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Napoleon Essay

1897 words - 8 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

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...

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