Napoleon Bonaparte’s personality greatly contributed to his rise to power. On one hand, Napoleon Bonaparte had deep-rooted charisma, brilliant military credentials, outstanding oratory skills as well as ability to overthrow the Directory which necessitated his rise to power while on the other hand, Napoleon Bonaparte’s capitalization on the weaknesses of the Directory as well as gains of French Revolution made it easier for his rise to power. The mandate of this paper is to show the extent to which Napoleon Bonaparte’s personality led to his rise to power.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power owed much to his deep-rooted charisma. This is because Napoleon Bonaparte was full of and driven by charisma. D.N Richards notes that Napoleon Bonaparte had the thirst, zeal and appetite for success and greatness. This is further supported by D. Thompson who postulates that, “Napoleon Bonaparte was a man of a few snatches of sleep.” This portrays that Napoleon Bonaparte was restless and ever-working in a bid to secure greatness. It was this deep-rooted charisma that paved way for Napoleon’s rise to power in 1799. Therefore, Napoleon Bonaparte’s deep-rooted charisma greatly necessitated his rise to power.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s brilliant military credentials were also pivotal in triggering his rise to power. This is because Napoleon Bonaparte was a military genius who outstandingly fought in battles. Napoleon Bonaparte had mastered the skill and craft to organise and reorganise the army in a short space of time to secure victory following his enrollment at the royal military academy. Moreover, the military prowess of Napoleon is evident in his successful Italian Campaign as well as the fear by European countries to have Napoleon in the battle-field as he was equated to forty-thousand soldiers. It was this military background with impressive credentials which harnessed Napoleon Bonaparte’s popularity in France and eventually his rise to power. Thus, Napoleon Bonaparte’s military credential were essential in necessitating his rise to power.
Outstanding oratory skills possessed by Napoleon Bonaparte were crucial in leading to his rise to power. This is because Napoleon was a well-seasoned speaker, candid and confident. His oratory skills are evident when he addressed a group of demotivated soldiers noting, “I know you are poorly dressed, poorly fed and ill-equipped…” His attachment to the ordinary Frenchmen and their multi-faceted plight attracted and aroused great interest for French citizens precipitating his rise to power. Hence, Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power can be attributed greatly to his outstanding oratory ability.
Napoleon Bonaparte’s ability and capability to overthrow the Directory also aided immensely in his rise to power. This is because by successfully embarking on a coup det’at, Napoleon overthrew the Directory marking his own elevation to France’s highest office. The Directors who included Barras were brought down from the clenches of power. However, the ability of Napoleon Bonaparte to stage a coup det’at is said to have been a by-product of the Directory which accorded him unmatched power by overly relying on Napoleon Bonaparte to suppress internal insurrections and French citizens disgruntlement. Therefore, the ability and capability of Napoleon Bonaparte to successfully topple the Directory through a military takeover led which he led was pertinent in leading to his rise to power.
On the contrary, the weaknesses of the Directory ignited the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte to power. This is because the Directory had a lot of weaknesses being buffeted by corruption as well as failure to deliver much of the promises made to the expectant French citizens. During the reign of the Directory, corruption became the order of the day with the Directors like Barras using it as a weapon to retain power, sexual scandals were reported of the Directors while souring rates of unemployment and inflation rocked France. The failure by the Directory to deliver its promises prompts D. Thompson to describe the revolutionary government as, “A child born dead.” This led to the dissipation of the Directory popularity while at the same time profering Napoleon Bonaparte as a force to reckon with for the French citizens. Thus, Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power can be credited to his ability in capitalizing on the weaknesses of the Directory.
The gains of the French Revolution were also vital in enabling Napoleon’s rise to power. This is because Napoleon Bonaparte only rose from the ranks to leutianant and army general with the massive execution of army generals during the Reign of Terror. This made it possible for him to be in an influential post in the French government. Moreover, the French revolution made it possible for people like Napoleon Bonaparte to rise as it marked the divergence and transformation of France’s political landscape which was characterised with a ruling elite(Bourbon Monarchy). The French revolution marked the genesis of populism, meritocracy and competence as sine qua nons of leadership as opposed to the ancient regime. Furthermore, the French Revolutionary ideas became the bedrock of Napoleon Bonaparte’s political outfit; liberty, equality and fratenity. He promised the French citizens to further these ideas thereby not only captivating popularity but also capturing interest in the hearts of the Frenchmen. Hence, the French Revolution was critical in necessitating Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power.
To sum up, this paper has shown the extent to which Napoleon’s personality contributed to his rise to power. On one hand, Napoleon was charismatic, endowed with impressive oratory skills as well as possessed brilliant military credentials while on the other hand, the flaws of the Directory and the French Revolution availed to Napoleon Bonaparte a formidable ground to rise to power. One can therefore conclude that Napoleon Bonaparte’s personality was greatly key in leading to his rise to power.