Best quotes by Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte

French military and political leader

Napoleon Bonaparte (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He was the de facto leader of the French Republic as First Consul from 1799 to 1804. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 until 1814 and again in 1815. Napoleon dominated European and global affairs for more than a decade while leading France against a series of coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. He won most of these wars and the vast majority of his battles, building a large empire that ruled over continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815. He was one of the greatest military commanders in history, and his wars and campaigns are studied in military schools worldwide. Napoleon's political and cultural legacy has endured, and he has been one of the most celebrated and controversial leaders in world history.

Napoleon was born on the island of Corsica not long after its annexation by the Kingdom of France, and his family "occupied that social penumbra encompassing the haute bourgeoisie and the very minor nobility." He supported the French Revolution in 1789 while serving in the French army, and tried to spread its ideals to his native Corsica. He rose rapidly in the Army after he saved the governing French Directory by firing on royalist insurgents. In April 1796, he began his first military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies, scoring a series of decisive victories and becoming a national hero. Two years later, he led a military expedition to Egypt that served as a springboard to political power. He engineered a coup in November 1799 and became First Consul of the Republic. Intractable differences with the British meant that the French were facing the War of the Third Coalition by 1805. Napoleon shattered this coalition with decisive victories in the Ulm Campaign, and a historic triumph at the Battle of Austerlitz, which led to the dissolving of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1806, the Fourth Coalition took up arms against him because Prussia became worried about growing French influence on the continent. Napoleon quickly knocked out Prussia at the battles of Jena and Auerstedt, then marched the Grande Armée deep into Eastern Europe, annihilating the Russians in June 1807 at Friedland, and forcing the defeated nations of the Fourth Coalition to accept the Treaties of Tilsit. Two years later, the Austrians challenged the French again during the War of the Fifth Coalition, but Napoleon solidified his grip over Europe after triumphing at the Battle of Wagram.

Hoping to extend the Continental System (his embargo against Britain), Napoleon invaded the Iberian Peninsula and declared his brother Joseph the King of Spain in 1808. The Spanish and the Portuguese revolted with British support in the Peninsular War, which lasted six years, featured brutal guerrilla warfare, and culminated in a defeat for Napoleon's marshals. Napoleon launched an invasion of Russia in the summer of 1812. The resulting campaign witnessed the catastrophic retreat of Napoleon's Grande Armée and encouraged his enemies. In 1813, Prussia and Austria joined Russian forces in a Sixth Coalition against France. A chaotic military campaign culminated in a large coalition army defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. The coalition invaded France and captured Paris, forcing Napoleon to abdicate in April 1814. He was exiled to the island of Elba, between Corsica and Italy. Meanwhile, in France, the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped from Elba in February 1815 and took control of France, "without spilling a drop of blood" as he wished. The Allies responded by forming a Seventh Coalition, which ultimately defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815. The British exiled him to the remote island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, where he died in 1821 at the age of 51. Napoleon had an extensive impact on the modern world, bringing liberal reforms to the numerous territories that he conquered and controlled, especially the Low Countries, Switzerland, and large parts of modern Italy and Germany. He implemented fundamental liberal policies in France and throughout Western Europe.

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All CategoriesAbout ambitionsAbout happinessAbout musicAbout healthAbout menAbout timeAbout angerAbout warAbout loveAbout artAbout fearAbout mindAbout ParisAbout passionAbout vanityAbout jealousy

JealousyLarge legislative bodies resolve themselves into coteries, and coteries into jealousies.

VanityThe herd seek out the great, not for their sake but for their influence; and the great welcome them out of vanity or need.

MusicPassionMusic, of all the liberal arts, has the greatest influence over the passions, and it is that to which the legislator ought to give the greatest encouragement.

PassionPassions change, politics are immutable.

AngerFearPassionPassionate people invariably deny their anger, and cowards often boast their ignorance of fear.

PassionMany a one commits a reprehensible action, who is at bottom an honourable man, because man seldom acts upon natural impulse, but from some secret passion of the moment which lies hidden and concealed within the narrowest folds of his heart.

AmbitionsPassionGreat ambition is the passion of a great character.

AmbitionsPassionGreat ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.

PassionWhatever you ardently and passionately desire, that you obtain.

LoveI believe love to be hurtful to society, and to the individual happiness of men. I believe, in short, that love does more harm than good.

HappinessI haven't known 6 days of happiness in my life.

HappinessI hope the time is not far off when I shall be able to unite all the wise and educated men of all the countries and establish a uniform regime based on the principles of the Quran which alone are true and which alone can lead men to happiness.

ParisSecrets travel fast in Paris.

ParisSend me 300 francs; that sum will enable me to go to Paris. There, at least, one can cut a figure and surmount obstacles. Everything tells me I shall succeed. Will you prevent me from doing so for the want of 100 crowns?

MindCivilization does everything for the mind and favors it entirely at the expense of the body.

MindThe division of labor, which has brought such perfection in mechanical industries, is altogether fatal when applied to productions of the mind. All work of the mind is superior in proportion as the mind that produces it is universal.

MindThe mind of a general ought to resemble and be as clear as the field-glass of a telescope.

MindThe practice of law sharpens the mind by making it narrow.

MusicMindA well-composed song strikes the mind and softens the feelings, and produces a greater effect than a moral work, which convinces our reason, but does not warm our feelings, nor effect the slightest alteration in our habits

MindInsubordination may only be the evidence of a strong mind.

MindTo live, is to suffer; and the honest man is always fighting to be master of his own mind.

MindMy mind is a chest of drawers. When I wish to deal with a subject, I shut all the drawers but the one in which the subject is to be found. When I am wearied, I shut all the drawers and go to sleep.

HealthMindThe best cure for the body is a quiet mind.

FearThere are only two forces that unite men - fear and interest. All great revolutions originate in fear, for the play of interests does not lead to accomplishment.

FearA man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights. Men are moved by only two mechanisms: fear and self-interest. Victory belongs to the most persevering.

FearParties weaken themselves by their fear of capable men.

FearA man is not dependent upon his fellow creature, when he does not fear death.

FearThere are two levers for moving men - interest and fear.

MenFearMen are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.

FearHe who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.

FearThere are only two forces that unite men - fear and interest.

FearMankind's worst enemy is fear of work

FearThe people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.

ArtThe art of government is not to let me grow stale.

ArtThe art of the police is not to see what it is useless that it should see.

WarArtThe art of land warfare is an art of genius, of inspiration. On the sea nothing is genius or inspiration; everything is positive or empiric.

WarArtWar is not at all such a difficult art as people think. . . . In reality it would seem that he is vanquished who is afraid of his adversary and the the whole secret lies in that.

ArtA legislator must know how to take advantage of even the defects of those he wants to govern. The art consists in making others work rather than in wearing oneself out.

ArtThe great art of governing consists in not letting men grow old in their jobs.

ArtThe most difficult art is not in the choice of men, but in giving to the men chosen the highest service of which they are capable.

WarArtIn a battle, as in a siege, the art consists in concentrating very heavy fire on a particular point. The line of battle once established, the one who has the ability to concentrate an unlooked for mass of artillery suddenly and unexpectedly on one of these points is sure to carry the day.

WarArtIf the art of war were nothing but the art of avoiding risks, glory would become the prey of mediocre minds.... I have made all the calculations; fate will do the rest.

ArtThe art of choosing men is not nearly so difficult as the art of enabling those chosen to attain their full worth.

TimeTime is the great art of man.

WarArtIn war there is but one favorable moment; the great art is to seize it!

WarArtYou must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.

WarArtThe art of war is to gain time when your strength is inferior.

ArtThe art of being sometimes audacious and sometimes very prudent is the secret of success.

WarArtRead over and over again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus, Turenne, Eugene and Frederic. ... This is the only way to become a great general and master the secrets of the art of war.

ArtStrategy is the art of making use of time and space. I am less concerned about the later than the former. Space we can recover, lost time never.

If it had not been for the English I should have been emperor of the East, but wherever there is water to float a ship we are sure to find them in our way.

What I have done up to this is nothing. I am only at the beginning of the course I must run. Do you imagine that I triumph in Italy in order to aggrandise the pack of lawyers who form the Directory, and men like Carnot and Barras? What an idea!

It should not be believed that a march of three or four days in the wrong direction can be corrected by a countermarch. As a rule, this is to make two mistakes instead of one.

You can do anything with bayonets except sit on them

Republican despotism is more fertile in acts of tyranny, because everyone has a hand in it.

In war, moral factors acount for three quarters of the whole; relative material strength accounts for only one quarter.

The unwilling soldier will do anything to fight for a useless fabric piece of ribbon.

He is almost a statesman. He lies well.

A cowardly act! What do I care about that? You may be sure that I should never fear to commit one if it were to my advantage.

The French complain of everything, and always.

I wish I could take a raincheck on June 18.1815

Each state claims the right to control interests foreign to itself when those interests are such that it can control them without putting its own interests in danger. ... other powers only recognize this right of intervening in proportion as the country doing it has the power to do it.

Charges of cavalry are equally useful at the beginning, the middle and the end of a battle. They should be made always, if possible, on the flanks of the infantry, especially when the latter is engaged in front.

It is cowardice to commit suicide.

Wisdom and policy dictate that we must do as destiny demands and keep peace with the irresistible march of events.

In a narrow sphere great men are blunderers.

I cannot approve of your method of operation, you proceed like a bewildered idiot, taking not the least notice of my orders.

Posterity will talk of Washington as the founder of a great empire, when my name shall be lost in the vortex of revolution.

Tis a principle of war that when you can use the lightning, 'tis better than cannon.

All Italians are plunderers.

There shall be no Alps.

Prussia was hatched from a cannon-ball.

War,--the trade of barbarians!

So you think the police foresees and knows everything. The police invents more than it discovers.

It is often in the audacity, in the steadfastness, of the general that the safety and the conservation of his men is found.