Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most powerful individuals in history. He was a great soldier, an unparalleled tactician and a skilled administrator. His dictatorship and ruthlessness led him to his thinking that he could do no wrong.
As a teenager, he grew in a revolutionary era that gave him the opportunity to become an achiever. His first military opportunity came when he became the captain at the siege of Toulon. Here, he was able to seize crucial forts even bombed the British naval and land military men. The incident brought about the retreat of the British forces.
When he was the brigadier-general, he joined the military campaign in Italy but was unfortunately arrested and sent to jail because of his association to his younger brother Maximilien Robiespierre. After his release, he worked with Paul Barras who was a member of the Directory. Barras used Bonaparte’s great passion to stop a royalist mob in 1795 with what the now famous “whiff of grapeshot.”
Despite Napoleon’s leadership skills, he had certain weaknesses such as impatience dislike of criticisms and over-optimism. These qualities manifested when he controlled and censored the press. Perhaps, he would be more admired if he was able to face and do something about his shortcomings rather the controlling the press.
One of the grave weaknesses that he committed was actually reforming the tax system. He imposed heavy taxes in Germany and even cut off imports because of the continued wars. This actually decreased his popularity among the people.
It is never a good tactic to become a dictator. A leader will only be a good one if his leadership is ratified in the hearts of his people. This was violated by Bonaparte when he opted to put the burden to the people in order to prioritize the war.
Asprey, R. (2000). The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. New York: Basic Books.
Connelly, O. (2006). Blundering to Glory: Napoleon’s Military Campaigns. London: Rowman and Littlefield.
Cronin, V. (1994) Napoleon. London: Harper Collins.
Durant, W. (1975). The Age of Napeleon. New York: Simon and Schuster.