Napoleon Bonaparte: Image of an Emperor
Napoleon's story has a fairy tale quality, but instead of rags to riches it is immigrant to Emperor. What follows is an analysis of Napoleon as an individual in history; particular attention is paid to Napoleon's role as emperor and the abilities that allowed him to accomplish his fantastic achievements,
"Even when I am gone, I shall remain in people's minds the star of their rights, my name will be the war cry of their efforts, the motto of their hopes." (Napoleon Quotes)
Napoleon's Character: Driven to Greatness
Napoleon embraced the French Revolution and was a product of The Enlightenment,
... Having entered into a life of action, he still remained a thinker. This warrior was never happier than in the silence of his own study, surrounded by papers and documents. In time he became more practical and we would boast the he had repudiated "ideology."
Nevertheless, he was still a typical man of the eighteenth century, a rationalist, a philosophe. Far from relying on intuition, he placed his trust in reason, in knowledge, and in methodical effort..." (Memoirs, 92)
However, many French exhibited common characteristics of the Enlightenment; what set Napoleon apart was his self-driven need to lead, conquer and especially his incredible ability to project an image of himself and his endeavors which would aide him continually until his defeat (though afterwards through his memoirs.) Madame de Stael provides a contemporary account of Napoleon's personal character and demeanor,
"So the fear he inspired was caused only by the extraordinary effect of his person upon nearly all who approached him. I had seen men worthy of respect, and I had seen fierce men: there was nothing in the impression Bonaparte produced upon me that recalled either the former or the latter. I very...