Who Was Napoleon Bonaparte and What Was His Basic Personality?

Napoleon Bonaparte was the Emperor of France from 1804 to 1814, and he was the first major military and political leader to emerge after the French Revolution. Historians describe his basic personality as that of an imposing character with a strong will and remarkable intelligence. He was viewed as both inspirational and lucky by his contemporaries.

Napoleon was responsible for the Napoleonic Wars, which were a series of conflicts involving France between 1803 and 1815. Historians view Napoleon as an influential military leader, and both his successes and failures are studied, including the French invasion of Russia, the Battle of Leipzig and the Battle of Waterloo.

His military was partly funded by the Louisiana Purchase when Napoleon sold the French territory in North America to the United States. Many of Napoleon’s political opponents in both France and abroad considered him a dictator and a tyrant fueled largely by personal ambition. He was forced to abdicate in 1814 after substantial military losses to the Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. After escaping his first exile to the island of Elba, he escaped to lead the disastrous Battle of Waterloo, during which French troops were defeated by British and Prussian troops. Napoleon was once again sent into exile, this time to the island of St. Helena where he died of cancer in 1821.