Memorable Quotations from Napoleon Bonaparte

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By Jim Dell


Memorable Quotations from Napoleon Bonaparte
(Kindle Book at Amazon)


Born in Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was emperor of the French. After the beginning of the French Revolution, he took part in the Corsican rebellion and was forced to leave the island. Returning to France, Bonaparte was linked with the Jacobins and achieved notice by extricating the British from Toulon in 1793. He was temporarily imprisoned in 1794, but his career was revived when the Convention was assaulted in October 1795 by a Parisian mob, and Napoleon was called on to disband it. Bonaparte led the splendid Italian campaign from 1796 to1797 against Austria and completed it with a constructive treaty. Bonaparte then drew up a design to strike at Britain's colonial empire by assaulting Egypt. His triumph in the battle of the Pyramids in July 1798 was made useless when the French fleet was demolished in early August by British Admiral Nelson. Leaving a miserable situation in Egypt, Bonaparte returned to France and joined a conspiracy already formulated. The French Directory was toppled by a coup on November 9-10, 1799, and the Consulate was set up with Bonaparte as first consul. He centralized the administration, stabilized the currency, and reformed the tax system. In 1800 Napoleon crushed the Austrians in Italy and made peace with Austria and Britain. In 1803 Britain again declared war on France. Napoleon had himself crowned emperor in 1804 and proclaimed king of Italy in 1805. The Third Coalition was formed in1805 against him by Britain, Austria, Russia, and Sweden, but Napoleon defeated the Austrians and won his most dazzling victory at Austerlitz, over the Austrians and Russians. Prussia, which joined the coalition in 1806, was defeated. British sea power grew greater with Nelson's victory at Trafalgar. Napoleon then established the Continental System to try to stop British trade with France and her allies. On land, war with Russia endured and Napoleon was victorious. The treaties with Russia and Prussia left Napoleon master of the Continent. The Holy Roman Empire was disbanded in 1806, and the kingdoms of Holland and Westphalia were formed, with Napoleon's brothers as kings. A third brother became king of Naples and king of Spain. In 1809 Austria's effort to revive warfare was crushed and Napoleon annexed the Papal States to France in spite of the protests of Pope Pius VII. In 1809 Napoleon had his marriage to the Empress Josephine, whom he had married in 1796, annulled. He then married Marie Louise of Austria, who bore him a son. Britain stayed an opponent, and the Continental System showed challenging to enforce. Napoleon's first failing had emerged in the Peninsular War, and his alliance with Russia was fragile. When Czar Alexander I rejected the Continental System, Napoleon invaded Russia with the 500,000-strong Grande Armée. After the inconclusive battle of Borodino, Napoleon entered Moscow, but the winter and scarcity of supplies forced him to begin a calamitous retreat that became a rout in late November. Napoleon left his army and rushed to Paris to organize French defenses. Prussia swiftly turned against France and was joined in a coalition by Britain, Sweden, and Austria. The allies defeated the emperor at Leipzig in October 1813, chased him into France, and took Paris. Napoleon abdicated on April 11, 1814, and was exiled to the island of Elba, which the allies furnished him as a sovereign principality. His victors were still deliberating at the Congress of Vienna when Napoleon arrived at Cannes and marched on Paris. King Louis XVIII escaped, and Napoleon ruled during the Hundred Days. He was defeated, though, in the Waterloo campaign in 1815 and abdicated again. Sent as a prisoner of war to the isolated British island of Saint Helena, he died there on May 5, 1821. His remains were returned to Paris in 1840.


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