What individual steps did Napoleon take to expand the French empire?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even before he became emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte's military exploits added lands to the French republic. As commander of the Army of Italy, he forced the surrender of the Italian Papal States and then marched into Austria, where he negotiated a peace settlement. Napoleon then decided against his greatest desire--successfully invading England--due to what he correctly perceived as their naval superiority. He thought of himself as a modern-day Caesar, and he obviously saw France as a reinvention of the Roman Empire. With this in mind, Napoleon set his sights on the first goal of further expansion: Egypt, then India. Securing Malta as an important naval base, he secured part of Egypt; but the English navy defeated the French at the Battle of the Nile. After later establishing himself as Emperor Napoleon, he aimed toward acquiring new territories and alliances. He allied himself with Persia and Spain, then gained Germany, Prussia, parts of Poland, and Russia, following his masterpiece at Austerlitz. But like the Roman Empire, Napoleon's control would not last forever and his ill-advised invasion of Russia and resulting defeat spelled the beginning of the end.

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