His father, Carlo Buonaparte, was a lawyer whose family – of ancient Tuscan nobility – had emigrated to Corsica in the 16th Century.Corsica is an island that to this day has a proud and independent tradition. But in the late- 18th Century it sat uneasily in the power of the Bourbon dynasty, headed by the doomed Louis XVI. This led the young Napoleon to have natural leanings towards the revolutionary passion that was sweeping France and its territories at the time.
Liberty, equality and brotherhoodJacobin group – The society of the Friends of the constitution, the most extreme of the political clubs in Paris.The French Revolution removed a lot of the barriers to progress that once prevented the lower classes from attainting positions of influence and power in France. For a man of skill, charisma and talent such as young Bonaparte, this allowed a career progression that would not have been previously possible.
1) In particular he became well acquainted with Robsepierre’s brother.
1) This legendary ‘whiff of grapeshot’ further advanced his level of notoriety.
Interestingly it didn't worry the locals too much either as they regarded this behaviour as little different to that meted out to them by their old noble masters.Loading field guns in the thick of the fighting was a job usually done by corporals.
1) Napoleon, despite his later reputation, was certainly a progressive force within Europe.
Brumaire – Second month in the French Republican Calendar The coup of 18 Brumairewas the coup d'étatby which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.
1) Bonaparte therefore completed his coup within a coup by the adoption of a constitution under which the First Consul, a position he was sure to hold, had greater power than the other two. In particular, he appointed the Senate and the Senate interpreted the constitution. The Senate allowed him to rule by decree, so the more independent State Council and Tribunate degenerated into impotence, serving merely as window dressing.
Napoleon’s Rise to Power By Kenisha Browning
Introduction‘ To do all that one is able to do, is to be a man; to do all that one would like to do, is to be a God’ Napoleon Bonaparte Undoubted genius, megalomaniac, general, statesman and ruthless dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most controversial characters in world history. In 20 years from the base of revolutionary France he transformed Europe into a largely personal Empire – but his eventual fall was as fast as his meteoric rise to power. To the French for a time he was a superstar, to Europe’s monarchies he was ‘the enemy of humanity’. His legacy is perhaps the foundation of modern Europe. This presentation traces the major events in the life of the ‘little corporal’ that led him to power in France.
The Early Years On the 15th August 1769, in Ajaccio, on the Mediterranean Island of Corsica, Napoleon Bonaparte was born to a middle class family. Napoleon was not of French origin as Corsica had only just been sold to France by the Italian republic of Genoa, therefore French was always a second language to him. This has led to comparisons with Adolf Hitler, who also became the supreme leader of a country other than his birth nation. He was an avid reader and workaholic, proving highly capable in areas such as mathematics ( a talent that led to him training as an officer in the French artillery). This was the platform which he began to rise through the military ranks.
The French Revolution In that latter half of the 18th Century, the French become progressively unhappy about their treatment at the hands of the rich and decadent nobility. In 1789 a National Assembly in Paris defied the King, representatives of the nobility and the church to demand far-reaching reform of an unfair administration. That summer, the citizens of Paris rose and famously stormed the Bastille prison, starting a chain of events that would see King Louis imprisoned and eventually executed. In 1792 France was declared a Republic by a radical revolutionary government. Their motto was ‘Liberte, egalite et fraternite’ During this turbulent period, France was ruled by various groupings; most famously, for a time, by a bloody regime under the Jacobin group led by Maximilien Robespierre.
First Coalition There was a rise in anti-royalist political factions as the French Revolution sent shockwaves through the constitutional monarchies of Europe. Several countries of Europe, led mainly by the Austrian Empire, Prussia, Russia and Great Britain desired to put down this revolution, so they went to war against the French Republic which a view to restoring the French monarchy. The first of these grand coalitions led to the rise of Napoleon as first a general of great skill and tenacity and ultimately to self-styled Emperor. During and after this rise there were several further coalitions against France. The wars against these later coalitions are regarded as the so-called Napoleonic Wars proper. In 1779, Napoleon Bonaparte was admitted to the French military academy at Brienne . Napoleon was never truly accepted by his peers but this drove him to throw all his weight into his studies. Napoleon, after a while, managed to upgrade to the military academy in Paris because he did have certain connections to the revolutionary leadership in Paris. Due to his mathematical brilliance he was trained in artillery, even though he initially wanted to be a naval officer. When Austria, Great Britain and Prussia declared war on France in 1792, France found herself at a disadvantage. Many of France’s finest generals had been killed or driven away because of the terror that had arisen during France’s post-revolutionary excesses. Therefore, at first things went badly for them with their armies consisting largely of poorly-trained mobs under often unimaginative leadership.
First Coalition In this climate, Napoleon gained his commission as a captain in the artillery and was assigned to units trying to throw out a British garrison from the southern French port of Toulon, where it was aiding a Royalist uprising. Napoleon’s involvement in the siege occurred by chance. When the commander of the artillery was wounded, Napoleon was offered his position on 16th September 1793, by one of the representatives on mission in the area. Napoleon distinguished himself by taking two crucial forts that guarded the town and throwing out the British fleet from the port. Napoleon used his charisma to claim this minor victory as his victory alone. He was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General at the age of just 24; in addition he received several plaudits.
First Coaliton Following this, he joined the campaign in Italy as commandant of the artillery - but this posting was short lived, as the unstable political atmosphere in Paris resulted in a change of regime. The terror in Paris had left the Directory appallingly unpopular, with no one feeling safe from persecution or execution. Robespierre was supplanted and found himself a victim of the Guillotine. Bonaparte, as a known associate of Robespierre, was arrested (on a charge of conspiracy and treason) and imprisoned. Fortunately though, he escaped the Guillotine. When his case came to trial, he was cleared. The sitting judges could only find good military distinction in his career, therefore he returned to Paris. Here he famously put down a Royalist uprising by ruthlessly firing on French citizensand his stature with the revolutionary authorities was assured.
Napoleon was a Warrior By 1796, Austria was alone against France as Prussia and England had abandoned the coalition. There were two main parts of campaign, one in Germany and one in Italy under the command of Bonaparte. Napoleon was not expected to do well as his campaign was regarded as the poorer of the two, and referred to as a ragtag mob. The authorities regarded him with wariness as he was a rising star and was perceived as a growing threat by those in the top ranks of leadership. However, they needed a general of his quality in charge and this campaign saw him roar forth as an unstoppable, raging bull. His army became far more battle-ready and disciplined because of his energy and Leadership skills. In addition, during the campaigning in northern Italy, he allowed his troops free reign to loot, pillage and live off the countryside. This made him extremely popular with his troops and back in France because the war booty was restoring wealth back to a county impoverished by revolution and war. This aided Napoleon’s rise to power as he was now recognised as a general and tactician of almost unparalleled brilliance. His armies stunned the Austrians with victory after victory and soon he had thrown them out of Italy altogether - bringing it under French control. He was never far from the action himself, earning his nickname 'the little corporal'. All this had been achieved with a smaller army than their enemy, by a combination of inventive tactics, swift manoeuvring, daring and not a little hard fighting.
Napoleon was a Warrior The Austrians demanded peace because of the campaigning of Napoleon in northern Italy, and he acted without consulting Paris. He signed a treaty with Austria (The Treaty of Camp Formio 1797) on his own authority which established several Italian republics to be governed by the Italians themselves. Due to this Napoleon is regarded as being the first person to move Italy towards unification. He now behaved like a King because of his belief in himself as a man of destiny. French leadership was now on full alert to this successful general with a fiercely loyal army at his back.
Coup d'état of Brumaire Despite the many difficulties which he had faced during the Egyptian campaign, as far as the French public were concerned the numerous dispatches which he had sent back to France served only to enhance his reputation in the country. With France once again in crisis and the Directory largely blamed for it, Napoleon’s return was greeted by many as that of a saviour. Napoleon left Egypt and abandoned his army on 23rd August and set foot once again on French soil at Frejus on 9 October 1799. On his way to Paris he was welcomed with enthusiasm by crowds who gathered everywhere he went. There were popular demonstrations at Avignon and Aix as he progressed towards Paris. The civilian population knew of his past victories in Italy and Egypt and greeted him as a hero, while the army hailed him as the leader needed to overthrow a weak government of which they were tired and that had lost touch with its revolutionary roots. He wrote later of his triumphal journey to Paris.
Coup d'état of Brumaire On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of the Council of Ancients sympathetic to the coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin conspiracy and persuaded them to remove to the Château de Saint-Cloud, west of Paris. General Bonaparte was charged with the safety of the two Councils. Later that morning Sieyès and Roger Ducos resigned as Directors. Talleyrand persuaded Barras to do the same. The resignation of three of the five Directors prevented a quorum and thus practically abolished the Directory, but the two Jacobin Directors, Gohier and Moulin, refused to resign. Gohier was taken prisoner and Moulin escaped. The two Councils were not yet intimidated and continued meeting.
Coup d'état of Brumaire Napoleon withdrew to the chateau's Orangerie, where the Council of Five Hundred was meeting. His reception here was even more hostile. Napoleon and his grenadiers entered just as the legality of Barras' resignation was being challenged by the Jacobins in the chamber. Upon entering, Napoleon was first jostled, and then outright assaulted. It was not Napoleon himself, but his brother Lucien, President of the Council, who called upon the grenadiers to defend their leader. Napoleon escaped, but only through the use of military force. By the following day, the deputies had, for the most part, realized that they were facing an attempted coup rather than being protected from a Jacobin rebellion. Faced with their rebellion, Napoleon stormed into the chambers, escorted by a small force of grenadiers. While perhaps unplanned, this proved to be the coup within the coup: from this point, this was a military affair. Napoleon was immediately greeted with cries of ‘outlaw the dictator’. This was a dangerous development, for if a decree of outlawry were agreed, it would mean summary execution by a firing squad.
Coup d'état of Brumaire A motion was raised in the Council of Five Hundred to declare Napoleon an outlaw. At this point, Lucien Bonaparte apparently slipped out of the chamber and told the soldiers guarding the Councils that the majority of the Five Hundred were being terrorized by a group of deputies brandishing daggers. Then, according to Michael Rapport, "He pointed to Napoleon's bloody, pallid face as proof. Then, in a theatrical gesture, he seized a sword and promised to plunge it through his own brother's heart if he were a traitor." Lucien ordered the troops to expel the violent deputies from the chamber. Grenadiers under the command of General Murat marched into the Orangerie and dispersed the Council. This was effectively the end of the Directory.
Coup d'état of Brumaire The Ancients passed a decree which adjourned the Councils for three months, appointed Napoleon, Sieyès, and Ducos provisional consuls, and named the Legislative Commission. Some tractable members of the Five Hundred, rounded up afterwards, served to give these measures the confirmation of their House. Thus the Directory and the Councils came to an end.
Coup d'état of Brumaire The Directory was crushed, but the coup within the coup was not yet complete. The use of military force had certainly strengthened Napoleon's hand. With the Council routed, the potters convened two commissions, each consisting of twenty-five deputies from the two Councils. The plotters essentially intimidated the commissions into declaring a provisional government, the first form of the Consulate with Napoleon, Sieyès, and Ducos as Consuls. The lack of reaction from the streets proved that the revolution was, indeed, over. Resistance by Jacobin officeholders in the provinces was quickly crushed. Twenty Jacobin deputies were exiled, and others were arrested. The commissions then drew up the "short and obscure Constitution of the Year VIII", the first of the constitutions since the Revolution without a Declaration of Rights.
Statesman and Emperor – ‘The revolution is over. I am the revolution’ Napoleon Bonaparte By the year 1801, Napoleon was, within Europe, to all intents and purposes invincible. The treaty of Amiens in 1802 ended 10 years of war and in a national plebiscite Napoleon was elected First Consul of France for life. In 1804 Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France taking the title Napoleon the 1st and is said to have grabbed the crown out of the Pope’s hand and put it on his head himself during his coronation at Notre Dame. His wife Josephine was proclaimed Empress.
I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up. Napoleon Bonaparte