Napoleon I (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: One of the greatest generals in history, Napoleon I also made lasting contributions to the laws and civil administration of France and other lands. His darker legacy is to have developed a dictatorial rule that is the precursor of modern Fascism.
Although a native of Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to French military schools in Brienne and Paris, where he became known as “the little corporal” because of his small stature. Commissioned to the artillery in 1785, he later took part in fighting on behalf of the French Revolution. In 1793, he was promoted to brigadier general, but he was imprisoned the next year when the forces in power changed from the radical Jacobins to Thermidorean reactionaries intent on stopping the reign of terror that had made the Revolution turn on its own members. He was soon released, however, and back in favor in October, 1795, when he dispersed a Parisian mob threatening the government.
A politically helpful marriage and victories in the field, especially in northern Italy, increased Napoleon’s prestige. Other spectacular victories in Egypt, coupled with a weak government at home that was overthrown in 1799, led to his elevation as first consul in the new government. A plebiscite was held confirming his enormous popularity, and by 1801 (the year in which he made peace with the Roman Catholic church, one of the Revolution’s greatest enemies)...
(The entire section is 2058 words.)
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Napoleon I (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Napoleon fought, conquered, and dominated much of Continental Europe and established the French Empire. His brilliant victories over Austria, Prussia, Russia, and their allies brought him fame and glory and recognition as a great military genius.
Napoleon Bonaparte graduated from the French military school and was appointed an artillery officer in the army in 1785. When the French Revolution (1789-1792) came, he welcomed it and made a name for himself early in 1793, when he delivered the city of Toulon from British control. Two years later, he saved the government of the convention from a royalist insurrection. In 1796, he was appointed commander of the French army in northern Italy, where he defeated the Austrians at Lodi and at Rivoli the following year.
In 1798, Napoleon planned to crush the British by invading Egypt and reaching India. However, the Egyptian Campaign was a failure, despite an early victory at the Pyramids (1798). Admiral Horatio Nelson destroyed the entire French naval force at Aboukir Bay in the Battle of the Nile (1798). Napoleon returned to France in 1799, overthrew the directory, established the consulate, and was named first consul. A victory against the Second Coalition at Marengo in 1800 added to his reputation. On...
(The entire section is 653 words.)