Napoleon Bonaparte was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on August 15, 1769, of a good family in a well-established position. He had many brothers and sisters and these family relations played an important part in his later life. He was a soldier from his childhood, entered the military school at Brienne when he was 10, and obtained his lieutenant's commission when he was sixteen. He apparently began with some literary ambition and wrote various pamphlets. In these, as in all he ever wrote, there is a curious tendency to rhetoric, coupled with the power to drop such rhetoric completely and speak out with a native vigor and energy that burns and stings.
The wars of the French Revolution afforded Napoleon an opportunity to advance his career; in 1796, he was given command of the French army of Italy.
In Italy, against the Austrians, Napoleon demonstrated a dazzling talent for military planning and leadership, which earned him an instant reputation. Having tasted glory, he could never do with out it.
In 1799, he was leading a French army in Egypt when he decided to return to France and make his bid for power. He joined a conspiracy that overthrew the Directory and created an executive office of three consuls.
Napoleon tried to close the breach between the state and the Catholic Church that had opened during the Revolution. Such reconciliation would gain the approval of the mass of the French people.
The Concordat of Worms in 1801, recognized Catholicism as the religion of the great majority of the French, rather than as the official state religion. This Concordat made his regime acceptable to Catholics and to owners of former church lands.
In 1802, Napoleon was made first consul ...
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...apoleon spent the last six years of his life here on the lonely island of St. Helena. One can not say that this man had not accomplished a great deal of things in his lifetime. He only lived to be 50 years of age, but he had done so many things, won so many battles and taken over so many empires.
Bradford, Gamaliel: Portraits and Personalities, New York: Books for Library Press, 1968.
Fertig, Howard: Political and Historical Works of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Vol I, New York, 1972.
Fertig, Howard: Political and Historical Works of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Vol II, New York, 1972.
Payne, Howard C.: The Police State of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte 1851-1860, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966.
Perry, Marvin: Western Civilization: A Brief History, Volume II from the 1400's. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997.
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