Napoleon Bonaparte Napoleon Bonaparte was a military and political leader of France who made significant mistakes leading him to his downfall. Napoleon was a man obsessed with power and wealth. He was well known for his genius abilities of leading a full army, and winning impossible battles. Napoleon felt confident and believed he was more powerful than ever. But every single one of his accomplishments led him to wanting more, which is when everything began to go wrong. He made choices that were no good to France and it’s citizens. Napoleon’s three main errors will be explained in the following essay.
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Bonaparte’s first great mistake was indeed the Continental System. The continental system was a foreign policy. It was basically a strict restriction against British trade. Napoleon’s reason to such bizarreness was to attempt an invasion on the UK, and to defeat the Royal Navy at sea. He did not accomplish these attempts. Napoleon then had the European nation under his full control, this only led to a very large debt. Eventually, Napoleon’s embargo failed miserably. The effect of this was very bad. Food imports in Britain dropped, and mainly the price of foods increased. This forced the Britain’s to begin smuggling with Continental Europe.
But, even so, the continental system was not only affecting Europe and Britain, it was affecting many other nations, and France was on the list. Many industries that relied oversea markets began to decline, as well as buildings, and rope making. Profits were lost and no good was being done anywhere around. Napoleon caused much damaged to many, giving him the bad reputation that he began to gain, and mainly, his way on toward his downfall. Another well known mistake led to no good for the French as well. Napoleon did not learn from his first error, so he decided to take over and invade Russia.
This was his most well known mistake. On 1812, the Russian defeated the French army that marked a hard hit to Napoleon’s ambition of invasion. The loss of the French was mainly because of an unintelligent move by Bonaparte. Bonaparte decided to move with his troops at a very wrong time, and the weather basically got the best of them. Napoleon realized that the weather was not good for them too late. Once they backed down, winter became their great major effect. He lost about 30,000 of his troops, and all because of the extremely low temperatures that led to diseases, and abandonment.
Bad luck was what this basically was for Napoleon. This all influenced their great loss. The Russians managed to defeat the undefeated and invincible military genius that Napoleon was, and all for the smallest wrong move. Napoleon was replaced by Louis the 18th after this incident. He was banished to Elba, an island in the Mediterranean sea. Napoleon did not give up so easily. He managed to escape Elba, and yet make the last mistake he needed to literally complete his fall. Napoleon was so captivated by his failures that he decided to prove others wrong, that he can be that military genius everyone knew about.
But, all did not go so well. Napoleon governed what was known as the Hundred Days War. This war led them to a place called Waterloo, where the definite battle of the campaign took place. After three days in Waterloo, Napoleon decided he couldn’t go any longer. He had never given up before, but he realized he had nothing. He was an outlaw, and many were against him. His troops were growing smaller and smaller, as attacks kept on coming in, and there was no sense in victory for him. This is when Napoleon Bonaparte finally decided to surrender himself to the British Captain Frederick Maitland.
Napoleon was then exiled to the island of Saint Helena where he later died on May of 1821. His mistake was, the fact that he still went back to fight, when he could have just surrendered in the first place. Bonaparte was indeed a great man, and he still had the reputation of the great Military genius, but his force did not let him be the good man he once was. Bonaparte committed many mistakes that simply shouldn’t have happened. These three major mistakes are just three in a variety of small others. Ambition and obsession never leads to any good. Napoleon had to learn that the hard way.