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lucien bonaparte Josephine's Influence On The Great Napoleon

A young woman by the name of Josephine Rose-Marie Tascher arrived in France from the tropical island of Martinique in the midst of the greatest political and social up heaving. With her innate grace and charm she secured herself a position of prominence that enabled her to capture the affection of Napoleon Bonaparte an up and coming French artillery officer from Island of Creole (www.geocities.com/Paris/Parc.html). This was the beginning of one of histories most passionate and extraordinary love affairs. Napoleon instantly fell in love with Josephine and they married on March 8, 1776. The marriage of Josephine and the great Napoleon was one of turbulence, yet Josephine had a great impact on his decisions and his rise to power and fame. Josephine was a respectable and likable person with a high social status which aided to Napoleon and his advancements. Emotionally, Napoleon was affected greatly by Josephine both directly and indirectly. Josephine's influence on Napoleon's emotions was profound in the way that it affected his decisions and actions. Also, Josephine was a smart and intelligent woman whose opinions were of great value to Napoleon and he often took them into consideration when making extremely important decisions.
Socially, Josephine had a great impact on Napoleon's advancements and his success in many areas of life. Early on in the marriage Napoleon discovered how useful Josephine could be to forwarding his position in society and in the military. He often made her his advocate, taking her along when he went to ask an important favour of someone (Erickson 132). She would often speak on his behalf because her remarkable social skills, amiable personality (Cartland 104), and because of her high social status that she obtained from her first husband1. Remarkably, it was Josephine who in the winter of 1795 asked that Napoleon be given command of the Italian army (Erickson 132). Sure enough shortly after her request he obtained command (Erickson 132). It was also Josephine's aristocratic connections, her position as a leader of Directory Society, and her distinguished name that helped to advance Napoleon's social status (Erickson 134). Napoleon once confided to his secretary that, She (Josephine) had beneath my side during my early years when my future was far from assured, she had lent me her aristocratic status to assist my many ambitions, (Erickson 277). For this helped the people of France to see him less as conspicuous foreigner lacking in a distinguished breeding (Erickson 134) and more of someone that they could relate to 2. Josephine often helped her husband in his social duties as Emperor by entertaining military men and ambassadors (Erickson 242). She always remembered people's names and had a gift for making people feel special and welcomed (Erickson 242). Napoleon himself once said I win battles but Josephine wins hearts. (Laing 148). Her natural social skills were a great asset to his rise and popularity. At first it was Josephine's social status that helped Napoleon but later on it was her good spirited nature and her likable personality that helped to create a better image of Napoleon therefore helping him in his advancements.
Josephine had a major influence on Napoleon emotionally, directly and indirectly by making him feel secure, providing him with emotional support, and giving him confidence which ultimately had a bearing on his decisions and actions. Sadly before Napoleon had met Josephine he was on the verge of suicide he was lonely and depressed (Laing 128). Fortunately Josephine had transformed life for him, given him meaning to ambition, and crowned his success with pleasure, (Laing 128). Mlle Avrillon, one of Josephine maids, even saw his dependence on her and her swift response to his needs, whenever he suffered the slightest indisposition, when any problem aroused to worry him, she was, so to speak, at his feet, and at such times he could not get along without her, (Erickson 132) This demonstrates how much her emotional support helped Napoleon and how he relied on it to continue his aspirations (Erickson 132). Napoleon was convinced that his good fortune in battle, politics, and all the important areas of life was linked to his finding and falling in love with Josephine. She was his charm ... more

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Napoleon I, known as Napoleon Bonaparte before he became emperor, was probably the most brilliant military figure in history.  Rising to command of the French Revolutionary armies, he seized political power as first consul in 1799 and proclaimed himself emperor in 1804.  By repeated victories over various European coalitions, he extended French rule over much of Europe.  He was finally defeated in 1814-15.

Early Life

Napoleon was born on Aug. 15, 1769, to Carlo and Letizia Buonaparte (see BONAPARTE family) at Ajaccio, Corsica. His father secured a scholarship for him to attend French military school at Brienne (1779-84). Ostracized as a foreigner, he devoted himself entirely to his studies and graduated 42d in his class of 58. He then spent a year at the Military Academy in Paris before he was commissioned (1785) a second lieutenant in artillery. Assigned to the Valence garrison, he spent more than half of the next 7 years on furlough in Corsica, often without authorization. He came into conflict with the Corsican nationalist Pasquale PAOLI, and his family was forced to flee to Marseille in 1793.

Bonaparte had welcomed the beginning of the FRENCH REVOLUTION in 1789, and in September 1793 he assumed command of an artillery brigade at the siege of Toulon, where royalist leaders had welcomed a British fleet and enemy troops.  The British were driven out (Dec.  17, 1793), and Bonaparte was rewarded with promotion to general of brigade and assigned to the French army in Italy in February 1794.

After the overthrow of the revolutionary leader Maximilien ROBESPIERRE in July 1794, Bonaparte was briefly imprisoned because he was identified with Robespierre's faction.  Released in September, he was assigned to fight a rebellion in the Vendee.  He refused to go, however, working instead in the topographic section of the army, and eventually his name was stricken (Sept.  15, 1795) from the list of general officers.

On Oct.  5, 1795 (13 Vendemiaire under the Revolutionary calendar), a revolt broke out in Paris, protesting the means of implementing the new constitution introduced by the National Convention.  Paul BARRAS, who had been given full military powers, ordered Bonaparte to defend the convention, and aided by Joachim MURAT's cannons, he routed the insurrectionists within four months.  Bonaparte was rewarded by the new government, the DIRECTORY, with appointment (March 1796) as commander of the Army of the Interior.  Before taking up that post he married (March 9) JOSEPHINE de Beauharnais, the 33-year-old widow of a republican general and erstwhile lover of a series of men, including Barras.

Italian and Egyptian Campaigns

Late in March 1796, Bonaparte began a series of operations to divide and defeat the Austrian and Sardinian armies in Italy. He defeated (April 21) the Sardinians at Mondovi (April 21), forcing them to conclude a separate peace by which Savoy and Nice were ceded to France.  Then, in a series of brilliant maneuvers and battles, he won Lombardy from the Austrians. Mantua, the last Lombard stronghold, fell in February 1797 after a prolonged siege;  Bonaparte had defeated four attempts to relieve the siege.  As he crossed the Alps to advance on Vienna, the Austrians sued for an armistice, which was concluded at Leoben on Apr.  18, 1797.  Bonaparte then personally negotiated the Treaty of CAMPO FORMIO (Oct.  17, 1797), ending the war of the First Coalition, the first phase of the FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS.

In addition to attending to his military operations in Italy, Bonaparte engaged in political affairs.  He reorganized northern Italy to create (1797) the Cisalpine Republic and negotiated treaties with various Italian rulers.  He also purloined invaluable Italian works of art and vast quantities of money, which were sent to Paris to enhance French museums and to bolster French finances.

On his return to Paris, the Directory proposed that Bonaparte invade England.  Instead he urged the occupation of Egypt in order to threaten British India.  On May 19, 1798, he sailed with an army of more than 35,000 troops on 350 vessels for Alexandria, Egypt.  After seizing Malta en route, he reached Egypt on July 1, after evading the fleet of the British admiral Horatio NELSON.  There he occupied Alexandria and Cairo, guaranteed Islamic law, and began to reorganize the government. On August 1, ... more

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