In the history of the world there have been great empires that have risen only to fall. Human history is the tale of the great empires who have ruled though the ages. It has always been that throughout the development of civilization, man has been trying to conquer land . In their incessant pursuit of land, they have either been defeated in humiliating fashion and destroyed or have built the greatest empires of their time. In the past, there was the Macedonian Empire was the name given to Alexander the Great The Nauryan Empire that was Asoka as well as the Roman Empire all were made by the brutality of men in their quest for power, control, and riches. In the late 1700’s to the world stage was Napoleon Bonaparte.
” Power is my love” the man whose ego was a collision with destiny. An ego that grew in size to Mount Everest with each military victory, much like Alexander the Great who ruled the entire continent of Europe for over 10 years. In all of history there have always been people who were destined to change the course of history and leave an indelible mark. Alexander the Great, Caesar, Charlemagne, and Washington are among the top of the list of individuals who have changed the direction of the history of. Napoleon Bonaparte was such an individual. As Alexander the Great, was one of the most formidable military generals in history. He was a risk taking gambler, an impulsive genius however, he was often a short term planner that often led to catastrophic results. A temperamental tyrant a few have claimed, but nobody doubts his military strength and the ability to grab the right moment when an opportunity came along.
A mathematical genius, whose intelligence brought him to fame and glory due to his exceptional military capabilities during the height of the French Revolution. A well-known reformer, but also a fierce commander in the military, who employed the most effective tactics, not just learning from other battles in history but utilized his own ideas, such as the deployment of artillery into key locations that proved to be crucial when it came to winning wars. His military strategies are taught at all military schools across the world. Alongside all his military achievements, he, just like Charlemagne, is famous as a reformer. The establishment of the Napoleonic Code is the basis for the fact that French law continues to be used as of today. It was among the numerous reforms Napoleon introduced.
A few historians have considered him one of the despots who had a history of enlightenment, but others view his achievements in a much better perspective. But, none the less his vision of a united Europe with a single European government France ruled would never become an actual reality during his time. The perpetual rivalries between Europe’s rival nations, such as Great Britain, France, Germany and Russia that would erupt into two world wars a hundred years later have always hindered Napoleon’s dream. After years of war, the dream of the European Union would emerge. There are those who think this was due to Napoleon’s vision which included a common infrastructure and a common legal code. Contrary to Hitler during the Second World War Napoleon and Charlemagne both believed in the creation of a united Europe where reforms in place would benefit all.
It was the French Revolution had alienated the government from the Catholic Church. One of Napoleon’s remarkable skills in diplomacy was the time he signed the Concordat of 1801 with the Pope to bring peace between the religious and the social in France. Napoleon appointed several members of the Bonaparte family and close associates of his as the monarchs of the countries he conquered and as important government figures (his brother Lucien was France’s Minister for Finance). He was extremely loyal and expected nothing less from the people around him. Although their reigns did not survive his downfall, a uncle, Napoleon III, ruled France during the latter part of the nineteenth century.
Napoleon was among the greatest military commanders in history. He has also been depicted as a fierce conqueror. Napoleon denied those accusations. He maintained that he was creating the federation of free nations within an Europe that was united under a liberal government. But if this was his intention, he hoped to achieve it by putting control of his own. But in the states he established, Napoleon gave constitutions, enacted law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and supported the sciences, education, literature and arts.
When Napoleon was crowned Emperor, he once again was a superb civil administrator. One of his greatest accomplishments was the supervision of the revision and compilation of French law into codes. The new codes of law, seven in number incorporated some of the freedoms enjoyed by the people who lived in France in the French revolution. This included tolerance of religion and the abolishment of serfdom. Napoleon also centralized the French government by appointing prefects for the administration of regions called departments, into the which France is divided.
When Napoleon believed in government “for” the people, he opposed a the notion of government “by” the people. The time of his France was a police state with a massive network of secret police and spy agents. The police shut down plays containing any hint of displeasure or criticism towards the government. The press was controlled by the government. It was impossible to express opinions without the permission of Napoleon.
Napoleon’s own opinion of his career is best stated in the following quotation:”I closed the gulf of anarchy and brought order out of chaos. I rewarded merit regardless of the source of wealth or birthplace, however I found it. I ended feudalism and restored the equality of all people regardless of their religion, and in accordance with the law. I was a defender of the decrepit reigns of monarchies from the Old Regime because the alternative was the eradication of all of this. I eliminated”the Revolution.”
Between 1799 and 1815 the destiny between 1799 and 1815 the fate of France along with Europe was in the hands of Napoleon Bonaparte, the man whom Chateaubriand described as Chateaubriand to be the “mightiest breathing of air which ever created humans’. Napoleon’s ultimate downfall was because of the forces the Revolution unleashed, and Napoleon had accelerated.
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the island of Corsican who became the first artillery officer, an unfashionable part of the army at the time. However, he was adept at making the right connections. In the Terror, his friendship with Robespierre’s brotheras well as his expert use of artillery at Toulon in September 1793 assisted him to rise to the rank of brigadier. His cool head when he was in charge of the Vend miaire revolt and his relationship with Barras helped him rise even higher. His marriage to Barras ex-girlfriend, Josephine de Beauharnais in October 1796 helped him to be in the centre of fashionable circles. This made him more possible to actually network his way into the French nobility that got him the position of commanding the 30,000 soldiers in the Army of Italy.
Napoleon was extremely image conscious and had a flair for publicity, just like General Douglas McAuthur did during the Second World War. His battle report published in newspapers and his’ordres de jour’ were a source of popular attention. He once said that “moral force wins more victories than mere numbers.” He was also an outstanding actor, who could at crucial times appeal to the deepest devotions of his troops “The military are a free masonry and I am their master’. “
Following the failure of the Russian invasion the fortunes of Napoleon turned sour. Most likely due to his inability to understand the consequences the high casualty rates had on the morale of his troops and the French population becoming tired of fighting, which drained the economy. This, while other nations were becoming more wary of his military threats. Yes, Napoleon was extremely fortunate but by 1812 his luck was waning. Due to the inadequacies of his planning in the Russian campaign , where more than 3/4 of his army perished and the savage reversal of the agreements that had been signed earlier helped his enemies regain the fight to completely keep Napoleon from dominating in all of Europe.
In 1814, after the reclaiming of power, the forces that would eventually defeat Napoleon were already in the process of forming. In the battlefields of Waterloo the greatest destiny was shattered. All that Napoleon achieved was destroyed during the ferocious battle of Waterloo. There is no other time in history has an empire built by one man came crashing down so swiftly and decisively. Who knows what the world would be like today in the event that Napoleon had won one of the most important historical battles.
Even if you think the French leader as more of a despot among the dynastic line of princes from Paris who were the rulers of France in the first place, and who established his family on the thrones of European the throne, he differed. Even if Bonaparte did not advocate the ideals of that French revolution. He was nonetheless a man of honour. Napoleon was a warrior, however, he was also a man with ideals and laws. Napoleon believed strongly in ideals from the French revolution, at least to some extent.
When Napoleon landed on the beaches of France following his exile, the soldiers who were sent to capture him cried openly. When Napoleon pulled his shirt open and said , either shoot me now or allow me to be your general, it exemplifies the mystical connection that Napoleon did not just share in the military but also with most of people in the French population. Many people quietly voted for him. If Napoleon had been defeated by Wellington there was no need for world wars in the twenty-first century. Many historians conclude that fact today. History is what it is though. Napoleon is forever connected with one of the most renowned military commanders and empire builders.