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Finally Facing My Waterloo Essay

1045 words - 5 pages

“The History book on the shelf is always repeating itself,” states the popular song “Waterloo” made famous by the 1970s musical group, ABBA. The song is named after Napoleon Bonaparte’s last battle, an utter failure in which he faced the Duke of Wellington and his army near the town of Waterloo. Indeed, Napoleon was trying to repeat himself and his former glory in this battle. Born into a poor family in Corsica, Napoleon soared above and beyond his humble past and into perhaps the most fabled military career in history. However, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” is something Napoleon would soon learn as he fell from power and glory, ultimately dying after many years of isolation in ...view middle of the document...

When the French people were looking for a hero, they found one in Napoleon Bonaparte. He was the man of the hour, but his boundless enthusiasm and luck were running low. Even the greatest man on earth is only man, and Napoleon would soon learn this the hard way. In crowning himself emperor he removed himself from the common man, so beginning his downfall. As he slipped into megalomania, he also made many slip-ups politically. A series of failed invasions forced him to abdicate, but in one of the most stunning moments in history, he returned to take France again without spilling a single drop of blood. He was a hero once more who had seemingly come back from the dead to liberate the people from the retrograde resurgence of the Bourbons. Luck continued to stay on his side as he amassed a large standing army in little to no time at all, and prepared for the fated battle between him and the powers who wished to eliminate him forever. Napoleon knew that this decisive final battle would determine the fate of France, and he devoted every waking second to its preparation. Napoleon had come back a better man, and without the terrible rainstorm that thwarted his plans, it is likely that Napoleon would have succeeded in his initial plan and defeated the British. History may have been repeating itself, but not in the way Napoleon would have preferred. He was exiled once again after his terrific failure. Ironically, Caesar and Alexander the Great, leaders that Napoleon greatly admired, died somewhat unimpressively and their actions received support from neither their contemporaries nor the public, just as Napoleon would in 1813.
Even though Napoleon’s ultimate end was desolate, he will forever be considered a hero to the French people. Perhaps one of Napoleon’s strongest points was his love of France. Napoleon could even be considered the first great nationalist, because everything he did was in the name of his beloved country, even if it was at the expense of many others. Napoleon...

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