Josephine's Early Life (Napoleon's first wife)

Essay by lastminutechic88Junior High, 9th grade May 2004

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Josephine was born in 1763 in the West Indies on an island called Martinique. When she was born her name wasn't Josephine, in fact it was Marie-Rose de Tascher de la Pagerie. Josephine or Marie was raised on a slave plantation; she became of noble blood by marrying a French officer, Vicomte Alexandre Beauharnais, in 1779. They had two children a boy, Eugene and a girl, Hortense. Her marriage to him was an unhappy one because he was always chasing after women and she had poor social manners. They separated, but remained close friends. Josephine was a quick learner and was soon becoming more sophisticated and well-mannered. She eventually became "one of the leading lights in Paris society." Suddenly her life was destroyed by the French Revolution. The French Revolution was started because average every day people were tired of unjust taxes and special privileges. Many nobles and aristocrats were executed during what was called the "Reign of Terror" including Josephine's husband.

Josephine too, was imprisoned and would have been executed had the terror not come to an end.

Before the Reign of Terror she was alone with two children and without the help of her family. For a while she lived in a Christian community of nuns living together, was very similar to a monastery, was called a convent school. While living here, her manners and sociability improved more and more every day. While staying here she also learned the rules on how to act with others when a widow in Paris. In Paris these very particular manners were known as extramarital interaction. Josephine was eventually forced to leave the convent, because of how well she was coping and how much she had learned. The nuns at the monastery made the right choice because soon there after...