World History Term paper
Napoleon was one of the most influential people in the history of the world. He has affected people throughout the globe in many ways. He rose through the confusion of the French revolution to become Emperor of the French. His goal was to conquer all of Europe. Through out his lifetime he nearly succeeded in his goal. Napoleon was probably one of the greatest military leaders that ever lived.
Napoleon Bonaparte, who is also known as the little Corsican”, was born on August 15,1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He was known as the “little Corsican” because of his height of 5 feet 2 inches. He had 7 brothers and sisters. His original name was Napoleone Buonaparte in Corsica but it became Napoleon Bonaparte in French. His parents were Carlo (Charles) Buonaparte (1746-1785) and Letizia Ramolino Buonaparte (1750-1836). His original nationality was Corsican-Italian. He hated the French. He thought they were oppressors of his native land. His father was a lawyer, and was also anti-French. One reason Napoleon may have been such a conqueror was he was raised in a family of radicals. When Napoleon was nine, his father sent him to a French military government school. He attended Brienne in Paris. While there, the French students teased him. Because of this, Napoleon started having dreams of personal glory and triumph.
In 1784 to 1785, Napoleon attended Ecole, Militaire in Paris. That was the place where he received his military training. He studied to be an artillery man and an officer. He finished his training and joined the French army when he was 16 years old. Napoleon was a National Guard for Corsica until 1793 when Corsica declared independence. Napoleon and his family then fled to France. He was then assigned, as a captain, to an army that was approaching Toulon.
Napoleon soon took over France. After the French monarchy was overthrown on August 10, 1792, Napoleon decided to make his move up in the ranks. After this, Napoleon started becoming a recognized officer. In 1792, Napoleon was prompted to the rank of captain. In 1793, he was chosen to direct the artillery against the siege in Toulon. He seized ground where he could get his guns in range of the British ships. Soon after Toulon fell, Napoleon was promoted to the rank of brigadier general. In 1795, he saved the revolutionary government by controlling a group of rioting citizens by using a famous technique of his. He loaded a bunch of pellets into a cannon and fired it at the crowd.
Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. He defeated four Austrian generals in succession, and each army he fought got bigger and bigger. This forced Austria and its allies to make peace with France. But after this, Napoleon was relieved of his command. He was poor and was suspected of treason. Napoleon had no friends. No one would have suspected what Napoleon would do next.
In 1796, Napoleon was appointed to put down a revolt in Paris. He calmly took complete control of the situation. He had his men shoot all the rebels in the streets. The French government was saved, but they decided to form a new government called the Directory. Under the new government, Napoleon was made commander of the French army in Italy. During this campaign, the French realized how smart Napoleon was. He developed a tactic that worked very efficiently. He would cut the enemy’s army in to two parts, then throw all his force on one side before the other side could rejoin them. This method was extremely effective against the Sardinian troops, because he defeated them five times in 11 days. This made the King of Sardinia to try to make peace with France. Napoleon could not be stopped. He was a fast thinker who moved his troops extremely fast. Soon, instead of taking the defensive position, Napoleon started taking the offensive position and thus, he started his conquest of Europe.
He started his attack on Austria. It was his first big campaign. During one attack, he showed his bravery by forcing his way across a burning bridge. After that his troops gave him the name Petit Caporal or in English Little Corporal. He then attacked the Austrians in Mantua. Austria sent troops there four times, and every time Napoleon crushed them. In 1797, he came within 80 miles of Vienna when Austria surrendered. Napoleon had won 14 pitched battles and 70 combats. He had made the rich lands he conquered feed and pay the French soldiers. Plus millions of francs were sent to France. This helped France’s poor economy tremendously. Napoleon negotiated a treaty called Campo Formio with Austria. Austria gave up Netherlands and Lombardy to France. Austria also recognized the Rhine as the eastern boundary of France. In return, France gave Austria most of the old Venetian Republic.
When Napoleon returned to Paris, he received a huge welcome. He then began thinking of pursuing political power and military power. He wanted to become the next Alexander the Great, so he asked the Directory if he could take a large army to Egypt. That way he could conquer an empire that included Egypt, India, and other middle and Far East places. Napoleon came up with a neat idea to accomplish this. If he conquered Egypt, he could attack the English’s route to India. He won the battle of the Pyramids in July 1798. But his fleet was destroyed at the Battle of the Nile in Aboukir Bay. So, Napoleon decided to invade Syria. The English and Turkish troops in Syria had held up against Napoleon. Napoleon then retreated to Egypt. Then later in July 1799, he defeated 10,000 Turks at Aboukir. He returned to France shortly after.
Napoleon returned to find the Directory a mess. He, in his selfish way, saw this as the perfect time for self-advancement. Napoleon worked with Emmanuel Sieyes to overthrow the Directory, succeeding on 9 November 1799. Napoleon set up a government called the Consulate. He was the first of three consuls. About three years later the grateful French nation voted to make him Consul for life. Everyone in France loved Napoleon at that time. Then he started increasing his power. Napoleon became known as Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, instead of General Bonaparte. He had complete political and military power in France. But alas, he still hadn’t built up his great Eastern Empire. He wanted to recreate the empire Charlemagne was ruler of many years ago. The Austrians had been defeated at Marenegro. The German states and England were tired of fighting so they signed a peace treaty of Aimens in 1802. This was the first time since 1792 that France was at peace with the whole world. During the next 14 months of peace, Napoleon changed Europe greatly. He became president of the Italian Republic and reshaped Switzerland with France. He annexed Piedmont, Parma, and the island of Elba to France. Napoleon also reshaped a lot of France. He re-established the University of France, reformed the education system, and founded the Bank of France and the Legion of Honor. He also codified the Napoleonic Code: The first clear, compact statement of the French law. The Napoleonic Code has served as a base for legal systems around the world! Napoleon’s most lasting effect on France and much of the world was the set of civil laws that he instituted that still bears his name to this day. This code was so impressive that by 1960 over 70 different states either modeled their own laws after them or adopted them verbatim. The Code of Napoleon took the over 14,000 decrees that had been passed under the Revolutionary Government and simplified them into one unified set of laws. In 1803, war broke out again, this time between France and England. Russia, Austria and Sweden allied with Britain forming The Third Coalition against the French. Napoleon didn’t have any trouble with this. He defeated Austria and Russia at Austerlitz on December 2, 1805. He crushed the Prussians at Pena and defeated more Russians at Friedland. He then created a peace treaty called the Peace of Tilsit that brought all of Europe to his feet. Napoleon had planned to invade England whom he called a nation of shopkeepers but the right moment never showed up. In preparation for that war, he sold Louisiana to the United States for $15 million dollars to raise funds for his wars. England’s navy, under the capable hands of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, crushed Napoleon’s sea power together wit the Spanish fleet at Trafalgar Cape on October 21, 1805. With his defeat at Trafalgar, Napoleon went back to the drawing board figure out how to defeat the British.
Meanwhile back in France, the people allowed Napoleon to remove the Consulate and turn it into an empire. He decided to hand the throne down to his descendants. But he had no descendants. He ended his marriage to Josephine de Beauharnais in 1809 and remarried in 1810. He married Hapsburg Archduchess Marie Louise, who was the daughter of the Austrian emperor. Well, he got what he wanted, a son. He named his son King of Rome. Napoleon had also made all the rulers of his kingdom either family members or good friends. This made him very secure. He wiped out most of the German states, which totally dissolved what was left of the Holy Roman Empire. By this time, he was the ruler of a huge empire. He had over 42 million people at his control. A short time after napoleon’s victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon finally defeated both the Austrian and the Prussian forces. Austria was defeated at Wagram and began to withdraw from their territories in France. After that, Napoleon eliminated the Prussians after he had defeated them at the battle of Jena-Auerstadt. Then, he annexed Prussia to his huge empire and stripped it of its dominions.
Napoleon had goals for improving education in France. After coming to power he discovered he did not have enough trained personnel to administer his empire. This included architects, engineers, and scientists. Additionally he viewed education as a means of teaching the masses with the right principles. This meant removing education from the control of the church and placing it under state control. (This was something the Revolution had only partially done.) That being said, he expected two things from the schools. First was the training of middle-class boys to be civil and military leaders. Secondly, he wanted the educational system to be absolutely uniform. He wanted to be able to pull his watch out of his pocket at any time and tell what was going on at any school.
. By 1812, it was estimated that only one child in eight was enrolled in a primary school. The institutes of higher learning had a large percentage of its students in professional studies, with almost 30% studying medicine or science. However, the difficulty of finding subordinates with the technical training to execute his industrial and engineering projects, and the bent of his own genius, led Napoleon to emphasize the training of the scientist as equally important with the training of the scholar, and his efforts helped to make France the home of scientific thought in the early years of the nineteenth century. As an indoctrinating tool, it was more successful. In the latter years of the Empire, when manpower became scarce, French teenagers on the whole, responded to the call to arms even after almost twenty years of continual warfare.
In 1807, Napoleon reached an agreement with the Russians after the Battle of Friedland, which was a bloody battle. However, Russia did not lose any of its territories and agreed to cooperate with Napoleon in the future. After a series of military victories, Bonaparte finally defeated the Holy Roman Empire that existed since 926 A. D.
In1812, Napoleon began his fatal Russian campaign, a landmark in the history of the destructive potential of warfare. Virtually all of continental Europe was under his control, and the invasion of Russia was an attempt to force Czar Alexander I to submit once again to the terms of a treaty that Napoleon had imposed upon him four years earlier. Having gathered nearly half a million soldiers, from France as well as all of the vassal states of Europe, Napoleon entered Russia at the head of the largest army ever seen. The Russians, under Marshal Kutuzov, could not realistically hope to defeat him in a direct confrontation. Instead, they begin a defensive campaign of strategic retreat, devastating the land as they fell back and harassing the flanks of the French. As the summer wore on, Napoleon’s massive supply lines were stretched ever thinner, and his force began to decline. By September, without having engaged in a single pitched battle, the French Army had been reduced by more than two thirds from fatigue, hunger, and raids by Russian forces.
Nonetheless, it was clear that unless the Russians engaged the French Army in a major battle, Moscow would be Napoleon’s in a matter of weeks. The Czar insisted upon an engagement, and on September 7, with winter closing in and the French army only 70 miles (110 km) from the city, the two armies met at Borodino Field. By the end of the day, 108,000 men had died–but neither side had gained a decisive victory. Kutuzov realized that any further defense of the city would be senseless, and he withdrew his forces, prompting the citizens of Moscow to begin a massive and panicked exodus. When Napoleon’s army arrived on September 14, they found a city depopulated and short of supplies, a major comfort in the face of the oncoming winter. To make matters worse, fires broke out in the city that night, and by the next day, the French were lacking shelter as well.
After waiting in vain for Alexander to offer to negotiate, Napoleon ordered his troops to begin the march home. As the south route was blocked by Kutuzov’s forces (and the French were in no shape for a battle) the retreat retraced the long, devastated route of the invasion. Having waited until mid-October to depart, the exhausted French army found itself in the middle of an early and cold winter. Temperatures soon dropped well below freezing, food was hard to get, and the march was five hundred miles. Ten thousand men survived. The campaign ensured Napoleon’s downfall and Russia’s status as a leading power in post-Napoleonic Europe. Yet even as Russia emerged more powerful than ever from the Napoleonic era, its internal tensions began to increase.
By the 23rd of June 1812, all the troops had taken their positions. Napoleon’s main army was between Kovno and Pilviszki. Eugene’s army was around Kalvaria. Jerome with his VII Corps was near Novrogod. Macdonald with X Corps was at Tilsit. Swarzenberg’s Austrians were near Siedlice. All of these forces totaled up to 499,000 men, with 1146 guns. At the time, Russians had an army of 183,000 men and 15,000 Cossacks with 938 guns.
Napoleon’s main army reached Kovno after crossing the river Niemen between June 24-25 1812. At the same time, Macdonald went over Niemen at Tilsit, eighty miles downstream. Jerome did not cross Neimen until the June 30th at Grodno. Napoleon established headquarters at Kovno and remained in that town for three days. Until Kovno, everything had gone according to the plans, but the following days were to reveal much tougher challenges in terms of climate and road quality.
After the Russian incident, Napoleon’s empire fell apart. England, Russia, Prussia, and Austria allied together to fight the French. On June 13, 1813, Czar Alexander I, the head of the Russians, joined the Prussians and thus, the War of Liberation started. Lucky for Napoleon, he defeated the Russian and Prussian armies in Lutzen and Bautzen. In a three-day battle at Leipzig, also known as the Battle of the Nations, the French were outnumbered in every way. The French had to retreat. Then on March 30, 1814 the allies captured Paris. Even Napoleon’s generals realized it was a lost fight and gave up.
Napoleon was forced to give up the throne on April 6, 1814. Napoleon was exiled from France. He took a few soldiers to his new empire, the small island of Elba, a small island within sight of Corsica. He was allowed to keep his title of emperor and promised to pay two million francs every year to France.
After Napoleon’s Exile, European leaders quarreled upon the division of spoils of Napoleon’s empire. The work of deciding the fate of Europe was done at the Congress of Vienna. The congress was hosted by Austria and presided over by Prince Klemens von Metternich, the guiding genius of the conference. Meanwhile, Napoleon has been in Elba for 10 months and in the midst of the squabbles of the quarreling Congress, he had escaped from the island set forth back to France.
In conclusion, Napoleon Bonaparte has been a great military genius. He was one of the most powerful people, in my opinion, that I have ever read about. I have learned many things about warfare, strategic importance, and power while doing this paper. French history seemed very interesting to me. I will look forward to doing more history papers about the French.