Napoleon was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio, Corsica, and was given
the name Napoleone Buonaperte. He was the second of eight children of Carlo and
Letizia Buonaperte, both of the Corsican-Italian gentry. Before Napoleone, no
Buonaparte had ever been a professional soldier. His father Carlo, was a lawyer
who had fought for Corsican independence, but after the French occupied the
island in 1768, he served as a prosecutor and a judge and entered the French
aristocracy as a count. Through his father's influence, Napoleone was educated
at the expense of King Louis XVI, at Brienne and the Ecole Militaire, in Paris.
Napoleone graduated in 1785, at the age of 16, and joined the artillery as a
second lieutenant. After the revolution began in France, he became a
lieutenant colonel (1791) in the Corsican National Guard. However, when
Corsica declared independence in 1793, Buonaperte, a Republican, and a French
patriot, fled to France with his family. He was assigned, as captain, to an
army besieging Toulon, a naval base that was aided by a British fleet, while in
revolt against the republic. It was here that Napoleone Buonaperte officially
changed his name to Napoleon Bonaparte, feeling that it looked "more French".
It was here too that Napoleon replaced a wounded artillery general, and seized
ground where his guns could drive the British fleet from the harbor, and Toulon
fell. As a result of his accomplishments, Bonapatre was promoted to brigadier
general at the age of 24. In 1795, he saved the revolutionary government by
dispersing an insurgent mob in Paris. Then in 1796 he married Josephine de
Beauharnais, the mother of two children and the widow of an aristocrat
guillotined in the Revolution. Early in his life Napoleon was showing signs of
militaristic geniuses and knowledge for formidable strategy. It was through
the application of his skills, and a revolutionary style of spontaneous
fighting styles than gave Napoleon the opportunities, which he jumped at, making
his the great military leader he is known as today.

Latter in1796, Napoleon became commander of the French army in Italy.
He defeated four Austrian generals in succession, each at impossible odds, and
forced Austria and it's allies to make peace. The Treaty of Campo Formio
provided that France keep most of its conquests. In northern Italy he founded
the Cisalpine Republic, and straightened his position in France by sending
millions of francs worth of treasure to the government. In 1798, to strike at
British trade with the East, he led an expedition to Turkish-ruled Egypt, which
he conquered. His fleet, however, was destroyed by the British admiral Horatio
Nelson, leaving him stranded. Undaunted, he reformed the Egyptian government
and law, abolishing serfdom and feudalism and guaranteeing basic rights. The
French scholars he had brought with him began the scientific study of ancient
Egyptian history. In 1799 he failed to capture Syria, but won a smashing
victory over the Turks at Abu Qir. France, meanwhile, faced a new threat, the
coalition of Austria, Russia, and the lesser powers allied with Britain.
Bonaparte, being no modest soul, decided to leave his army and return to save
France. In Paris, he joined a conspiracy against the government. In the coup
d'etat of November 9th -10th , 1799, he and his colleagues seized power and
established a new regime-the Consulate. Under its construction, Bonaparte, as
his first consul, had almost dictatorial powers. The constitution was revised
in 1802 to make Napoleon consul for life and in 1804, it made him emperor.
Each of these changes received overwhelming assent of the electorate. In 1800,
he assured his power by crossing the Alps and defeating the Austrians at
Marengo. He also concluded an agreement with the pope, which contributed to
French domestic tranquillity and ended the quarrel with the Roman Catholic
church that had arisen during the Revolution. In France, the administration
was reorganized, the court system was simplified, and all schools were put
under centralized control. French law was standardized in the Code Napoleon,
(the civil code) and six other codes. They all guaranteed the rights and
liberties won in the Revolution, which included equality before the law and
freedom of religion.

Considering Napoleon, being the greatest general of his time, with the
intentions of France in mind it is clear how the French people respected him,
held him in high regard, and even praised him. With that same clarity that we
can see how those "enemies of the state", and others not living in France
feared Napoleon, and saw him as a power hungry mad man. Opposing generals
fueled by hate attempted on many occasion to stop the momentum that Bonaparte
and his French empire was gaining. The view by others that he was a ruthless