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Early Napoleon - With A Free Essay Review



Napoleon Bonaparte was an excellent leader whose command of his soldiers is legendary. His early schooling at a French military academy taught him strategies to become a brilliant military leader. Many of Napoleon’s positive childhood habits persisted throughout his life. On the other hand, some of the destructive characteristics continued through his ruling and ultimately led to his downfall.

At the age of nine, Napoleon’s parents sent him to a French military academy. As a Corsican, Napoleon hated the French, but he was determined to learn their language. Napoleon was a smart boy and his love for math was apparent. Not everything at this school was enjoyable, though. Napoleon was a noble, but he was not wealthy and attended school on a scholarship. The French school children knew this and made Napoleon’s life hell by harassing him and beating him up. Napoleon was small for his age, but he never backed down from a fight. This is where the term “Napoleon complex” comes from. Even though Napoleon was short in stature, he made up for it in brains and aggressiveness (The Emperor’s Youth). The introduction of military schooling affected Napoleon in a positive way for the rest of his life.

Napoleon had certain attributes as a child that were carried on throughout his life. He was known as an optimistic man and once said, “Soldiers! You are ill-fed and almost naked. The government owes you a great deal, but it can do nothing for you. Your patience and courage do you honor but give you neither worldly goods nor glory. I shall lead you into the most fertile plains on earth. There you shall find great cities and rich provinces. There you shall find honor, glory, riches. Soldiers of the Army of Italy! Could courage and constancy possibly fail you?” (The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte) This pure determination was one of the reasons he won his countless battles. This perseverance was built as a child when he was bullied for being a poor Corsican in an elite French society. He was looked down upon because his family was not wealthy nor was he tall in stature. Because of the bullying, Napoleon learned to never give up. No matter the size of the enemy, there is always a chance of winning. Napoleon’s childhood characteristics carried on throughout his life.

Napoleon’s early background affected the way he ruled and led his army. His excellent leadership was shaped by the military school he went to as a child, a place most noble boys were sent. Napoleon created the Napoleonic code which stated equality and religious tolerance since he was raised with an open mind. Not everything Napoleon did was good, though. When he tried to conquer Russia, 400,000 of his soldiers died during the winter because of inadequate supplies. This created an uproar in France and citizens had him abdicate his thrown. He was sent to the island of Elba, but Napoleon, always a man who wanted glory, returned to France for the battle of Waterloo, losing once again. This man never gave up even though at times he should have. Instead of getting back to Elba to live in peace, he is sent to Saint Helena to live the rest of his life in misery (Napoleon Bonaparte). From the beginning of Napoleon’s to the end, the same characteristics continued throughout.

Napoleon Bonaparte’s entire character was shaped at a young age. As a young boy he was sent to a military school which created his Napoleon complex. His poor childhood and determined attitude is what made him into the wonderful ruler he was later on. Both of these aspects are what contributed to Napoleon’s downfall.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Although the essay is somewhat vague on the nature of Napoleon's achievements and the reasons for his downfall, and so necessarily on the connection between those things and Napoleon's childhood, the essay

at least has the merit of having an argument to make, which is no small matter given the fact that so many essays of this type lack that merit. But you do need to work on making the argument more convincing. That is not to say that I don't believe the basic thesis of your paper, but rather that your essay doesn't really give me good enough reason to believe it. I'm inclined to think that there is indeed some truth in the claim that Napoleon's later life was determined by the conditions of his upbringing, including perhaps the alleged experience of being bullied, but only because I'm inclined to think that is true of every person. The essay doesn't give enough specific, well-documented details of his early life or enough details of his adult life to establish the relationship between child and man that you make the subject of your essay's argument. Moreover, some of the specific details of your essay's speculative argument seem to be based on myth rather than fact. Napoleon was not particularly short and the idea that he suffered from what became known as the Napoleon Complex (which you ought, by the way, to define, if you wish to invoke it in the essay) is therefore likely untrue. Of course it is possible that Napoleon responded to insults against his stature by becoming an aggressive military leader, but it seems to me much more likely that the opposite was the case; he was such an aggressive and successful military leader that his enemies took to insulting his stature.

To be convincing, I think your essay needs more and better documented details about Napoleon's life, but even with such details it may be difficult to demonstrate compellingly some of the claims that you make here. That does not mean you would have to abandon such claims, however; it only means that you would need to acknowledge their speculative character. For instances, instead of saying, "Because of the bullying, Napoleon learned to never give up" one might say, "The experience of learning to cope with being bullied as a child may have helped Napoleon appreciate the value of never giving up." The key word there is "may." It's amazing what academic folk in the humanities can get away with by using that word.

Best, EJ.

P.S. "Throne" not "thrown"
Submitted by: heatherohara1234
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