NAPOLEÓN BONAPARTE: HISTORY’S ULTIMATE SELF-MADE MAN Jim Werbaneth La Roche College HIST1014 14 October 2011 The Early Life of Napoleone di Buonaparte • Born in Corsica 15 August 1769. • Family origins were in the minor Italian nobility. • Commissioned in the French royal army in 1785. • Problematic early career, fighting sometimes for, and sometimes against, anti-French Corsican rebels. • Lengthy leaves of absence from the French army. The Making of Napoleón Bonaparte • French Revolution 1789. • Republican sympathies, and connections with the Robespierre family; recommended to Maximilien Robespierre by his brother in 1793. • Planned French victory in Siege of Toulon, September-December 1793. • “A whiff of grapeshot” in defense of the National Assembly against a Royalist mob, 3 October 1795. Napoleón’s First Italian Campaign Napoleón’s First Italian Campaign • Napoleón assigned to Army of Italy in 1795 in order to consign him to obscurity. • Army in terrible condition when Napoleón took command. • Conducted brilliant campaign to drive Austria out of northern Italy and threaten Vienna. Napoleón’s Egyptian Adventure • Invaded Egypt in 1798. • Defeated Mamelukes at the Battle of the Pyramids • Fleet destroyed by Horatio Nelson in the Battle of the Nile. • Abortive invasion of Syria. • Abandoned his army on 24 August 1799 to return to France and seize power. • Failures in Middle East spun to look like victory. The General’s Home Life • Married to older woman, Joséphine de Beauharnais. • Incapable of bearing more children. • Loved her, but unfaithful. • She was unfaithful to him. The First Consul and Ruler of France • Seized power in Paris on 9 November 1799. • Major accomplishments: – Invention of Egyptology ― Brought scientists, scholars and artists to Egypt. – Legal reformation and the Napoleonic Code. – Institution of metric system. – Emancipation of Jews. – Second Italian Campaign and Battle of Marengo in 1800. Empereur Napoleón 1er Empereur Napoleón 1er Empereur Napoleón 1er • Crowned himself Emperor of the French on 2 December 1804 in Notre Dame de Paris. • Emperor of the French, NOT Emperor of France. • Placed himself on an equal footing as the oldest dynasties of Europe, as a self-made monarch. Napoleón the Warlord • Years of Victory – 1805: War with Austria and Russia, Victory at Austerlitz. – 1806: War with Prussia, Victories at Jena and Auerstadt. – 1807: Polish Campaign against Russia and Prussian refugee units ― Meeting with “Brother Emperor” Alexander I at Tilsit. • Continually opposed, to the end of his career and even his life, by Britain. Napoleón the Warlord • Years of Decline • 1808: War with Austria, Battle of Wagram – Divorce of Empress Joséphine – Marriage to Marie Louise ― Now son-in-law of Emperor Joseph I of Austria – Birth of “King of Rome” and establishment of dynasty • Start of Peninsular War 1807-1814. Napoleón the Warlord • Years of Decline – 1812: The Russian Campaign – 1813: The War of German Liberation: Conflict with Russia, Prussia, Austria – 1814: Campaigns in northeastern France • Fall of Paris 31 March 1814 • Abdication and exile to Elba The Emperor Returns • Return from exile 1 March 1815. • Return to power 20 March 1815. • Declared an international outlaw on 13 March. • Battle of Waterloo 19 June 1815. The Emperor In Exile ― Again • Sent to British island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. • Isolated from European affairs and family ― Marie Louise and young son taken to her family in Vienna. • Died 5 May 1821. – Natural causes? – Murder?
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