Napoleon Bonaparte


Napoleon Bonaparte : biography

15 August 1769 – 05 May 1821

After defeats of alliance armies Russian tsar Alexander I had to meet Napoleon on the river Neman to conclude an agreement of eternal peace between Russia and France, about division of spheres of influence and unacceptability of English politics in Europe. This period was the top of Napoleon’s career – French influence spread practically all over Europe to Russian boundaries. Bonaparte assigned his brothers as kings, dethroned real rulers and reshaped countries, he acted as a invincible usurper. After he concluded an agreement with the Russian tsar he returned to Paris and abolished one of the collective bodies of Consulate period – the Tribunal. There wasn’t any possibility of opposition to emperor’s power.

But Napoleon made several serious mistakes. Possibly, the main mistake was confrontation with the Roman Pope. The influence of the Catholic church’ head was very big and his connections were very comprehensive, it was natural that Rome began to carry on intrigues against France. Another mistake was economical – it was the siege of delivery of English goods to the continent. On the one hand, it stroke a blow to English economy, on the other hand, it had bad influence on Europe. The result of this siege was debarkation of English landing in Lisbon and ousting of French from Portugal. Napoleon with his army moved through Spain to restore his status, but in spring in 1809 there were problems in Austria, and the emperor had to turn his troops. Only after mortification of Austria he managed to finish his raid in Spain.

In the family life Napoleon had one problem – his wife Josephina couldn’t give birth to a child, and it meant that Bonaparte couldn’t establish a dynasty. The emperor was so depressed with it that he decided to marry again and even asked Alexander I to marry his sister but he received a polite refusal. Napoleon understood that if he became related with one of the European royal houses, he would strengthen his positions and that’s why he turned his attention to Austria. Austrian Chancellor Metternich decided that it would be the best way out for the country and gave permission for the marriage of Napoleon and archduchess Maria-Luisa of Austria. Since 1810 there was the time of monarchy restoration for France. On the 20th of March in 1811 a new empress gave birth to Bonaparte’s child and Metternich immediately recognized him as a Roman king.

Napoleon was intoxicated with success and power, and in result he lost common sense – he decided that there should be only one emperor on one continent. But Russia stood on his way. Historians claim that Napoleon with his army went to Russian boundaries in hope that Alexander became afraid of him and would start siege of England. But he didn’t receive concession from the Russian emperor and in June of 1812 a six hundred thousand French army crossed the frontier of Russia. Napoleon needed only one big battle – as Austerlitz, for example, but Russian armies made constant manoeuvres and fell back far inland. Only on the 7th of September practically near Moscow, near village Borodino a decisive battle happened, after which both armies had enormous losses. Kutuzov, a commander of Russian troops, fell back and saved his army. Napoleon decided that if he seized Moscow, the capital of Russia, he would win a victory. On the 14th of September French troops marched in the city. For a whole month Napoleon waited for an embassy from Russian tsar with the suggestion of peace, but when he realized that Russians wouldn’t surrender, on the 19th of October he had to leave Moscow. Kutuzov made French fall back on Ryazan road which had been ransacked by them. This fact and early frost destroyed army’s management and the emperor had to leave the army and run to France with the most loyal guardsmen.

Only in 1814 Napoleon managed to assemble new troops which consisted from untrained young recruits. In spite of sharp and successful attacks on Austrian united army supported by Russian troops Napoleon didn’t manage to obtain a decisive battle. On the 31st of March in 1814 Paris was occupied. Napoleon abdicated in favour of his son, but the Senate declared about dynasty’s overthrow and didn’t accept renunciation. The dynasty of Bourbons represented by Louis XVIII returned in France. Allies decided to send Napoleon to the island Elba near his native island Corsica. Victor’s generosity was surprising – they remained his emperor’s title, the court and even a small fleet and army. But Napoleon couldn’t accept this situation and on the 26th of February in 1815 he secretly went to France.