Excerpt from The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/editor/The-E ... nnica/4419
Napoleon I’s Achievements
Napoleon I is one of the most famous figures in history. An ambitious, charismatic leader, Napoleon was also a reformer, revolutionizing the French military, reorganizing French education, and sponsoring the Napoleonic Code, a model of later civil-law codes. His driving passion, however, was to expand French dominion through military conquest.
Education and Early Military Career
After graduating from military school in France, Napoleon was made second lieutenant of artillery in the regiment of La Fère when he was only 16 years old. Later influenced by his readings of Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, he believed a political change was imperative in France but, as a career military officer, he seems not to have seen the need for radical social reforms. He achieved his first military successes during the French Revolution. Napoleon supported the National Convention, the new governmental body of France that had abolished the monarchy. His distinguished military service helped him rise through the ranks. In 1795 he put down an insurrection against the National Convention in Paris. He was regarded as a hero for saving the National Convention and the republic.
Napoleon’s Rise to Power
In 1796 a new governing body, the Directory, made Napoleon the commander of the French army in Italy, which was then fighting the Austrians and their allies. The Italian campaign showed Napoleon’s military genius. He bewildered his enemies with his rapid movements. He eventually carried the war into Austria itself and had advanced to within 80 miles of Vienna when the enemy surrendered. He concluded the Treaty of Campo Formio, which gave France more territory. After a failed invasion of Egypt, he returned to France, where the political situation had become unstable. The Directory had lost its popularity among the people. Napoleon saw an opportunity for self-advancement. He joined in a plot that, in November 1799, overthrew the Directory. In its place was set up a government called the Consulate, with Napoleon as the first of the three consuls. Within three years he was made first consul for life. Napoleon instituted reforms in post-revolutionary France, starting with a complete overhaul of military training. He also centralized the government, reorganized the banking and educational systems, supported the arts, and improved relations between France and the pope. His most significant achievement was the Napoleonic Code, which streamlined the French legal system. Continued political opposition from royalists and others soon convinced Napoleon that the best way to discourage conspiracies against him would be to transform the life consulate into a hereditary empire. On May 18, 1804, the French empire was proclaimed. Napoleon was consecrated emperor of France by Pope Pius VII in Notre-Dame Cathedral on December 2.
The Napoleonic Wars
Napoleon continued a series of conflicts known as the Napoleonic Wars. Russia, Austria, and Sweden joined Britain to counter France in what was known as the Third Coalition. The British navy, under Horatio Nelson, destroyed the French fleet at Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. Napoleon was forced to look for other means to defeat his enemy. Austria and Russia were defeated at Austerlitz on December 2. Napoleon crushed the Prussians, who had entered the war in September 1806, at Jena and Auerstädton October 14, and the Russians at Friedland on June 14, 1807. His triumphs were marked by the Treaties of Tilsit in July that brought most of Europe to his feet. Napoleon led an army of about 600,000 into Russia in 1812, winning the Battle of Borodino, but he was forced to retreat from Moscow with disastrous losses. His army greatly weakened, he was met by a strong coalition of allied powers, who defeated him at the Battle of Leipzig (1813). After Paris was taken by the allied coalition in 1814, Napoleon was forced to abdicate and was exiled to the island of Elba. In 1815 Napoleon escaped from Elba and, in the Hundred Days campaign, tried to restore his empire. But British and allied forces crushed the French army at the Battle of Waterloo. This time, Napoleon was exiled to the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, where he died in 1821.
Napoleon was an absolute monarch whose ambition raised France to new heights but then brought about devastating military defeats that nearly destroyed the country’s armies. Napoleon, however, left durable institutions on which modern France was built up, including the Napoleonic Code, the judicial system, the central bank and the country’s financial organization, military academies, and a centralized university. Napoleon changed the history of both France and the world.
SESSION ONE QUESTION:
1. How did Napoleon rise to power in France, and what were some of the key factors that contributed to his success?
2. What were some of Napoleon's most significant reforms as Emperor of France, and how did they impact French society?
3. Napoleon Bonaparte’s motivational words: *Please comment if you agree with his words as followings? Why or why not? What does he mean? What occasions does his wisdom words best fit in? Can his motivational words conducive for your life?
(1). Victory is not always winning the battle…but rising every time you fall. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(2). If you build an army of 100 lions and their leader is a dog, in any fight, the lions will die like a dog. But if you build an army of 100 dogs and their leader is a lion, all dogs will fight as a lion ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(3). The reason most people fail instead of succeeding is they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(4). Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(5). Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(6). The only way to lead people is to show them a future: a leader is a dealer in hope. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(7). If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte quotes on success
(8). The purpose of religion is to keep the poor from killing the rich. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(9). Envy is a declaration of inferiority. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(10). Impossible is the word found only in a fool’s dictionary. Wise people create opportunities for themselves and make everything possible. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
SESSION TWO QUESTIONS:
4. What were some of the key factors that led to Napoleon's ultimate defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, and how did this impact his legacy?
5. How did Napoleon's reign influence modern European history, and what lessons can we learn from his successes and failures?
6. Napoleon Bonaparte’s motivational words: *Please comment if you agree with his words as followings? Why or why not? What does he mean? What occasions does his wisdom words best fit in? Can his motivational words conducive for your life?
(11). Six hours’ sleep for a man, seven for a woman, and eight for a fool. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(12).The best way to make everyone poor is to insist on equality of wealth. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(13). Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(14). It is not necessary to bury the truth. It is sufficient merely to delay it until nobody cares. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(15). The amateurs discuss tactics: the professionals discuss logistics ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(16). The World is not ruined by the wickedness of the wicked, but by the weakness of the good. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(17). Better to have an open enemy, than hidden friends. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(18). A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(19). Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
(20). The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense; he is always satisfied with himself. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
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8:40 ~ 8:55pm Summarization (15 mins)
8:55 ~ 9:00pm Concluding Remarks / Announcements
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4/18 (Tue) Napoleon Bonaparte (Host: Winston)
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