Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the greatest conquerors and finest generals that France and even the world has ever known. He began his career as an artillery officer and in 1793 he defeated the British fleet in Toulon. Thereafter he was promoted from commander of artillery to Brigadier - General. In October 1795, he was in command of the Paris troops who were defending the National Convention against the mob.
Napoleon was called the child of the revolution. His egoistic autocracy curbed the spirit of Revolution. He used to say: "The crown of France was lying on the ground, I picked it with my sword." However, the people of France suspected his intentions.
Napoleon regenerated France, but destroyed many who came in the way of his ambitions. He desired to conquer the world and rule it as a world conqueror. If only Napoleon could curb the tide of his ambition he would have certainly, made himself the world missionary. In Napoleon resided the amazing quality of doing universal good to people. However, there are some who maintain that Napoleon did not deserve any respect. "Granted that beneath all his imperial bluff there had been solid achievements, still, they were purely material, and constantly obtained at the expense of the variety and initiative."
In 1796, Bonaparte led the French army in Italy, against Austria and Sardinia. He defeated Sardinia and ultimately the Austrians too. In October 1798, he was appointed as the General of the Army to invade England. However the British armed forces, under Admiral Nelson miserably defeated the French fleet and locked them up.
Napoleon returned to France in 1799 and overthrew the Directory in November 1799. He introduced government by three Consuls namely Napoleon Bonaparte, Abbe Sieyes and Roger Ducos. Thus he became the first consul and enjoyed dictatorial powers.
In 1802 Napoleon became Consul for life by popular vote, and in 1804 he became emperor by another popular vote.
He was defeated by the British in 1805. He defeated Austria and Russia in the Battle of Austerlitz, in December 1805, Prussia in the Battle of Jena in 1806, and Russia in the Battle of Friedland in 1807.
After defeating Austria, Russia, Prussia, Napoleon's attention was fixed on England. He tried to prevent the import of English goods into Europe, but failed. Since Russia imported English goods, he attacked Russia in 1812. However, he suffered a major defeat with the Russians following the policy of retreat.