NAPOLEON BONAPARTE RISE TO POWER

How was possible for Napoleon Bonaparte, an inexperienced Corsican boy, to rise to the power of France and build one of the largest empire in the history of human kind? What caused his downfall and failure?

In this Article I try to answer these questions sharing with you 8 laws of power that I have found studying Napoleon Bonaparte’s biography.

LEADERS LEAD

Napoleon was loved by his troops because he used to fight by their side. Especially during the battle of Lodi and Arcole cannon balls fall close to him, but he kept fighting at the side of his soldiers gaining the nickname of “little corporal”. The troops considered Napoleon one of them. Instill your troops with enthusiasm thorough your actions not words. When they see you engaged more than anyone else, having the highest standards, not being afraid of taking risk, and making hard decision. you are going to inspire and bind the group together. Do what you preach.

“I love power like a musician loves his music”

napoleon leading of arcole battle

ELOQUENCE

Bonaparte was a terrific actor, to inspire his troops he was capable of laughing, smiling, and then suddenly, to become passionate, inspiring fear, horror and anger. He was a master at motivating his soldiers. When Napoleon escaped from Elba and was marching towards Paris, soldiers were sent to stop him, but he ended up being praised by the soldiers that were sent to kill him who were shouting “vive l’empereur”.

napoleon returns from elba meets his troops

“Soldiers if there is one among you who wants to kill his general, his emperor here I am.”

BE ABLE TO SELL YOUR IMAGE

When we think about Napoleon we picture him riding his white stallion crossing the alps, in reality he was riding a mule. Bonaparte was not only a warrior he was as well a propagandist he understood that was not enough to win victories, He understood that art was also a mean of propaganda. He dictated the themes the layout of the character he even ordered the dimensions of the frames. He used his image to make sure that his victories were wildly publicized in France.

“Everything on earth is soon forgotten except the opinion we leave imprinted on history.”

Napoleon crossing the alps

SEIZE THE MOMENT

During the french revolution aristocrats officers were fleeing the country. There were opportunities for rapid promotions for soldiers that could prove themselves in battle. Napoleon had his opportunity during the battle of Toulon even tough he was just a young artillery officer he managed to convince his generals to apply his battle plan and gained his first military reputation. If he didn’t have the courage to show his plan to the generals his military career would have never started.

“Great man become great because they have been able to master luck what the vulgar call luck is a characteristic of genius.”

napoleon bonaparte

WHEN YOU CAN’T BEAT THE
GAME CHANGE ITS RULES

Napoleon arrived in Italy to contrast the Austrian supremacy but he found an army without spirit and exhausted. He was clearly outnumbered so Napoleon attacked the Austrians in a way that they could never expect. An Austrian General commenting on Napoleon:

“They sent a young mad man who attacks right left and from the rear it’s an intolerable way of making war.”

MAKE YOUR ENEMIES BELIEVE
THEY HAVE CONTROL OVER YOU

During the battle of Austerlitz Napoleon showed all his military genius, in fact the battle is often seen as a tactical masterpiece because he executed a perfect plan. He made his enemies believe that the french army was in a pitiful state. Napoleon even abandoned the dominant Pratzen Heights. The Russian and Austrian army advanced thinking to destroy the Grande Armée but they were falling right into Napoleon’s trap.

“Finding themselves attacked when they had thought that they were the attackers, they looked upon themselves as half defeated.”

austerlitz pratzen napolen bonaparte

JUDGE YOUR ALLIES BY THEIR ACTIONS

The first thing the Tsar said to Napoleon during the Treaties of Tilsit was “I hate the british as much as you do”. One of the biggest mistake Napoleon made was to believe the words of the Tsar Alexander I. He didn’t demand for Russians territory when he was the one dictating the terms because He was convinced to have turned the Tsar into a friend and allied,  he thought to have charmed him. When he invaded Moscow he hoped the Tsar wouldn’t set fire to the city, he was wrong.

napoleon tsar alexander

YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT
FROM A DIFFERENT CLOTH

After the battled of Lodi he was convinced that he had a lucky star and that destiny had chosen him to accomplish great things. He started to believe that was protected by God and was infallible. From that point on Napoleon didn’t accept advice, he only had confidence in his lucky star. It was one of the cause of his downfall, because no matter how high you rise you still respond to the laws of power and success, if you make a mistake you are going to pay for it. Napoleon commenting on the fire of Moscow:

“Mountains of red rolling flames like immense waves of the sea, oh it was the most grand, the most sublime and the most terrifying sight the world ever beheld.”

napoleon moscow flames

 

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