Essay Example on Napoleon Bonaparte: Enlarging the French Empire in 19th Century Europe

Published: 2022-12-26
Essay Example on Napoleon Bonaparte: Enlarging the French Empire in 19th Century Europe
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Biography Personality World War 1 Leadership style Napoleon
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 904 words
8 min read

Napoleon Bonaparte invaded and occupied a large chunk of Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. He was the French emperor and military leader. Napoleon was born in 1769 on the French-controlled island of Corsica. He attended a military school and later joined the French army. Napoleon named himself the emperor after he seized power through a coup. After he became an emperor, he led a war targeting the different groupings of European countries to enlarge his empire. The paper aims to establish whether Napoleon Bonaparte was a genius French emperor or a man favored merely by the circumstances of the time. The paper will primarily focus on Napoleon as an ambitious and genius military leader and emperor who used great skills and made vital decisions that made the French military successfully defeat and conquer most European nations.

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It should be noted that Napoleon employed great tactics in dealing with both the real and perceived enemies. After his incorporation in the French army in 1785, he rose through the ranks and was promoted to the artillery of the French army as a lieutenant. The instance which depicts Napoleon as a genius is during the Toulon siege in 1793 (Gleijeses 237). Despite his young age as a captain in the army, he managed to use the artillery effectively. He used great skills to source for guns and fought for the incorporation of the retired officers in the artillery. Napoleon established different batteries that managed to put away the Allied ships. The merged batteries forced the Allies to retreat. The strategy worked as O'Hara who was a British general was captured. The events that led the Allies to retreat depict Napoleon as an astute and genius French military leader.

In 1799 during the coup of 18 Brumaire, Napoleon was one of the members who ousted the French Directory. Three-member Consulate was then constituted to substitute the Directory. Napoleon being the genius he was established himself as the first consul which propelled him to be the most popular political leader in France. His skillfulness was further shown during the Battle of Marengo. His forces crushed the Austrians, one of the sworn enemies of France, and shoved them away from Italy (Warner 7). The victory by Napoleon troops further entrenched his influence as the first consul. Post-revolutionary stability was attributed mainly to Napoleon shrewdness. He made notable reforms in different sectors like education and banking. He successfully introduced an efficient tax system and created a national bank. Additionally, he instituted a centralized form of government and worked to develop better relations between the pope and the government. Moreover, the France legal structure was effectively reorganized through the establishment of the Napoleonic Code (Gleijeses 240. This code still forms the backbone of the French civil law date. This is undoubtedly a clear testament that Napoleon was indeed a genius.

Napoleon's emergence as genius is further shown by his decision to involve the use of relatively lighter Gribeauval guns instead of the common cannons. He was keen at ensuring that speed, tactic, and precision are adhered to during the battle. His choice to use the Gribeauval guns proved beneficial as they were more flexible which gave his troops the rare advantage in the battlefield. Also, he ensured that the stock of grape shots and cannon balls were in constant supply an idea which made them have an edge against their enemies. Napoleon made good use of cannon which made them crash their opponents during battles in the sea. In December 1805, Napoleon made great accomplishment during the Battle of Austerlitz when his troops managed to overpower the Russians and Austrians. This victory led to the fall of the Holy Roman Empire and the emergence of Rhine Confederation (Gleijeses 246).

It is imperative to note that Napoleon made significant decisions, especially during the Royalist revolution. He was actively involved in coordinating the forces of Paul Barras. He had to be convinced to help the forces fight the Republican Convention in exchange for having complete freedom in terms of movement. Napoleon directed one of his aides to Sablon to bring back some cannon to Paris (Warner 13). This proved to be a crucial decision as the use of cannons helped in defeating the Royalists. Napoleon greatly believed in catching his enemies by surprise. He believed in attacking the opponents, and he made sure that his troops were well supplied with food by either sourcing them from the residents or buying them cheaply from the friendly nations.


In conclusion, Napoleon Bonaparte is primarily considered to be a genius based on the decisions he made during his time as the French military leader and an emperor. His astuteness made him crush his enemies and expanded the French territory. He employed unrivaled tactics that made his troops crash the Austrians and Russians (Warner 4). The reforms he made in the education sector where officials were trained further reinforce his actions as a genius. It is worth to note that Napoleon established himself as an intelligent fighter going by his insistence to make quick and speedy strikes against the opponents. This strategy made him defeat his opponents who are often caught by surprise. Even after a host of European nations defeated him, he recollected and overthrew the regime and took charge for the second time.

Works Cited

Gleijeses, Piero. "Napoleon, Jefferson, and the Louisiana Purchase." The International History Review 39.2 (2017): 237-255.

Warner, Nicholas O. "Picturing power: the depiction of leadership in art." Leadership and the Humanities 2.1 (2014): 4-26.

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