How did Napoleon become Emperor ‘I was born when Corsica was perishing, 30 000 French men spewed into our shore drowning the throne of liberty in waves of blood’ wrote Napoleon when the French army conquered his home country state of Corsica. Soon after his parents agreed that the impoverished island could give nothing more to their eight children, but only one country could, the one that Napoleon abhorred, France. Carlo, Napoleons father, accepted the overtaking of Corsica and began studying law soon after became a representative of the Corsican Parliament.
When moved to France, Napoleon at the age of nine was sent to the Royal Military College, where he was to study military strategy for five years. Then at the age of fifteen, he was promoted to the Royal Military Academy in Paris, a highly respected college in France. A year later he starts as a soldier in France’s best artillery squad, but feels unaccomplished because the highest ranks are given to the families of high nobility.
But, the French Revolution’s timing opens possibilities to Napoleon that he tough could never of happen, “to be 20 years old in1789, is very important, Napoleon’s destiny and the destiny of the whole country, become the same. ” says Antoine de Baecque. As an artillery Captain at the age of 24, Napoleon was sent to Toulon, where his victory against the British overtaking of the city was an enormous opportunity fro Napoleon the prove himself and rapidly be promoted through the ranks of the French military where there was a vacuum for control cause by the fleeing emigre.
Finally Napoleon was promoted. At home the Terror is still going, Napoleon sides with Robespierre’s view that liberty can no survive in France, if the heads of criminals do not roll. “(Napoleon) hated the terror but he hated chaos even more”, he believed that it was necessary to suspended liberties in the name of liberty. After Robspierre’s death, the Thermidorian assault obligated the government to call on Napoleon, because he was one of the only qualified military leaders still in France, to restore peace in Vendemiaire. We killed a great many of them, now all is quite, I could no be happier” wrote Napoleon to his brother. Finally he was a full general at the age of twenty-six. In less then ten years time he would be emperor of France. Tough his military achievements were key to his popularity and to his visions, luck, propaganda, and social manipulations also played a major role in his path to the top. ‘Great men become great because they have been able to master luck’ said Napoleon, but luck was also to be replaced by genius.
In Italy he won multiple battle and obtained the support of the locals in stating that he was freeing them from tyranny and has no problem with the people of Italy only its despots. At this point in time Napoleon won battles after battles and gained moral and economic growth through the spoils of war. But most importantly he sends back propaganda exalting him through his own newspaper, portraits and also art. Napoleon understood that victories were not enough to gain popular popularity so he focused strongly on sending back powerful and extravagant art of him and his victories.
The Italian people were getting weary of Napoleons presence since he was still continuously demanding and sending back gold and silver. Moving from Italy to Austria, the Austrians asked to make peace, fearing Napoleons fast pace and unbeatable army, and Napoleon followed the peace agreement personally, enraged form the decline of the Austrian government he shouted ‘this is what will happen to your empire, your empire is like a maid accustomed to being raped by anyone’ simultaneously breaking a porcelain tea set. Finally the Austrians gave in and Napoleon achieved what he wanted.
Through this achievement Napoleon saw that his military intelligence was not only limited to battle but to politics. Waiting to go back to France at the right time as an esteemed pioneer and general, Napoleon head to Egypt. There the British fleet sunk Napoleons naval army, the only communication he had back to France. During this dead lock, Napoleon matured and realized he was no invincible. During this time he lead an exposition to decipher the Egyptian past which was a mystery to France. But, back in France his goddess of wife bought a new house and was cheating on Napoleon.
His brother sent him a letter telling him this and Napoleon responded by adopting his own Cleopatra. Soon after Turkey declared war on Napoleon. Napoleon after the close victory and thousands of injured and sick men, was too full of pride to admit he was not as victorious as he sent back to France. Adding to his fame and propagandist profession Napoleon was able manipulate words and acts to his favor. Abandoning his army in Egypt Napoleon sets sail fro France to seize the opportunity of his life time, to come home as a hero respected and wanted in the unstable mother land.
A coupe was on the rise and Napoleon wanted to be a supporter of this, he believed this was to be an easy transition, but the two classes of the directory had to renew their oath taking hours to complete and Napoleon became impatient and barged in to the meeting place, there he was hated for since it is strictly illegal for outside people to intervene in parliamentary affairs. Shaken Napoleon stuttered over the opportunity of power and Lucien his brother saw this and unsheathed his sword and stated ‘if my brother had any intentions of becoming dictator I’d run him through. Finally the legislators fled and all was over, but later that evening Lucien and his consuls voted that three consuls were to be sworn in, making it legitimate. One of which was Napoleon. Soon Napoleon rewrote the constitution and became head consul, making him the most powerful men in France. Major achievements of Napoleon before he became emperor are: he established a new economy, replacing he currency with the Franc, establishing the Bank of France, generalizing and standardizing tax collections, and passing indirect taxation to make France richer.
Passed the Concordat, allowing him to control the church in directly through him controlling the priest’s paycheck, owning the church land and integrating Church and State. Establishing his Civil Code which is still France’s basis for government today. Also between 1801-1803 he used military funds to locally improve France through creating jobs for the unemployed and improving the esthetic and moral look of France creating a ‘feel good’ era for France. In total Napoleon is a military genius, foreign policies diplomat, socially accepted and wanted as ruler, reversed the economic path of France and its debt, all before he became emperor.
France was content with the position it was in more power no less power given to Napoleon, but royalist were not happy with the path France was on. On a confused plot the assassinate Napoleon the royalist failed to eradicate the main column supporting France at this time. Through this attempted people were set on the idea of crowning Napoleon their emperor to reduce the possibilities of assassination plots. The pope of Rome was invited to the crowning but did not crown Napoleon, he was there only to legitimatize and justify the crowning. In Notre Dame de Paris Napoleon crowned himself on December 2 1804.
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