Napoleon was born in 1769 and died in 1821. Napoleon is not only considered a genius in terms of military tactics, but he is also a brilliant politician and lawmaker. Besides his ability to stabilize France towards the end of the French Revolution, he was able to create law code that is still followed in France but also other places in the word. This law code is referred to as the 'Code Napoleon.' He also created the Bank of France and the model for Public School. These too are still in effect in France and other places in the world.
The career of Napoleon is slated with many accomplishments and monumental failures. Early in his career (1799), Napoleon was able to overthrow the new form of government in France called the "Directory." The amazing part of this overthrow is that the French were willing to commit all power back to a single leader. From 1789 to 1799 the French fought physically and intellectually to free themselves from absolute monarchy. The last monarch, Louis XVI was beheaded to rid France of their last sovereign. Napoleon was very popular because he was able to recapture land lost during the French Revolution, he was able to stabilize the government, and he was able to end all counter-revolutionaries. People were proud because Napoleon was able to bring back power and prestige to France. In 1804 Napoleon crowned himself the Emperor of France.
In 1810 France was at the height of their Empire. He even expanded the French Empire to Egypt. After 1810, Napoleon started to sustain major defeats. His first major defeat was against Russia in 1812. Napoleon viewed Russia as an area with many possibilities, and the Czar of Russia was viewed to be weak and two faced. To Napoleon, he was considered a easy target. The Boss as his soldiers called found out that the Russians and their Czar were very hard to beat. Napoleon believed he would win Russia in 2 months and avoiding the harsh Russian winter.
The French army entered Russia with 650,000 soldiers and 140,000 horses. They met little resistance in Russia. The Russians had a plan to starve the French, and they started the scorched earth policy. Sometimes in war, a traveling army will plunder and steal from the country that they are fighting. The Russians retreated and burned everything so the French could not eat. During the campaign Napoleon got to the point that he had the 'wolf by the throat.' This saying means that he has done too much to turn back, and has done too much not to move forward. Once Napoleon entered Russia and winter started, the French experienced one of the worst winters on record. Many of the foreign soldiers of the French army deserted.
Napoleon won every major battle, like the Battle of Borodino. The casualty rate during this battle was 3 times as worse than the allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day during World War II. Once Napoleon captured the capital of Moscow, he thought that he would be given the keys to the city. The city was burned by the Russians and the French had to return back to Europe. Even though Napoleon won, he lost because he never secured Russia as a French territory. Only 20,000 soldiers returned to France from this campaign.
After the Russian campaign, the people of France were tired of the amount of money and life they had to sacrifice for Napoleon's imperialistic drive. Napoleon was banished twice towards the end of his life. The impact of Napoleon on the continent of France, Europe, and the western world is amazing. For the country of France placed stability and government back into the country after the French Revolution. They developed their law systems, bank system, and system of government. Over the continent of Europe, he seized territory for France which was fought over and negotiated for the rest of the 19th century. Also, he placed family members and people of France into the conquered governments of Europe which also were part of the European landscape for the 19th century too. French territories in the Americas were influenced by the rule of Napoleon. For the United States, the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 was done because Napoleon needed more money for his army, and Thomas Jefferson jumped on the opportunity, doubling the size of the United States.