The Mistakes of the Brilliant General, Napoleon Bonaparte

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The assumption held by many that Napoleon Bonaparte was a brilliant general and an exceptional leader is debatable when the Frenchman’s many mistakes are revealed. Bonaparte was born to a wealthy family with previous political connections (Wilde 1). He entered a military academy at only nine years old and entered the French Army Artillery Regiment seven years later (Wilde 1). As Bonaparte moved up in the military ranks, he made himself known with his political opinions and his successful leadership of the revolutionaries’ armed forces (Wilde 1). As he became more famous, Bonaparte threw open the gates to his path to power. Thus began the era of Napoleon, a time of absolute power, vast reform, and relentless military invasions led by a man loved by the extensive majority of French citizens. However, Bonaparte’s likeable wit and seemingly military genius masked his faults. Although the French Revolution was a coup d’état to remember, it was tainted by Napoleon Bonaparte’s hasty rise to power, by his numerous military misjudgments, and by the liberty-diminishing actions and changes that he forcibly brought to Europe.

The haste in which Napoleon was put into power after the French Revolution ended caused numerous negative consequences that sullied the efforts of the governmental overthrow. In reaction to Napoleon’s brilliant leading of his armies to victory against royalist forces, the Directory, the acting government, promoted him to general of the French forces that were about to begin a campaign against Austrian forces in Italy (McDougal, 584). Napoleon’s operation began phenomenally, with his armies crushing Austrian forces, causing their retreat and the end of their threat to France (McDougal, 584). However, Napoleon’s...

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...tantially (McDougal, 586). Finally, the Continental System’s naval blockades impeded European trade and led to harsh economic times (Wilde, 2). These wrongs committed by Emperor Napoleon went against the enlightenment ideas that formed the French Revolution, and even reversed some of their main beliefs (Wilde, 2).

The efforts made evident by the French Revolution were denigrated by Napoleon Bonaparte’s wrongdoings as Emperor of France. Napoleon’s speedy rise to power, the lessening of freedoms he imposed, and the many military mistakes he committed completely demolished many of the hopes and dreams of the enlightenment philosophes whose influence began the Revolution in the first place. Nevertheless, Napoleon Bonaparte was a highly influential human being who taught the world many important lessons, such as the horrors that can follow the actions of greedy power.
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