I. Introduction: Napoleon Bonaparte was one of the most powerful men ever to walk the face of the earth. He was France s best general, and overthrew the Directory in 1799 and monopolized power. He ruled France until 1815. Some thought him to be a great reformer. Others thought that he was a monster.
However, friend and foe alike could both agree on one thing.By 1812 Napoleon had expanded the territory of France all over Europe including Spain, Italy, Holland, and Switzerland. The countries that Napoleon did not directly control, he was usually allied with. Nevertheless, like every great leader, Napoleon too had his downfall.
II. Topic 1: Napoleon s background.A. Napoleon Bonaparte, was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica. He had 7 brothers and sisters.
His original nationality was Corsican-Italian. He also despised the French. He thought they were oppressors of his native land. In 1784 to 1785 Napoleon attended the Ecole Militaire in Paris. Here, he received his military training. He studied to be an artillery man and an officerIII. Topic 2: The Rise and successes of NapoleonA.
Between 1805 and 1807, Napoleon defeated Austria, Prussia, and Russia, making him the virtual ruler of Europe. This, and his past successes, demonstrate Napoleon s genius at military command. (Perry 334)The Rhine, the Alps, the Pyreneses, these are the conquests of the French Nation. The rest is the Conquest of Napoleon.
-Talleyrand to the Tsar (Fisher 89)B. In 1802, to thank Napoleon for bringing Peace and the Concordat, the assemblies made him Consul for life, and the French people approved of this with half a million votes for and only eight thousand against. (Cronin 224)C. When Napoleon first became consul, France was 477 million francs in debt and the country only had 167,000 francs in the treasury. Napoleon used a new system of tax colleting that allowed him to draw over 800 million a year. (Cronin 195)D.
Napoleon was voted into the position of Emperor with 3.5 million votes for and less than 3 thousand against. (Cronin 246)IV.
Topic 3: Napoleon s mistakes and his downfallA. Until about 1807 one has the feeling that Napoleon is riding the storm easily and successfully. He appears to control events. But from the inervention in Spain, and especially in connection with the war of 1809, which he did not want, one has the feeling the situation is getting out of hand. (Gershoy 489)B. Spain, who was an ally of France, wasn t doing all the things Napoleon wanted them to do.
So in 1808 Napoleon overthrew the Spanish royal family and made his brother Joseph king of Spain. However, everything that Napoleon did like putting in a foreign ruler, taking away noble privileges, etc., offended Spanish pride and created nationalistic feelings. The people of Spain revolted in 1808.
The French troops stopped the riots, but the nationalistic spirit was not lost. For the next five years, there was warf in Spain. British troops came to help Spain. This led to the defeat of Joseph, death of thousands of French troops and it inspired patriots and nationalists of other lands to resist Napoleon.C. Russia was a more difficult opponent than Prussia.Napoleon s first attempts to end the military campaign with a decisive victory over the Russians ended with a serious check. He attempted a wide circling movement against them in December, but the heavy snows, the sudden thaws and the thick mud made rapid maneuvering impossible, and the Russians escaped him (Gershoy 415)The fighting took place in the swampy Polish plains of East Prussia, with great desolate stretches, the cold of the winter coming, and lack of food and foder.
V. Topic 4: The FallA. The downfall of Napoleon is a trilogy of which Moscow, Leipzig, andFontainebleau are the successive pieces ad Waterloo the epilogue(Fisher 111)B.
The downfall of Napoleon is a trilogy of which Moscow, Leipzig, andFontainebleau are the successive pieces ad Waterloo the epilogue(Fisher 111)C. At Moscow, the goald of his efforts, Napoleon s cup of misery was filled to the brim. The city was virtually deserted by its inhabitants. No deputation wanted upon his to conclude terms. (Gershoy 498) The city was burned, every crop and piece of food had been destroyed.VI. Topic 5: AftermathA. After ten months being exiled in Elba, Napoleon crossed the sea and entered France.
Tropps were ordered to fire at him, but instead warmly welcomed him as the real Emeror of France.B. Napoleon would of never made it even if he had won at Waterloo. He would have faced the allied armiesVII. ConclusionA. Napoleon I, Emperor of France and leader of most of Europe for sixteen years, was one of the greatest and boldest military geniuses of all time, was defeated by nationalism and his own ambitions.