“In order to govern, the question is not to follow out a more or less valid theory but to build with whatever materials are at hand. The inevitable must be accepted and turned to advantage.” Napoleon Bonaparte, leader of nations, conquer of worlds. As a leader he created something out of nothing many times in his life. He created a new era of warfare and took France to new heights of power, but by the end had brought her years of war and destruction(Dugdale-Pointon). He personally directed complex military maneuvers and at the same time controlled France’s press, police system, foreign policy, and domestic affairs (Blaufarb). So how did he accomplish these things?
Napoleon was born on August 15th, 1769 at Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica (Chew). His birth name was Napoleone Di Buonaparte. Later in his life he changed it to Napoleon Bonaparte, and again to his now known name Napoleon I. Having 7 siblings, he was the second son of a family of kings, queens, princesses, and politicians. His father was a lawyer who had minor connections and was far from wealthy (Dugdale-Pointon). Surprisingly enough, he had no birth advantages or family wealth and all of his later achievements would be accomplished by his own skill and ability.
In 1796 he married his first wife Josephine de Beauharnais, a woman of French descent from Martinique in the West Indies. Her first husband had been executed by guillotine during the revolution. When Napoleon met her, she was a prominent leader of fashionable French society, six years older than him, and had two children by her first husband, Vicomte Alexandre de Beauharnais. His Second marriage was due mostly in part to his fear of what would happen to his kingdom when he was gone and so he decided to divorce and remarry. In 1810 he married Archduchess Marie Louise, and a year later, had a son, also named Napoleon, who he gave the title king of Rome.
Napoleon’s military success was no accident since he was formally trained to be a military leader in his world. At age 9 he began attending Brienne-le-Chateau, a military academy, in 1779. He excelled in mathematics, being an average student in most other subjects. In 1784, he was chosen for the elite military academy Ecole Militaire in Paris, from which he graduated a year later (Blaufarb). In January 1785, at age 16, Napoleon received a commission in the French army starting as a second lieutenant of artillery. He joined an artillery regiment and for a brief time attended the royal artillery school in Auxonne. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1791 and to captain in 1792.
The French Revolution came about in 1789, but during the early 1790’s, Napoleon spent much time in Corsica on leave from the French army. Originally, Napoleon supported the Corsican rebel Pasquale Paoli, who was a friend of his father’s, who suffered an early death a few years earlier, but after being in the Corsican National Guard, he joined the Jacobins, who wanted to make...