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Rise and Fall of Napoleon Bonaparte Essay

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Casa Buonaparte in the town of Ajaccio, on the island Corsica, on 15 august 1769. At the time of Napoleon’s birth the island Corsica was taken over by the French Republic. Napoleon’s family was an upper class nobility family. His father Carlo Buonaparte, an attorney, was a representative of Corsica to the court of Louis XVI. His mother Letizia Ramolino was the one, who made the dominant influence on the child. Napoleon went to a military school in France. He spoke with a Corsican accent and often he was discriminated because of his dark skin. However he has always been distinguished in his schools as an excellent student. After graduating, Bonaparte was named as a second lieutenant of artillery. During the years of the French Revolution, Napoleon fought for the French Republic by putting down the riots and helping to defeat British at Toulon. Soon for his achievements, Napoleon Bonaparte was made a General Brigadier of the French army in 1794.

When Napoleon was at his 30’s, he was one of the famous military generals in Europe for his Italian and Egyptian Campaigns. When Napoleon returned from the Egyptian Campaign to Paris in 1799, France was a bankrupt and also the Directory was ineffective, corrupt and very unpopular within the French population. On November 9, 1799 Napoleon barges into the two houses and makes the convention to vote. By the election, Napoleon became one of the “3 consuls”. That was selected to be an executive branch of the government. Napoleon was the main consul. After that, Napoleon made all of the people in France to vote for a new constitution that was called “Napoleonic Codes.” The constitution gave most of the power to the 1st consul. In 1802 – Napoleon was appointed as the 1st consul for life.

Then by the election Napoleon became an Emperor of France. As Napoleon became an emperor, he had made a lot of changes that make a good influence on French Empire’s situation. Bonaparte had balanced budget, slowed down the inflation and also he had set up a nation bank. Napoleon then had invited all of the nobles back to France and improved the relations with the Catholic Church. Also the Napoleonic Codes had a great impact and had lasted for 8 years. The Codes abolished the 3 estates of the Old Regime and there were equal rights for all men. However there were also disadvantages of the Codes. There was a censorship, limited women rights and slavery in French colonies. Also the Napoleonic codes applied to everyone except Napoleon. Napoleon Bonaparte successfully conquers several European countries and those campaigns led him to the war against the Great Britain and the Third Coalition which was formed from Russia, Austria, Sweden and Prussia.

Napoleon wins a lot of battles against the coalition. However Napoleon makes several mistakes that lead to the disintegration of the French Empire. Firstly Napoleon decided to cut off Great Britain’s trade. He makes a Naval Blockade and Europe becomes closed to British shipping. Britain strikes with its own blockade and French Empire loses most of its navy. The second mistake Napoleon had done is giving the throne of Spain to his brother Joseph Bonaparte in 1808. That move was extremely disrespectful towards Spain. Spain counters with the small hit- and – run attacks on France. That costs Napoleon many soldiers in that war called Guerilla War. Finally Napoleon’s last mistake was invading Russia. The main reason for war was that The Czar Alexander I had refused to stop selling grain to Great Britain.

Then Napoleon marches to Russia. However the Russian officer Michael Andreas Barclay de Tolly had chosen “the scorched earth policy.” The Russians began to retreat and burn all the supplies that would be helpful for Napoleon s army. Napoleon arrived in Moscow in September, 1812 and found it in flames. Napoleon had to retreat and rush back by crossing the Russia in the middle of the winter. Napoleon then raised a new army but became defeated in Leipzig by the coalition of the European countries. Napoleon soon was exiled to Elba where he planned his escape. He escaped from Elba to France and raised the army in the period called “Hundred Days”.

In June, 1815, his army got defeated by the forces of Prussia at Waterloo. Then Napoleon was again exiled to the island St. Helena in the South Atlantic Ocean where Bonaparte had spent rest of his life. Napoleon Bonaparte died on May 5, 1821. The official cause of his death was the Stomach Cancer. However there were opinions about the poisoning with the arsenic. I believe that Napoleon Bonaparte was a great politician, one of the best military leaders. One of his greatest achievements was the creating of Napoleonic codes.

The code abolished 3 estates and gave equal rights to all men. That had ended the revolution, massive violence and instability. Napoleon had reached the financial stability in the country reformed the educational system and had improved his relationships with the Catholic Church. Also Napoleon Bonaparte was a talented strategic and that helped him to expand the French Empire and set colonies in the North Africa. That had a great impact on the situation of French Empire and made it one of the most Powerful Empires in the Europe during that time.


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