"Men and nations fails by the same powers as those by which they rise." Discuss with reference to Napoleon.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is interesting that Napoleon is the author of such a quote.  The elemental notion behind such a quote is that there is a cyclical pattern to ruling and governing.  There are different approaches needed in acquiring power and keeping it.  For example, Napoleon might prove to be an interesting test case.  Napoleon assumes power because the forces that overthrew the French Monarchy could not maintain power.  The same zeal and intensity that fed the Revolution could not sustain a positive governing life force afterwards.  The "blissful" feeling of energy and passion were not elements that give kindly to the business of ruling a nation, where prudence and some level of institutional calm is needed.  The same elements that gave rise of the Jacobins also paved their way to their destruction, causing Napoleon to assume power.  In his own case, the brilliance in international and military strategic success which allowed him to consolidate power was the same spirit that caused his destruction with his failed campaign against Russia.  The Napoleonic warfare tactic of causing extreme destruction to one side also impacted his own ability to continue, as it caused a significant loss of troops to his own cause, as well.

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