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Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French Emperor and conquerer of Europe. After the chaos of the French Revolution, Napoleon became a stabilizing influence, and to keep various revolutionary factions within France from annihilating each other, he began to project outward in the conquest of other fledgling European nations. Even with most of the European Continent allied against him, Napoleon proved a brilliant strategist and beat the alliance! Having successfully accomplished his military goals, with the exception of Great Britain and Russia, he attempted to create a royal line with his relatives to rule all of Europe. His continuing wars with Great Britain drained his finances; this was one of the reasons he sold the Louisiana Territory to the young United States. His major reverse came when he attempted to conquer Russia, and lost four fifths of his army. The Russians then counterattacked, and besieged Paris.
Napoleon unfortunately serves as the prototype of the leader of a totalitarian state, with his use of modern warfare techniques, diplomatic duplicity, and the cult of personality. He became a model for Stalin and Hitler dominating Europe in the following century.
Napoleon has been a rather controversial figure in history. Many historians believe that he was a dictator, with ambition to conquer the whole world. Other historians consider him to be a very noble and enlightened person, who was forced to fight wars with almost all countries neighboring France, who feared that success of France under Napoleon may encourage people in other countries to overthrow their kings and queens, on like of French Revolution.
Perhaps the best source to find out about better side of Napoleon is the read his biography by J.S.C. Abbot.