Napoleon Bonaparte is regarded as one of the greatest military and political masterminds in the history of man. Napoleon’s brilliance led him through extremely successful Italian campaigns, major battles against the Third Coalition and helped him rule politically to keep the gains of the revolution. Napoleon, through his military conquests and political alterations, made France a great nation.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15th, 1769 in small town of Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. He had seven siblings, and his father was a lawyer whose family stemmed from the Florentine nobility. In 1779, Napoleon went to school at Brienne in France. There he took a great interest 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 were, and being short for his age did not help. Along with those shortcomings he did not speak French well, because mainly Italian was spoken in Corsica. He studied very hard so that he could do better than those who mocked him. Napoleon attended the Ecole Military School in Paris in 1784. This is where he received his military training to become an artilleryman and an officer. Napoleon finished his training and joined the French army at the age of sixteen years old. He was appointed to an artillery regiment, and commissioned as a lieutenant. Napoleon spent the next seven years reading the works of the philosophers, and educating himself in military matters by studying the campaigns of great military leaders of the past.
The French Revolution and the European wars broadened Napoleon’s sights and presented him with new opportunities. Napoleon was a supporter of the French Revolution; he went back and forth between Paris and Ajaccio, working for the Republic. Napoleon rose quickly through the ranks and became a captain in 1792. 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.”
In August of 1794 Napoleon was arrested because he had been a supporter of Robespierre, a radical revolutionary leader. He was accused of treason; but when 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 so that the attack of 30,000 national guards was driven back by his men. Napoleon had saved the national convention from the Parisian mob, and one year later at the age of 26 he was rewarded with the position of commander in chief of the...