“History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
“An Army of lions commanded by a deer will never be an army of lions.”
“Ability is of little account without opportunity.”
“The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.”
“In politics, absurdity is not a handicap.”
“It requires more courage to suffer than to die.”
“It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.”
“Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself founded empires; but what foundation did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded an empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.”
“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
“You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your tricks of war.”
“When small men attempt great enterprises, they always end by reducing them to the level of their mediocrity.”
“The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.”
“Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.”
“Nothing is done while anything yet remains to be done.”
“We walk faster when we walk alone.”
“To have a right estimate of a manís character, we must see him in adversity.”
“Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.”
Napoleon was born in Corsica, to a family of noble heritage, on August 15th, 1821. He was christened with the name Napoleone di Buonaparte but by his 20s, changed it to the French-sounding Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon graduated and began his military career as a second lieutenant, but quickly proved to be an incredible tactician and brilliant soldier. In April of 1795, royalists declared a rebellion against the French legislative body of the National Convention; Bonaparte's swift response quelled rebellion in a matter of hours and earned him sudden as a result. Napoleonís new fame earned him control of the Army of Italy. Using a combination of tactical knowledge and espionage, Napoleon won battle after battle in Italy. Shortly afterward he began another military campaign in Egypt. In 1799, upon returning from his second campaign, Napoleon staged coup d'etat, forcing the French government to name him First Consul. Five years later, the French senate named Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Napoleon.
As Emperor, Napoleon enacted or reformed a multitude of French laws and practices. Among them were the introduction of the metric system and the creation of a civil code, now known as the Napoleonic Code. While Emperor, Napoleon also began one of the largest military campaigns of his time--the Napoleonic Wars. The Napoleonic wars eventually forced the involvement of every major European power, and secured French power and influence over the majority of continental Europe.
Napoleon's military campaign continued to be successful until his 1812 invasion of Russia. As Napoleon's army moved steadily advanced, the Cossacks steadily retreated, burning entire towns, villages and fields of crops behind them to prevent the invading army from finding shelter or food. Even the major city of Moscow had been evacuated and burned by Napoleon's arrival. The lack of available resources and incredible cold of a Russian winters forced Napoleon to return to France.
After his retreat, many of Napoleonís allies turned against him to form the Sixth Coalition. The Sixth Coalition invaded France, defeating Napoleon's weakened army. The Coalition exiled Napoleon to the island of Elba. He escaped in under a year and rallied an army, but was again defeated in 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo. This time he was imprisoned on the island of Saint Helena, where he died six years later of stomach cancer.