Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte



Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was born in the town of Ajaccio on Corsica, France, on 15 August 1769, only one year after the island was transferred to France by the Republic of Genoa.
His father, Carlo Buonaparte, born 1746 in Republic of Genoa; later attorney, was named Corsica's representative to the court of Louis XVI in 1778, where he remained for a number of years. The dominant influence of Napoleon's childhood was his mother, Maria Letizia Ramolino.
Napoleon's noble, moderately affluent background and family connections afforded him greater opportunities to study than were available to a typical Corsican of the time. On 15 May 1779, at age nine, Napoleon was admitted to a French military school at Brienne-le-Château, a small town near Troyes. He had to learn French before entering the school, but he spoke with a marked Italian accent throughout his life and never learned to spell properly. Upon graduation from Brienne in 1784, Bonaparte was admitted to the elite École Royale Militaire in Paris, where he completed the two-year course of study in only one year. Although he had initially sought a naval assignment, he studied artillery at the École Militaire. Upon graduation in September 1785, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant of artillery and took up his new duties in January 1786 at the age of 16.
Napoleon served on garrison duty in Valence and Auxonne until after the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789 (although he took nearly two years of leave in Corsica and Paris during this period). He spent most of the next several years on Corsica, where a complex three-way struggle was playing out between royalists, revolutionaries, and Corsican nationalists. Bonaparte supported the Jacobin faction and gained the rank of lieutenant-colonel of a regiment of volunteers. After coming into conflict with the increasingly conservative nationalist leader, Pasquale Paoli, Bonaparte and his family were forced to flee to France in June 1793.
Napoleon Bonaparte

  • What two factors contributed to Napoleon’s rise to power?


It was a combination of strategic brilliance and good fortune.

  • What did his military campaigns guarantee?


His military campaigns guaranteed the survival of social and political ideals at home and the spread of revolutionary ideals across the continent.

  • Where was Napoleon born?


Napoleon was born in Corsica.

  • When did he join the army?


He joined the army in 1785.

  • What strengths did the French Army have when he took command?


The army used conscription to fill its ranks. Officers had promotions based on actual merit rather than aristocratic birth. The army used massive troop concentrations and flexible tactics.

  • What roles did he play in France’s greatest victory of the revolutionary war?


He defeated Austria in a northern Italian campaign in 1796-1797 and he established the Cisalpine Republic. Then he negotiated the transfer of the Austrian Netherlands to France in the Treaty of Campio Formo. He thus acted in the dual role of soldier and politician

  • What was the situation leading to the coup and what was Napoleon’s role in it?


There was political unrest due to a weak and ineffective government. They relied on the military to suppress dissent. Napoleon was asked to lead a coup against the government and he was named First Consul as leader of the new triumvirate. A month later, a new constitution confirmed his position for a term of ten years. He had the power to control foreign affairs and the courts and to control all legislation.

Napoleon page 73

  • What changes did Napoleon make when he was in power?


Napoleon reorganized the state. Administrative procedures were streamlined, banking and coinage were centralized and the government budget was balanced. The legal system was also modernized.

  • What are the main points of the Napoleonic code?

The Napoleonic code reflected the ideals of the revolution.  A number of things were guaranteed as absolute rights

  • Freedom of expression and conscience
  • Equality before the law
  • Civil marriage and divorce
  • Equal access to professions
  • Security of property and its equal division among heirs
  • Confirmed the rights of citizenship
  • Feudal system abolished
  • What are the details of the Concordat?


Roman Catholic Church released all claims to lands confiscated during the revolution. It also gave up its power to collect tithes (dues). The government obtained the right to appoint bishops and paid the salaries of the clergy.

  • Who was France at war with when Napoleon took over?


France was at war with Britain, Austria, Russia and Naples.

  • What started the conflict again after the Treaty of Amiens in 1802?


Napoleon gained control of Holland and Switzerland. The British felt threatened by the strategic and economic threat and blockaded French ports, cutting France off from its colonies. Napoleon sent his armies to French ports on the English Channel, getting ready to invade England.

  • What happened to the French fleet?


The French fleet was destroyed by Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar and the invasion had to be cancelled.

  • What threats did Napoleon have to deal with on the mainland?


He had to deal with military threats from Russia, Austria, and Prussia.

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  • Who was banned from where in the Berlin Decree?


All British trade and subjects were banned from the continent.

  • What areas did Napoleon need to control for his Continental System to be effective?


Napoleon needed to control the east so he seized Hanover and forced Prussia to join the boycott. He brought Russia in with the Treaty of Tilsit and he tried to control Spain.

  • What other areas were staging revolts?


Holland, Switzerland, Italy and Austria all staged revolts.

  • What ended the “Continental System”?


The Russians withdrew from the Continental system and began to trade with Britain again.

  • What happened to Napoleon’s army in Russia? Why did he have to retreat?


Napoleons’ army went deep into Russia and ran short of supplies, largely because of the Russian “scorched earth” policy. Even though they occupied the Russian capital – Moscow – it was abandoned and in flames. They could not winter there so they had to turn back. The retreating army suffered from shortages, the harshness of the Russian winter and the harassing activities of the Russian forces. The size of the army was reduced from 600,000 to less than 30,000.

  • How did Napoleon fall from power in 1814?


Napoleon was defeated by the combined forces of Prussia, Russia and Austria along with a British invasion in the south. The allies forced him to abdicate and he was sent to exile in Elba.

  • What type of government was put in power in France after Napoleon’s exile to Elba?


A liberal, constitutional monarchy under Louis XVIII was established.

  • Why was Napoleon able to go back in power?


When Napoleon returned to France he was supported by the citizens and the army. Many people were not happy with the monarchy of Louis XVIII because it seemed that the revolution had been in vain.

  • Where was Napoleon finally defeated and by whom?


Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo by the combined forces of Britain and their ally Prussia. The Prussian army was led by Blucher. The British Duke of Wellington was the leader of the combined force.


Source: http://bonarlaw.nbed.nb.ca/sites/bonarlaw.nbed.nb.ca/files/noteattach//y2009/Nov/Napoleon_Bonaparte_notes_and_questions_answers.doc

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Napoleon Bonaparte


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