Napoleon’s rise to power


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  • 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

    1. 1. Napoleon’s Rise to Power<br />By Kenisha Browning<br />
    2. 2. 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<br />Undoubted genius, megalomaniac, general, statesman<br />and ruthless dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the<br />most controversial characters in world history. In 20<br />years from the base of revolutionary France he<br />transformed Europe into a largely personal Empire – but<br />his eventual fall was as fast as his meteoric rise to power.<br />To the French for a time he was a superstar, to Europe’s<br />monarchies he was ‘the enemy of humanity’. His legacy<br />is perhaps the foundation of modern Europe. This<br />presentation traces the major events in the life of the<br />‘little corporal’ that led him to power in France. <br />
    3. 3. The Early Years<br />On the 15th August 1769, in Ajaccio, on the<br />Mediterranean Island of Corsica, Napoleon<br />Bonaparte was born to a middle class family.<br />Napoleon was not of French origin as<br />Corsica had only just been sold to France by<br />the Italian republic of Genoa, therefore<br />French was always a second language to<br />him. This has led to comparisons with Adolf<br />Hitler, who also became the supreme leader<br />of a country other than his birth nation. He<br />was an avid reader and workaholic, proving<br />highly capable in areas such as mathematics<br />( a talent that led to him training as an<br />officer in the French artillery). This was the<br />platform which he began to rise<br />through the military ranks. <br />
    4. 4. The French Revolution<br />In that latter half of the 18th Century, the<br />French become progressively unhappy about<br />their treatment at the hands of the rich and<br />decadent nobility. In 1789 a National<br />Assembly in Paris defied the King,<br />representatives of the nobility and the church<br />to demand far-reaching reform of an unfair<br />administration. That summer, the citizens of<br />Paris rose and famously stormed the Bastille<br />prison, starting a chain of events that would<br />see King Louis imprisoned and eventually<br />executed. In 1792 France was declared a<br />Republic by a radical revolutionary<br />government. Their motto was ‘Liberte,<br />egalite et fraternite’ During this turbulent<br />period, France was ruled by various<br />groupings; most famously, for a time, by a<br />bloody regime under the Jacobin group led<br />by Maximilien Robespierre. <br />
    5. 5. First Coalition<br />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.<br />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.<br />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.<br />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.<br />
    6. 6. First Coalition<br />In this climate, Napoleon gained his<br />commission as a captain in the artillery<br />and was assigned to units trying to<br />throw out a British garrison from the<br />southern French port of Toulon, where<br />it was aiding a Royalist uprising.<br />Napoleon’s involvement in the siege<br />occurred by chance. When the<br />commander of the artillery was<br />wounded, Napoleon was offered<br />his position on 16th September 1793, by<br />one of the representatives on mission<br />in the area. Napoleon distinguished<br />himself by taking two crucial forts that<br />guarded the town and throwing out the<br />British fleet from the port. Napoleon<br />used his charisma to claim this minor<br />victory as his victory alone. He was<br />promoted to the rank of Brigadier<br />General at the age of just 24; in<br />addition he received several plaudits. <br />
    7. 7. First Coaliton<br />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. <br />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.<br />
    8. 8. Napoleon was a Warrior<br />By 1796, Austria was alone against<br />France as Prussia and England had<br />abandoned the coalition. There were<br />two main parts of campaign, one in<br />Germany and one in Italy under the<br />command of Bonaparte. Napoleon was<br />not expected to do well as his<br />campaign was regarded as the poorer<br />of the two, and referred to as a ragtag<br />mob. The authorities regarded him with<br />wariness as he was a rising star and was<br />perceived as a growing threat by those<br />in the top ranks of leadership.<br />However, they needed a general of his<br />quality in charge and this campaign<br />saw him roar forth as an unstoppable,<br />raging bull.<br />His army became far more battle-ready and<br />disciplined because of his energy and<br />Leadership skills. In addition, during the<br />campaigning in northern Italy, he allowed his<br />troops free reign to loot, pillage and live off<br />the countryside. This made him extremely<br />popular with his troops and back in France<br />because the war booty was restoring wealth<br />back to a county impoverished by revolution<br />and war. This aided Napoleon’s rise to power<br />as he was now recognised as a general and<br />tactician of almost unparalleled brilliance.<br />His armies stunned the Austrians with<br />victory after victory and soon he had thrown<br />them out of Italy altogether - bringing it<br />under French control. He was never far from<br />the action himself, earning his nickname 'the<br />little corporal'. All this had been achieved<br />with a smaller army than their enemy, by a<br />combination of inventive tactics, swift<br />manoeuvring, daring and not a little hard<br />fighting.<br />
    9. 9. Napoleon was a Warrior<br />The Austrians demanded peace<br />because of the campaigning of<br />Napoleon in northern Italy, and he<br />acted without consulting Paris. He<br />signed a treaty with Austria (The Treaty<br />of Camp Formio 1797) on his<br />own authority which established<br />several Italian republics to be<br />governed by the Italians<br />themselves. Due to this Napoleon is<br />regarded as being the first person<br />to move Italy towards unification.<br />He now behaved like a King<br />because of his belief in himself as a<br />man of destiny. French leadership<br />was now on full alert to this<br />successful general with a fiercely<br />loyal army at his back.<br />
    10. 10. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />
    11. 11. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />Despite the many difficulties which he had faced<br />during the Egyptian campaign, as far as the French<br />public were concerned the numerous dispatches<br />which he had sent back to France served only to<br />enhance his reputation in the country. With France<br />once again in crisis and the Directory largely blamed<br />for it, Napoleon’s return was greeted by many as that<br />of a saviour. Napoleon left Egypt and abandoned his<br />army on 23rd August and set foot once again on<br />French soil at Frejus on 9 October 1799. On his way to<br />Paris he was welcomed with enthusiasm by crowds<br />who gathered everywhere he went. There were<br />popular demonstrations at Avignon and Aix as he<br />progressed towards Paris. The civilian population<br />knew of his past victories in Italy and Egypt and<br />greeted him as a hero, while the army hailed him as<br />the leader needed to overthrow a weak government<br />of which they were tired and that had lost touch with<br />its revolutionary roots. He wrote later of his triumphal<br />journey to Paris. <br />
    12. 12. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of<br />the Council of Ancients sympathetic to the<br />coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin<br />conspiracy and persuaded them to remove<br />to the Château de Saint-Cloud, west of <br />Paris. General Bonaparte was charged with<br />the safety of the two Councils. Later that<br />morning Sieyès and Roger Ducos resigned<br />as Directors. Talleyrand persuaded Barras to<br />do the same.<br />The resignation of three of the five Directors<br />prevented a quorum and thus practically<br />abolished the Directory, but the two Jacobin<br />Directors, Gohier and Moulin, refused to<br />resign. Gohier was taken prisoner and<br />Moulin escaped. The two Councils were not<br />yet intimidated and continued meeting.<br />
    13. 13. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />Napoleon withdrew to the<br />chateau's Orangerie, where the<br />Council of Five Hundred was<br />meeting. His reception here was<br />even more hostile. Napoleon and<br />his grenadiers entered just as the<br />legality of Barras' resignation<br />was being challenged by the<br />Jacobins in the chamber. Upon<br />entering, Napoleon was first<br />jostled, and then outright<br />assaulted. It was not Napoleon<br />himself, but his brother Lucien,<br />President of the Council, who called<br />upon the grenadiers to defend their<br />leader. Napoleon escaped, but<br />only through the use of military<br />force.<br />By the following day, the deputies<br />had, for the most part, realized that<br />they were facing an attempted coup<br />rather than being protected from a<br />Jacobin rebellion. Faced with their<br />rebellion, Napoleon stormed into the<br />chambers, escorted by a small force of<br />grenadiers. While perhaps unplanned,<br />this proved to be the coup within the<br />coup: from this point, this was a military<br />affair. Napoleon was immediately<br />greeted with cries of ‘outlaw the<br />dictator’. This was a dangerous<br />development, for if a decree of outlawry<br />were agreed, it would mean summary<br />execution by a firing squad. <br />
    14. 14. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />A motion was raised in the Council of Five Hundred to<br />declare Napoleon an outlaw. At this point, Lucien Bonaparte<br />apparently slipped out of the chamber and told the soldiers<br />guarding the Councils that the majority of the Five Hundred<br />were being terrorized by a group of deputies brandishing<br />daggers. Then, according to Michael Rapport, "He pointed to<br />Napoleon's bloody, pallid face as proof. Then, in a theatrical<br />gesture, he seized a sword and promised to plunge it<br />through his own brother's heart if he were a traitor." Lucien<br />ordered the troops to expel the violent deputies from the<br />chamber. Grenadiers under the command of General Murat<br />marched into the Orangerie and dispersed the Council. This<br />was effectively the end of the Directory.<br />
    15. 15. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />The Ancients passed a decree<br />which adjourned the Councils for<br />three months, appointed<br />Napoleon, Sieyès, and Ducos<br />provisional consuls, and named<br />the Legislative Commission.<br />Some tractable members of the<br />Five Hundred, rounded up<br />afterwards, served to give these<br />measures the confirmation of<br />their House. Thus the Directory<br />and the Councils came to an<br />end.<br />
    16. 16. Coup d'état of Brumaire<br />The Directory was crushed, but the coup within the coup was<br />not yet complete. The use of military force had certainly<br />strengthened Napoleon's hand. With the Council routed, the<br />potters convened two commissions, each consisting of<br />twenty-five deputies from the two Councils. The plotters<br />essentially intimidated the commissions into declaring a<br />provisional government, the first form of the Consulate<br />with Napoleon, Sieyès, and Ducos as Consuls. The lack of<br />reaction from the streets proved that the revolution was,<br />indeed, over. Resistance by Jacobin officeholders in the<br />provinces was quickly crushed. Twenty Jacobin deputies were<br />exiled, and others were arrested. The commissions then drew<br />up the "short and obscure Constitution of the Year VIII", the<br />first of the constitutions since the Revolution without a<br />Declaration of Rights. <br />
    17. 17. Statesman and Emperor – ‘The revolution is over. I am the revolution’ Napoleon Bonaparte<br />By the year 1801, Napoleon was,<br />within Europe, to all intents and<br />purposes invincible. The treaty of<br />Amiens in 1802 ended 10 years of<br />war and in a national plebiscite<br />Napoleon was elected First Consul of<br />France for life. In 1804 Napoleon<br />declared himself Emperor of France<br />taking the title Napoleon the 1st and<br />is said to have grabbed the crown<br />out of the Pope’s hand and put it on<br />his head himself during his<br />coronation at Notre Dame. His<br />wife Josephine was proclaimed<br />Empress. <br />
    18. 18. I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up. <br />Napoleon Bonaparte<br />