Surely one of the largest empires ever established was Napoleon's. In just thirteen years Napoleon had expanded the boarders of France to include most of Europe. What factors enabled him to create such a vast empire? No single trait or event can explain this, but rather a combination of being the right person in the right place at the right time gave Napoleon his opportunity.
Napoleon had a military oriented mind. He thought tactically, strategically and most importantly he thought ahead. One of Napoleon's greatest talents was public speaking. He could persuade the public to believe him, trust, him and follow him through his persuasive speeches and confident personality. This confidence; bordering on arrogance, gave the public a sense of security and trust in him as a leader. felt that nothing could go wrong. Napoleon's military genius also helped him gain support and his many victories made him quite famous and respectable even before he seized power. Napoleon demonstrates all the qualities of a good leader; thinking ahead, talking well, confidence, and having a sense of respectability.
Having just endured six years of terror, the French were fed up with violence. The Directory was growing more and more unpopular and the public was desperate to find a leader they could trust and follow. The timing of Napoleon's return to France from battle was impeccable. His personality and the public's needs fit like a lock and key. Upon Napoleon's arrival in 1799, the French public gave him a hero's welcome. Seeing how popular he was, Napoleon decided to overthrow the weak, unpopular government and set up a dictatorship. Once in power Napoleon started to train and draft a new army. Soon they were the largest and most dangerous army in the world. In 1802 Napoleon named himself Emperor of France, and soon set his armies on the road to conquest. A major reason for Napoleon's rapid expansion was that the counties surrounding France were weak at the time, and thus easy to capture. With France's army under the command of brilliant Napoleon, France seemed unstoppable. In the following years Napoleon's army took over Spain, Portugal, Austria, Italy, Prussia, and Poland.
Napoleon's true genius wasn't in his military tactics but rather in his ability to read a moment in time and realize how he could take advantage of it. Realizing that the conditions were favorable for a new leader/government, Napoleon reserved a page in history through his coup d'etats.