Quotes by Napoléon Bonaparte
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Wikipedia Summary for Napoléon Bonaparte
Napoléon Bonaparte (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), usually referred to as simply Napoleon in English, 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. One of the greatest commanders in history, his wars and campaigns are studied at military schools worldwide. He remains one of the most celebrated and controversial political figures in human history.
Born on the island of Corsica not long after its annexation by the Kingdom of France, Napoleon's modest family descended from minor Italian 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, while 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.
A leader is a dealer in hope.
The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.
It requires more courage to suffer than to die.
A true man hates no one.
When soldiers have been baptized in the fire of a battle-field, they have all one rank in my eyes.
We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him.
Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.
The art of land warfare is an art of genius, of inspiration. On the sea nothing is genius or inspiration; everything is positive or empiric.
When I give a minister an order, I leave it to him to find the means to carry it out.
The superior man is never in anyone's way.
War is the business of barbarians.
Courage isn't having the strength to go on -- it is going on when you don't have strength.
Respect the burden.
If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.
Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.
Victory belongs to the most persevering.
The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.
Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night.
Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.
Water, air, and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy.
The poor man and the beggar are two quite different classes: one commands respect, the other arouses anger.
The reading of history very soon made me feel that I was capable of achieving as much as the men who are placed in the highest ranks of our annals.
A battle sometimes decides everything and sometimes the most trifling thing decides the fate of a battle.
Religion is, in fact, the dominion of the soul; it is the hope, the anchor of safety, the deliverance from evil. What a service has Christianity rendered to humanity!
There are two kinds of fidelity, that of dogs and that of cats; you, gentleman, have the fidelity of cats who never leave the house.
Impatience is a great obstacle to success; he who treats everything with brusqueness gathers nothing, or only immature fruit which will never ripen.
In politics nothing is immutable. Events carry within them an invincible power.
In politics nothing is immutable. Events carry within them an invincible power. The unwise destroy themselves in resistance. The skillful accept events, take strong hold of them and direct them.
England would be better off without Canada; it keeps her in a prepared state for war at a great expense and constant irritation.
From first to last, Jesus is the same; always the same -- majestic and simple, infinitely severe and infinitely gentle.
The first method is that of a schemer and leads only to mediocre results; the other method is the path of genius and changes the face of the world.
It is easy to know when a government wishes for peace by observing the character of the person sent to negotiate for it.
Men soon get tired of shedding their blood for the advantage of a few individuals, who think they amply reward the soldiers perils with the treasures they amass.
You do not get peace by shouting: Peace. Peace is a meaningless word; what we need is a glorious peace.
I cannot believe there is a god who punishes and rewards, for I see honest folk unlucky, and rogues unlucky.
My true glory is not to have won 40 battles ... Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories, ... But ... what will live forever, is my Civil Code.
I am a soldier and accustomed to risking my life every day. I am full of the fire of youth; I cannot act with the restraint of an accomplished diplomat.
There is no class of people so hard to manage in a state, as those whose intentions are honest, but whose consciences are bewitched.
Man is entitled by birthright to a share of the earth's produce sufficient to fill the needs of his existence.
The basic principle that we must follow in directing the armies of the Republic is this: that they must feed themselves on war at the expense of the enemy territory.
Democracy, if it is reasonable, limits itself to giving everyone an equal opportunity to compete and to obtain.
It is in times of difficulty that great nations like great men display the whole energy of their character and become an object of admiration to posterity.
The first quality of the commander-in-chief is a cool head to receive a correct impression of things. He should not allow himself to be confused by either good or bad news.
Cossacks are the best light troops among all that exist. If I had them in my army, I would go through all the world with them.
It is only by prudence, wisdom, and dexterity that great ends are attained and obstacles overcome. Without these qualities nothing succeeds.
Whatever may be the position in life of a parent, it is his duty to share his crust with his children. If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.
If 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.
Democracy may become frenzied, but it has feelings and can be moved. As for aristocracy, it is always cold and never forgives.
I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.
Medicine is a collection of uncertain prescriptions, the results of which, taken collectively, are more fatal than useful to mankind.
The process of quitting smoking doesn't end with the last cigarette. It's not quitting itself, the real key is staying quit.
I am the signet which marks the page where the revolution has been stopped; but when I die it will turn the page and resume its course.
No amount of money will induce someone to lay down their life, but they will gladly do so for a bit of yellow ribbon.
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.
Whatever shall we do in that remote spot? Well, we will write our memoirs. Work is the scythe of time.
Has a man the right to kill himself? Yes, if his death harms no one and if life is an evil to him. When is life an evil? When it offers a man nothing but suffering and pain.
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.
Hereditary succession to the magistracy is absurd, as it tends to make a property of it; it is incompatible with the sovereignty of the people.
Take a dose of medicine once, and in all probability you will be obliged to take an additional hundred afterwards.
Nothing is so contrary to military rules as to make the strength of your army known, either in the orders of the day, in proclamations, or in the newspapers.
I am a monarch of God's creation, and you reptiles of the earth dare not oppose me. I render an account of my government to none save God and Jesus Christ.
In war, moral factors acount for three quarters of the whole; relative material strength accounts for only one quarter.
How many things apparently impossible have nevertheless been performed by resolute men who had no alternative but death.
Do not talk to me of goodness, of abstract justice, of nature law. Necessity is the highest law, public welfare is the highest justice.
Terrorism, War and Bankruptcy are caused by the privatization of money, issued as a debt and compounded by interest.
It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well.
It is often in the audacity, in the steadfastness, of the general that the safety and the conservation of his men is found.
Men who have changed the world never achieved their success by winning the chief citizens to their side, but always by stirring the masses.
Clearly, the pleasures wines afford are transitory -- but so are those of the ballet, or of a musical performance. Wine is inspiring and adds greatly to the joy of living.
True character stands the test of emergencies. Do not be mistaken, it is weakness from which the awakening is rude.
It is an approved maxim in war, never to do what the enemy wishes you to do, for this reason alone, that he desires it.
The world soffers a lot. Not because the violence of bad people. But because of the silence of the good people.
The hand that gives is among the hand that takes. Money has no fatherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, their sole object is gain.
As a rule, you must always reserve the right to laugh the next day at your thoughts of the previous night.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.
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