the crown on his head, Napoleon reached out and placed the crown on his head himself. War broke out in England in 1812 and Napoleon set up an army at Boulogne for the invasion. After discovering that Russia and Austria joined England, Napoleon called off the invasion and decided to have his army march into Germany. They surrounded the Austrian army at Ulm and forced them to surrender.

Two days later, Admiral Nelson defeated the French navy in Egypt at the battle of Trafalgar ending Napoleons dreams of invading England. On December 2, 1805, there was a battle at Austerlitz. The victory of this battle caused Napoleon to crown himself King of Italy, crown his brother Joseph King of Naples and another brother, Louis, King of Holland. October of 1806, he went to war again and defeated the Prussians in the battle of Jena and captured Berlin. Then on February 8, 1807, he fought a battle with the Russians at Eylan, Germany. On June 14, he destroyed the Russian army at Friedland, Germany.

By this time, the Bonaparte family ruled the whole Western Europe. Everything done was decided by Napoleon. He was not a very nice person, but instead he was a tyrant. Napoleon charged high taxes and refused to allow freedom of speech and press. Men from all over Europe were drafted into his army and most did not even want to join but were obligated. He still had a soft spot for not defeating England. He decided that if he could not beat England in a battle, then he would just cut off the supplies and force them to make a treaty with France. The plan backfired. The Spanish people rebelled and the English army landed in Portugal.

He was forced to be the general in the battle of Wargram on July 5th and 6th and won. Napoleon and Josephine did not have a son to carry out the Bonaparte name. Because of this, Napoleon divorced Josephine and on March 11, 1810, married Marie Louis, daughter of the emperor of Austria. Napoleon started his downfall as he lost the Battle of Leipzig. France was tired of fighting and was out of money. They were also out of men to support Napoleon, because for all the time it took him to conquer Europe, it was almost over night that he lost it all. On April 11, 1814, Napoleon was abdicated.

He was exiled to the island of Elba and became king there. As King of Elba, he organized an army and attacked the English, who were led by the Duke of Wellington, at Waterloo. Defeated quickly, he was once again abdicated and sent to the Island of St, Helena. He died there in May of 1821. Napoleon Bonaparte was a very unique individual. He is remembered as a powerful general even though he may have killed half a million of his own soldiers and people that were not even enemies. He was one of the worlds greatest masterminds and for this, he left a huge mark on France and how their government works today.

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