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Napoleon October 31, 2007

Posted by cantueso in history, law.
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Corsica

1769

Napoleon was born in Corsica.

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napoleon-sketched-by-david

He received a military education, was praised as a soldier, imprisoned as a rebel and then promoted to general when France went through years of terror, revolutions, and war .

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1798

napoleon-in-egypt

The painting by Jean Luis Gérôme is in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jean-Luis Gérôme.jpg

This is Napoleon in Egypt, where he and his armies got stuck because the British burnt his ships and he could not get back to the mainland.

And because they got stuck and had to dig trenches, they discovered the Rosetta stone, the stone slab with inscriptions in three languages. It was the key to the hieroglyphs.

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1799

At the age of 30 he seized control of the government first as a ruler and in

1804

he crowns himself as the emperor of the French.

Napoleon gets a crown

Frenchman Frank Samson portrays Napoleon.

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By 1812

Napoleon had overrun all of Europe with his armies, but he lost against Nelson at Trafalgar and he suffered decisive defeat in Russia, where half a million of his  men died in the snow : remember the Beresina.

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1812

Defeat in Russia

The beige curve represents Napoleon’s advancing army starting out with 400,000 men. The black curve represents Napoleon’s fleeing army reaching Lithouania with 4,000 men. The curve is in public domain at http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/29/Minard.png

It was so cold that the soldiers tried to sleep in the bellies of their dead horses.
They did not wake up again.

army defeated by snow Bourbaki panorama
For the pictures see http://luoghisensibili.wordpress.com/

The ground froze.
When it thawed, the transports got stuck in mud.
The guerrilla attacked from left and right.

The generals went on horseback, but the army …. w a l k e d all the way from Paris to Moscow and back.
When the horses slid on the ice, the generals also walked and dragged their exhausted horses along.
The guerrilla caught the stragglers.

disarming-the-soldiers
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Napoleon never lost his optimism, nor his delusions, nor the loyalty of his men.

They adored him right to the end. –

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Napoleon camping in an Orthodox church

Here he is camping at a Russian Orthodox church. See that bed in the background?

The painting is called Bad news from Paris. That is the meaning of all those papers on the floor:
No news from Paris.
Nothing from the allies, nothing from the other army corps.
The guerrilla intercepted the communications : no letters, no food, no spares..

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1812

But he decided to leave his army and race back to Paris in a sledge accompanied by a friend who wrote down the story. The friend’s name was Caulaincourt and the book well worth reading. Back in Paris Napoleon enlisted men and funds for more wars, but the Europeans started to collect their wits, and France was invaded :

Headlines “The Morning Post” of 1813 :

morning post defeat napoleon

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1814

napoleon at elba cartoon

http://www.waterloo1815.de/Bilder/napoleon_elba.jpg.

This cartoon  is now part of a slide show and I cannot access it anymore for further credits.

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Napoleon was exiled to Elba, and the British had a great time :

Napoleon cartoon Elba exile.

The journey of a modern hero, to the island of Elba Napoleon sits backwards on a donkey going to Elba. His sword is broken and he holds on to the donkey’s tail. The drummers mean that this is a solemn moment.

The drawing is in public domain at  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Napoleon%27s_exile_to_Elba3.jpg

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Looking lonely.

Napoleon exiled cartoon

Napoleon exiled by Francois-Joseph Sandmann.

Source: http://www.tlfq.ulaval.ca/axl/afrique/Sainte-Helene.htm

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But exiled to Elba, look where he lived!

A castle with a view:

Napoleon's palace in exile

Photograph by Wolfgang Sauber  published under the CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Villa_Mulini_-_Lage_%C3%BCber_dem_Meer.jpg.

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And then, unbelievably, he  escaped, reached France, and was able to put together another army and start yet another war .

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French Empire_1811

The French Empire with its clients and allies comprised all of Europe, except those gray patches.

Napoleon wanted to have it all for himself, and the British would not let him. In the cartoon, the Duke of Wellington is  trying to get his share:

1815 

Napoleon and Wellington cartoon

The Pudding in Danger — Drawing by Js. Gillray in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caricature_gillray_plumpudding.jpg

Napoleon lost the battle of Waterloo against great Wellington.

Napoleon photographed

American Mark Schneider portrays Napoleon.http://tinyurl.com/d4hkgmr
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He was banished to a remote place in the South Atlantic Ocean.

He died 6 years later, nobody knows whether of arsenic or boredom. The picture is based on the wax figure formerly at Madame Tussaud’s in London showing the Duke of Wellington visiting:

dead Napoleon  wax figure

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wellington_Visiting_the_Effigy_of_Napoleon.jpg

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Wellington visits Napoleon wax figure…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
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But even before he failed in Russia, Napoleon had trouble in Spain :

goya_the madrid shootings

People everywhere fought him with knives and sickles and were executed as rebels and terrorists.

The famous painting  is at the Prado Museum in Madrid, Spain, and the photo is in public domain according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:El_Tres_de_Mayo,_by_Francisco_de_Goya,_from_Prado_in_Google_Earth.jpg..

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The best that this lawless genius left behind was a code of law that lasted 200 years in France and is the source of legislation in one of the US States.

coronation of Napoleon and Josephine.

The painting by David shows him putting a crown on his wife’s head, with her looking as if she were praying to him, which she likely was. Her name was Josephine.

Before Napoleon picked her up, she had led a rather eventful life as a lady of expensive habits.

She was very well liked by the people, but Napoleon divorced her, because she could not have children.
Below is a transcript of  Josephine’s statement accepting her divorce :

letter Josephine divorced from Napoleon

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The grey paintings are  from the Bourbaki panorama murals in Lucerne about a French army taking refuge in Switzerland and getting disarmed.


Napoleon clothed as Roman emperor Painting in public domain by Ingres

little Napoleon line drawing

 
the short Timeline:

1769 Birth of Napoleon
1795 … promoted to general
1798 …. tries to take Egypt
1799 ….. .. takes over the government
1804 ………. declares himself Emperor
1812 . .. …….. defeated in Russia
1813 … .. .. attacked by Europeans
1815 Napoleon is exiled, escapes, grabs power and starts another war
1815 loses against Wellington at Waterloo and again gets exiled
1821 Napoleon dies.

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Comments»

1. cantueso - November 7, 2008

This is how Victor Hugo saw Napoleon , though I think he later recanted :

“…half-naked worker sent by God to eliminate in
one single day ten
centuries of misery, without fear, without pity,
true, immense and
sincere….”
(snip snip)
…..you who with terror saved freedom: you who bear
that somber name:
necessity!”
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Translated from “Cuatre-vingt treize”. It is truly awful, that submission to power. But Hugo was a great poet.

2. luoghisensibili - April 8, 2009

Thanks Cantueso, I’m glad to see my photo in this post.

3. Bruce Conway - September 17, 2010

I’m wondering if people like Goethe and Hugo were duped by Napoleon’s propoganda – which was excessive and constant, in the same way otherwise normal and intelligent people were duped by the now-proven lies that preceded the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Once the true situation became known, some of them must have changed their minds.

4. Dors Feline weight - April 10, 2013

Appreciate this post. Let me try it out.


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