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Yourlastname 1 Student Name Professor Name Subject 9 September 2012 Napoleon "The most dangerous moment comes with

victory." Napoleon Bonaparte (Source 1) Napoleon I, byname the Corsican or the Little Corporal, French general, first consul (17991804), and emperor of the French (18041814/15), one of the most celebrated personages in the history of the West. (Source 2) We usually refer to him as to a great conqueror, but thats not all what he was. First of all, he was a reformer, who changed Europe on the outside and on the outside. His greatest domestic success was closely linked to the heritage of the French Revolution (1789-1799) and it was embodied in code of laws, later called the Napoleonic Code. It was the most progressive set of laws for that time. According to the Code, all people were declared equal before the law, there were no privileges for Nobles and other influential citizens. Religiuos freedom and the right to vote (only for men) were guaranteed. Most countries laws were made to oppress the unfortunate and to protect the powerful. (Bonaparte, 2008, 4) Being military man, he strived to put everything in order. First of all, he ensured the stable economic development, appointing concrete people to bear responsibility for concrete tasks. But lets not forget about the achievements which brought Napoleon world glory. The peak of it was in 1804, when he crowned himself as a French emperor, after the Imperial regalia was blessed by the Pope Pius VII. (Source 3) The Battle of Austerlitz was a victory he was the most

Yourlastname 2 proud of in his military career. The second success he was proud of, was a diplomatic victory at the river Elba in 1807. Back then, Napoleon convinced Russian emperor Alexander I to join the Continental System (Blockade). Finally, two great powers on the continent were now allies. But that peace was short-lived. Although the two rulers had friendly relations on the personal level, their geopolitical goals were too different. Napoleon thought, that since Russia and England were old enemies, Alexander I would never betray him. But he miscalculated Russia eased the application of the Continental System and Napoleon had to do something about it. Despite repeated advice against an invasion of the vast Russian heartland, Napoleon did so. (Source 2) And that was the start of his end. The Great Army attacked Russia in 1812 and a year later it had to escape from that land. In total, French losses in the campaign were 570.000 against 400.000 Russian casualties. (Ibid.) The battle at Borodino (Russia) was the first, but not the last Napoleons loss. He was unvinceble on land. Only sea battles, where Napoleon was not good enough, were lost by France before. But now everything had changed. His myth of unvincible conqueror was destroyed. Besides, his oppressed allies rebelled and therefore, he had no extra forces or resources. But whats more important, France was no longer able to provide him with any armies to repell the enemies. So, what can we take from the history of Napoleons life? Napoleon always wanted more and more, and his example can show us how great people or even heroes can fall because of their thirst for power.

Works Cited

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Bonaparte Napoleon. Aphorisms and thoughts, 2008 [Online] Available at: < http://www.almaclassics.com/excerpts/aphorisms.pdf > [Accessed 8 September 2012] Encyclopedia Britannica. Napoleon I [Online] Available at: < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/402943/Napoleon-I/16217/Program-of-reforms > [Accessed 9 September 2012] Wilde R. Napoleon Bonaparte. About.com [Online] Available at: <http://europeanhistory.about.com/od/bonapartenapoleon/a/bionapoleon.htm> [Accessed 9 September 2012]