Napoleon I Bonaparte Essay, Research Paper
Would France be what it is today without Napoleon I? He was the leader of that country and also led them to their best conquering years. Not only that but he almost had the country conquered as well. Not only France, but the whole European continent would not be what it is today without Napoleon I. Napoleon wasn t even French as a matter of fact, he was Italian. He merely changed his name to avoid drawing attention to his Italian origins as he became the leader of France. There are many interesting facts about Napoleon, but the most interesting was his ability to lead an army and never ending goal to conquer all of Europe. The people of France loved Napoleon while the rest of the continent hated even hearing his name spoken. It all depends at how you look at his achievements. Some so only his conquering, while others see what he did to help France during it s revolution. Beyond doubt one of the greatest conquerors of all time, he also promoted the growth of liberalism through his lasting administrative and legal reforms ( Napoleon I ). His actions that got him to be on the 107 most important people were his first years involved in the military, his war against himself by The Third Coalition, and his defeat and desperate acts in the ending years of his life.
Napoleon has had military blood in him ever since he was child. He was sent to military schools in France and received commission in the French artillery in 1785 ( Napoleon I ). After the French Revolution, he was involved in the Corsican rebellion against Pasquale Paoli and was forced to leave the island. When he returned to France, Napoleon was put in charge of the artillery at the siege of Toulon, where his victory earned him a favorable report to Convention at Paris (Rasmussen). During that year, he was promoted to brigadier-general. The year following, was promoted to an army general in charge of the Army of Italy. This was the start of Napoleon s career and what got him to rise to the top. Napoleon began on the Italian Campaign and showed off his skills as a general. He had constant victories over the Austrian and Piedmontese armies. People saw him as a brave man (storming a bridge alongside his own troops). Not only that, but Napoleon was concerned for him men, and therefore earned him the loyalty and love of his troops (Rasmussen). A treaty was signed between France and the Austrians. Now there was one last enemy and that was the British which took place almost entirely in the seas. Napoleon knew a direct attack would be nearly impossible, so he proceeded down to Egypt and used it as a stepping stone toward conquering Britain. A French fleet brought Napoleon s troops down to Egypt where he won the battle, however, the British fleet defeated the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile in Abu Qir Bay. Napoleon and his troops were trapped in Egypt for a short while with the British blockade holding them there. When he returned to France, the French Directory was overthrown by the coup of 18 Brumaire (November 9-10, 1799), and the new Consulate was set up with Bonaparte as first consul, or dictator. In that position, Napoleon centralized the administration, stabilized the currency, and reformed the tax system as well as making peace with the Roman Catholic Church. On Jun 14, Napoleon defeated the Austrians at Marengo, Italy on his conquest. In 1801 and 1802 he signed a treaty with Austria and Britain respectively in order to divide the French Revolution with the Napoleonic Wars ( Napoleon I ). In 1802, Napoleon became first consul for life. A year later, Britain declared war of France and Napoleon was back at it again. Through this time, Napoleon grew up with military influence and had a natural ability to lead armies and conquering other countries. His strategies achieved him victories. His victories achieved him publicity. His publicity then achieved him power. Napoleon now proceeded to conquer all of Europe and go against the new Third Coalition that was about to be formed by his enemies against him.
He crowned himself emperor in 1804 and proclaimed king of Italy in 1805 as well. The Third Coalition was formed against him in 1805 as well. Britain, Austria, Russia, and Sweden were all apart of The Third Coalition. Napoleon crushed the Austrians at Ulm on Dec. 2, 1805 and won his most brilliant victory at Austerlitz ( Napoleon I ). Prussia, seeing what Napoleon was doing, joined The Third Coalition in 1806 against him. Napoleon defeated them in the battle at Jena on October 14. As all of this was happening, the British Navy began to get stronger and stronger over time. Napoleon tried to stop trading between Britain and the rest of her allies by instituting the Continental System ( Napoleon I ). The war raged on between Napoleon and Russia. Defeating Russia at the battles of Eylua (February 8, 1807) and Friedland (June 14), convinced Russia to sign a treaty at Tilsit (July 1807). This allowed Napoleon to be the master of the continent. The whole continent of Europe was rearranged ( Napoleon I ). He controlled Holland, Spain and Austria and continued to stretch out across Europe. His Continental System tried it s best to keep Britain cut off, but the British Navy kept getting stronger and stronger and Napoleon s Continental System slowly started to deteriorate. Ever since that time, everything went downhill and Napoleon started to lose control of his territory. This marked the beginning of the defeat of Napoleon s forces.
Situations started to look worse and worse over time. Napoleon s first weakness, for instance, was at the Peninsular War (1808-14). His alliance with Russia started to become tenuous ( Napoleon I ). Czar Alexander I did not approve of Napoleon s Continental System and rejected it. Napoleon invaded Russia with the 500,00-strong Grande Arm e. Napoleon defeated Alexander at the battle of Borodino (September 7) and continued on to invade Moscow. This was Napoleon s major mistake. He proceeded to invade Russia during the winter. The extreme cold and the lack of supplies started to deteriorate his army. Napoleon was forced to retreat the army back into his own lines. Vorontzov, the Russian ambassador in London, whose Cassandra prophecy may still be read, in a letter of June 15, 1812: Even if, at first, military operations go against us, we can win, by persistent defense and retreat. If the enemy begins to pursue us, it is all up with him: for, the further he advances from his bases of supply and munitions into a trackless and foodless country, starved and encircled by an army of Cossacks, his position will become more and more dangerous; and he will end by being decimated by the winter, which has always been our most faithful ally. (Guerard, 182). Meanwhile, back at the Peninsula War, Napoleon s generals started to lose their lines. Under the command of Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, the British forced the French out of Spain (Rasmussen). When Napoleon returned from his unsuccessful attack on Russia, he saw that France was threatened at all angles. He suffered a defeat at the Battle of the Nations and on the following year, 1814, The Third Coalition took Paris. Napoleon abdicated (April 11) and was exiled to the island of Elba, which the Third Coalition gave him as a sovereign principality ( Napoleon I ). His victors were still were still deliberating at the congress of Vienna when Napoleon landed at Cannes and marched on Paris ( Napoleon I ). This caused Louise XVIII to flee, and Napoleon ruled during the Hundred Days. The Hundred Days was the time when Napoleon re-entered Paris and ruled again, up until the time he was defeated in the Waterloo Campaign and Louise XVIII was restored. The Waterloo Campaign was the last desperate act of Napoleon. He went against The Third Coalition (Britain, Prussia, Austria, and Russia), and tried to rebalance everything to his favor. He defeated the Prussians at Ligny, then moved all of his forced toward the British, under Wellington. The British held a strong defense south of Waterloo, and with the help of Prussia (under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Bl cher), rerouted the French. Napoleon abdicated again and was taken as a prisoner of war this time. He was sent to the lonely British island of Saint Helena where he died of cancer three years later (May 5, 1821). Napoleon truly fought till the end.
Napoleon is one of the most powerful conquerors of the world. He was in charge of the French army and lead attacks even against his home country where he first lived. Napoleon won many battles against many European countries. In the end, all of the countries he attacked, formed together and overwhelmed even him. He learned from his losses and made sure the same thing would not happen again in the next battle. No matter what he could do, he would have not been able to fend off the attacks that came in from every direction. Napoleon Bonaparte was truly one of the most influential people in Europe. It may have not been with his words, but his actions sure enough were just as powerful. He was able to conquer most of Europe. That includes Brittany to Poland and from Spain to Holland. Napoleon was either a notorious leader or and influencial hero. It all depends on which was you look at his achievements as a military leader as well as a emperor, king, first consul, and dictator His actions that got him to be on the 107 most important people were his first years involved in the military, his war against himself by The Third Coalition, and his defeat and desperate acts in the ending years of his life.