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  • marc

    What about that one where he says something to the effect of, “There are 2 factors on the battlefield: Space and Time. I am least concerned with the former as it may be regained. Time, however, once lost is gone forever.”

    It’s my favorite.

  • Dave

    Hitler was a madman Napoleon wasn`t. And me, personally, I think sending tyrants into exile is a good idea. Churchill was a idiot to not think putting Hitler, Hermann Goering, Himmler, Benito Mussolini and so on, on an island. I mean, putting the likes of Saddam Hussein, Mad Dog Gaddafi, Assad, and other dictators on an island and leaving them to argue amongst themselves is a good idea. A dictator version of I`m a Celebrity get Me Out Of Here!, would me good..

    • marc

      Exile for dictators/tyrants in the past was a good punishment, but I don’t think it would work today. As long as they’re alive their followers would commit terrorist acts to free them. Don’t tell me Qaddafi’s supporters would have let him rot on an island when they could blow things up if they thought it would free him.

      Then again, they’ll probably blow things up whether he’s dead or alive.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Dave,

      Thank you for your comment. Churchill said in 1943: “I always hate to compare Napoleon with Hitler, as it seems an insult to the great emperor and warrior to connect him in any way with a squalid caucus boss and butcher.” Churchill also said that he would not “desecrate St. Helena” by sending Hitler there.



  • Gene Claridge

    Dr. Zarzeczny, great article! I find the last quote about Napoleon’s final words rather interesting. His last words show that he was just like any other man because he was a “Victim of Love” as the Eagles might sing. Napoleon was able to bring France, a nation that was unstable, and turn it into a large, powerful empire. Not only did he expand the borders and influence of France, but his ideas about how government should look at internal affairs influenced many nations today. Though Napoleon brought about great change, he was not a man that did not have flaws. For example, the events that occurred in Haiti were not something that modern leaders would be proud to have under their belts. Nevertheless, Napoleon was a man, somebody that produced great and tragic decisions. He may have tried to produce the notion that he was a great emperor under God, but he was human as anyone else. I believe the last quote before his passing truly demonstrates this notion. He envisioned with being the love of his life, Josephine, for the rest of eternity. So, not only was he a brilliant tactician on the battlefield and leader of a vast empire, but he was like any other man because he found love.

    – Gene C.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Gene!

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful words! I am happy to read that so many have liked the article!

      Have a nice weekend!


  • James DiAntonio

    From all the information we’ve been shown in class, my opinion of Napoleon would have to be that he is an exploiter. He seems to me like a politician that makes the right statements at the right time to try to seem like he’s a great man. When really all he wanted was to conquer more land to build his empire up so one day him and his family could rule most of the eastern hemisphere. Napoleon was a selfish man. Another instance of this was when he kept pushing forward in Russia and it got most of his men killed. He just seems like an untrustworthy man to me. From having multiple mistresses and what he did in Haiti. My impression of Napoleon is that he was just a power hungry man wanting to have it all at any cost.

  • Christina Minjares

    After reading this article it appears to my belief that Napoleon was a great man for what he stood for and what he acted upon, regardless of what people may say. Some key points that stood out to me is that he encouraged marriages among all different types of religions in order to bring together different kinds of people of his empire. He also valued women for who they truly are rather than seeing them just for their physical appearance. Even at the time of his death, it was centered around the love of his life. He even realized that re-instituting slavery wasn’t a good idea. In conclusion, I feel that Napoleon had good intentions during his life, it was just that at times they were misinterpreted.

  • Adam Lenhart

    Napoleon I was definitely a great man. He cared for the people he conquered, or didn’t conquer (in some cases), which made him a very noble leader, unlike the ones we try to look to today. Unfortunately, his actions, more or less, showed him to be an exploiter when he tried to retake the black slaves and his various exploits with conquering other countries and using them and people in general for his bidding, but, although these actions are not pardonable, it can be said that he realized his mistakes and probably tried to do what he thought was best for those he had conquered. Unfortunately, he will probably best be remembered for his exploitations of countries and people by others, but I will remember him as a human leader because his greatest legacy, for me, was his penance when he re-enslaved the people of Saint Domingue. At this point, he showed that he was human and susceptible to mistakes, and willing to admit it, which is something I do not get a chance to see too often. In the end, Napoleon I was a great and human leader, and, therefore, unlike his contemporary conquerors, I agree with Churchill in saying that Napoleon is not worthy to have his name besmirched by having other, far worse, dictators sent to the same island as he. Maybe they do deserve an island to live out the rest of their lives, but not that one.

  • Matt Blevins

    This was a very good article! It really shows how Napoleon was just like other people, falling in love with a woman, and giving her his heart. This article also shows that Napoleon was a very smart man. His intellect level was much higher than those of the times, especially in his military tactics. However, every leader has their flaws, and Napoleons over-ambition really showed in his invasion of Russia. His pursuing of this goal led to the loss of almost his entire army. Everyone needs to know their limits, and Napoleon failed to remember his. I would tend to say that Napoleon is really an exploiter, and I agree with what James says, how he tends to say the right things at the right time in order to get what he wants. Overall, very smart leader and tactician, but he used the people around him to get what he wanted.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Matt,

      Thanks! I am pleased you enjoyed the article!



  • Kaitlyn

    Personally, I believe Napoleon was an exploiter. He was concerned with extreme power and gaining as much land and as many supporters as possible. I feel that most of his decisions were made with selfishness and without thought of consequences. Of course he could love his wife and be sentimental, all beings are capable of such. Due to the amount of power and control he had, he was not embarrassed to show these types of emotions that could be seen as weak. He had so much manipulatory power over many people he needed not fear being threatened or overthrown.

  • Rebekah Thomas

    After reading the article and everything we have disscussed in class I feel that Napoleon was a good man. I think he had true intentions of what he wanted to do, he was opposed to slavery and torture, but also looked to gain women more rights/freedoms. I think he was also good in his military tactics as well, being able to take control of over half of modern europe. The things I do not agree on is how he wanted to get his way to the top. Overall though I believe he was more wise and uinlike other dictators such as hitler, he was not as cruel or unjust. He made the way to the top by working his way their and by doing so with his leadership, he got their by respect. All in all I think Napoleon was a liberator.

  • Allyssa Dziurlaj

    In my opinion I think Napoleon is a great leader. I also like how this article showed the merely human side of Napoleon and at the same time it showed his power as a military leader. I think the main testament to his leadership skills is the fact that he was able to command such a great following. I also find it very interesting that he was opposed to torture. I think while he was far from perfect, overall Napoleon was a good man who wanted to do what was best for the citizens.

  • NatalieWetzel

    After reading this article, I obtained a better understanding of another side to Napoleon. I never got the impression that he was a romantic with Josephine, who he claimed to be the love of his life (despite having mistresses). Even though this may be a major fault, the soft, loving side of him was still present. What I can conclude from reading further about Napoleon is that he appears to show many qualities of an exploiter despite being such a well known conqueror of his time. He was very power hungry and showed little concern for the people he re-enslaved in Saint Domingue. While assuming the title of a leader, sometimes you are faced with difficult challenges, but he chose to be a powerful leader for some of the wrong reasons. He is depicted as “bad” by most references because at the end of the day, he acted more along the lines of a somewhat greedy and corrupt leader.

  • Kayla Leech

    To read these few quotes, its amazing to see the emotions that lay behind such a powerful leader. His devotion and passion towards Josephine remained so strong even during the times of his toughest battles. It does begin to lead you to think how he had the ability to go from the mind set of a battle field fighting for what he wanted and then turning over to the softly poetic and sexual Napoleon. It does capture his sense of passion for what he hold dear to him tho, whether that be on the battlefield or the bedroom. His loyalty and companionship also ties in with his love for animals. The dog quote, which I believe is my favorite, truly expresses and compliments the previous statement that Napoleon had a heart of reason and passion. His quote on his mistakes holds us to believe the humble side of Napoleon and that he can determine his mistakes and progress from them. This i believe is what made Napoleon so great in such a short period of time. Progression was key. As seen in the remaining quotes, Napoleon had planned out goals that he meticulously laid out for execution. He had no plan to stop his reign of power, but simply to continue on progression the Napoleonic empire he had created. His last fall reminds us that throughout his power, he still grounded himself in what first built him up, such as his wife Josephine.

  • Chad Roush

    Napoleon was an excellent leader and seems to be more of an exploiter to me. A liberator is said to “release one from bondage” and although Napoleon did remove many from under rule, he moved throughout Europe and Asia with such great planning and timing. The legacy of Napoleon to me lies in the battle of Battle of Austerlitz, the strategy and execution of this battle will live forever. History is better served thanks to Napoleon being a member of it.

  • Steve

    You forgot my favorite Napoleon quote —

    “SH*T! SH*T! SH*T! SH*T! SH*T! SH*T!” after slipping in the bowling alley

    From “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      A most excellent observation!

      • Adam Event

        Dear sir,

        Did you know that Napoleon:
        – Despised black people?
        – Used his naval ships as gas chambers avant la lettre to kill as many blacks as possible?
        – Wanted to wipe out all blacks in Saint Domingue and Guadeloupe above the age of 12?
        – Re instated slavery?
        – Eventually met his “Waterloo” not at Waterloo but on Haïti because of tactical superior blacks?

        Yours Truly


  • marc

    what is going on here? Did an entire Western European History 101 course drop by to earn its grade for the Napoleon unit?

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Hello, Marc!

      I am the author of the article and I also teach Western and World History for two different universities and so yes, several of my students are commenting on the article, as I mentioned it to them due to its relevance to class material. We just finished covering Napoleon in class this past week.



  • NatalieWetzel

    After reading this article, I learned about a different side to Napoleon. I wasn’t aware that he had and truly showed a romantic side. Although he appeared to love his wife, nonetheless he had several mistresses and “enjoyed conquests of women.” Napoleon had many highs and lows in his conquests. He demonstrated qualities of both liberator and exploiter. Re-enslaving the people in Saint Domingue makes him appear to be more of an exploiter and an inhumane person. Nonetheless, he did admit to his mistakes and apologize for his wrong- doing. Napoleon was power hungry yet very smart and tactful when it came to his military skills. He might have left a large legacy, but for some of the wrong reasons.

  • Cameron Gutierrez

    Dr. Zarzeczny,

    This article has enlightened me to the many different sides of Napoleon. When I used to think of Napoleon, I would think of a military genius who led France through many harsh battles. Now, I can see that he had many other qualities about him that your average man would have. For example, I really enjoy #7 and #5 on the list above. The one about Napoleon liking dogs really touched me, as I can relate because I love dogs. I completely agree with his view of the loyalty and faithfulness of dogs, and I like how he is able to relate that view to qualities of humans. I think it makes sense that if you do not like someone who is attached to you, such as a dog, than you are not a faithful person, and do not appreciate the loyalty of others. Overall, I look at Napoleon as a great liberator who achieved so much for France, and rewrote history for much of the country. He will always be remembered for his military accomplishments, such as the Battle of Leipzig, but this article also reminds us that he was a man of many attributes. Napoleon could laugh, cry, dream, and love like any other person, which I never really realized until now. Thanks for the informative article!

    -Cameron G.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Cameron,

      You’re welcome and thanks for commenting!



  • Kristy Jones

    After learning about Napoleon for the past week in class I would describe him as an exploiter. Napoleon thought he could take over Europe through military and political exploits. He even went as far to marry a woman from Austria to try to gain influence there. I think that Napoleon was selfish in a way that he thought he could conquer Russia even though he was constantly losing troops the further they invaded. I don’t think Napoleon was a good leader but he was a good manipulator by the way he took advantage of the people around him.

  • Bill Daudlin

    Napolean was most definently a exploiter. He wanted to conquer as much of Europe as he possible could He got so greedy that he thought his grand army would be able to survive in the harsh Russian winter. I do not think it is appropriate to compare Napolean to Hilter. Hilter wanted to wipe out a enter race, Napolean simply just wanted to rule and be the greatest, he was greedy. I find it comical that he dumped Joesphine because she was unable to give him a child and than as he was dying he came to see that the only thing he really cared and wanted in his life was to be with her during his dying days. If he wasnt so greedy, Napolean probably would’ve lived the rest of his life as a great ruler, and changed history in more ways that he had. The main thing I took away from this article was when it got down to brass taxes, Napolean was a normal guy just like you and I. He felt pain, weakness, lost love, and eventually death. Good article.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Bill,

      Thanks! I am glad you liked it!



  • Josh

    I believe that his role in The Haitian Revolution tips him to the side of exploiter. However, his many accomplishments through forward thinking in other areas such as ending certain violences, makes me ambivalent towards his true greatness. I am partial towards his love for Josephine, and hers for him — even after they separate — that is what stands out the most about him, for me.

  • Tyler Takacs

    This article came very interesting to me as I have though Napoleon to be a ruthless exploiter to the oppositions against him. However reading Napoleon’s opposition to slavery, it kind of shows the true colors of the dominant man he was. Like this, the aspect of his love for Josephine shows that though Napoleon was ruthless and experienced in his trials of conquering his enemies, he still showed his true colors as a human being with his devotion and love to Josephine and his opposition to torture, definitely an eye opening and interesting article.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Tyler,

      Outstanding! I am pleased you enjoyed the article! 🙂



  • Mitch

    Napoleon was a great leader and most definitely made many changes while in power. At first look people would think he is more of an exploiter, but after learning more people like myself will learn that he is more of a liberator. He was a great leader and knew what he had to do to become successful. He might have not been the greatest man ever, his love for Josephine was more in the for the sexual aspects as shown in his letters to her. Everyone looks at “Napoleon syndrome” as a bad thing, but he really wasn’t a bad guy and led in much success until the end of his reign.

  • Albert Efkeman

    In the article, and class lecture we see that Napoleon was a romancer and seemed to have a true love for his first wife Josephine. Napoleon seems to have been truly in love with his wife and would rather be with her then away at war. Napoleon’s last word was Josephine. All of these different factors have me wonder even though Josephine and himself were having trouble having a child that he would continue to try, and stay with her because he truly loved her.

  • Dalton Clark

    Most cartoons today depict Napoleon as a short angry Frenchman hellbent on conquering all of Europe for himself. I think that with his ideas of polygamy in the colonies and his opposition to torture that he was not so much an exploiter but more of a liberator. He wanted to bring all of Europe together and then work on bringing the rest of the world under French rule. His non racist ideas as a leader are almost unheard of in history and because of that I believe he was a great man.

  • S Gehauf

    My favorite Napoleon quote?
    “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    • It is a Seth sighting on I’ll alert the media. And that is a great quote.

      • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

        Yes, it is. Napoleon had oodles of wonderful quotations. He wrote extensively. His letters alone fill up several volumes!

  • Seth Snyder

    After reading this article, I now see another side of Napoleon. I never knew that he was like that with Josephine. He stated that she was the love of his life even though he had other mistresses. I never thought of him as much of a lover, but more of a born leader who would do what ever it took to win. Napoleon seems to show many qualities of being an exploiter. I think Napoleon just wanted to rule as much as possible and be the greatest man ever known even though he was extremely greedy. Overall what I took away from this article was that Napoleon was a pretty normal guy who could feel emotions just like everyone else.

  • William Crider

    I believe that Napoleon began as a liberator, but then became an exploiter. He was a man that was never satisfied he always wanted to do more. I believe he was a great liberator at first because he did give the french people a lot of the the things they wanted. He put an end to a lot of the economic situations that were occurring in France before he took over. It seemed once he had done everything he could for France he still wanted more which is when I believe he became an exploiter. He became to power hungry and was never satisfied with anything he had done. He began seeing the whole world as his responsibility rather than just France. Once this began happening he began taking over countries that didn’t approve of his ideas and were unhappy under his philospohies. I believe the most important legacy that Napoleon left behind was his way that he conducted the military by not torturing people and by not destroying the towns in cities. Overall I do believe Napoleon was a great man that just let the power cloud his judgement.

  • Kayla Rader

    I believe that Napoleon was a exploiter because he always wanted to have more land. He was never satisfied with what he had except his wife! He loved his wife but need to conquer more land! He was a great man when it came to his wife but as a leader no because he didn’t think about the consequences from taking land from others. His most important legacy he left behind is that people can conquer land with out destroying it all!

  • A.J. McGuire

    I believe that Napoleon was a liberator because whenever he seemed to conquer someone’s land he was tolerant of their customs and values. Based on this article and our class discussions and lectures, Napoleon was much more of a romantic than a tyrant. Also, depending on the text and from where it comes from can easily depict Napoleon as either a liberator or an exploiter because of writings from historians whose countries were being conquered by Napoleon I. Lastly, from this article alone, I see Napoleon more for thoughts and actions away from the battlefield and his tolerance of many different topics including slavery and polygamy.

  • Jacob Hirschmann

    Overall, I believe Napoleon was a liberator. At first, I was convinced he was an exploiter, and I kept that belief for most of the lesson. But as we closed our lesson on Napoleon, my viewed slowly changed. After seeing how he started to realize at the end of his life how we should have treated the blacks, how he wanted to create a nation for the Jews, and how he wanted to only rule France, I believe that at the end of his life, Napoleon was more of a liberator. In terms of his greatness, I do believe he was a great man and one of the most accomplished conquerors of all time. And in terms of his most important legacy, I would say that is his great military tactics and how he set the stage for future leaders, such as Napoleon III.

  • Brant Meredith

    I was always taught that Napoleon was just a ruthless, evil dictator with short man syndrome. after what we learned in class, and this article, i believe that he is not the man people has made him out to be. from respecting the Islamic religion to not allowing torture it shows that even while invading a country, you can still respect the beliefs and equality of others.

  • Dan Moll

    In the beginning of the lecture I went into it thinking he was without a doubt an exploiter but the more I heard of him I want to say he’s without a doubt a liberator. Despite invading many countries and places he gave the same rights to them as he would give his own people. The main thing that caught my eye was that he told his soldiers to never torture the enemy. Also, unlike most commanders, Napoleon was brave and so brave that it can almost be considered crazy. Overall, I believe he was a good man.

  • Hallie Fetterman

    I found that the most shocking part of this article was that numerous authors have attempted to draw parallels between Hitler and Napoleon. I believe the two cannot be compared because Hitler was not a good man whereas Napoleon had the makings of becoming a good man. His stance on abolishing torture was admirable, as was his contribution to civilization through the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. As stated in the article, Napoleon’s worst act was re-instituting slavery. His quotation about the Santo Domingo affair reveals that upon reflection he knew he should have acted differently. By the time he comes to this realizatio,n however, it is too little too late. Based off of this information, I believe Napoleon had more tendencies to act like an exploiter earlier in his life, but those tendencies did not necessarily overtake his later years.

  • Taylor Wolfe

    I think that Napoleon was a fantastic leader! He showed a lot of love for his wife Josephine, although it seemed to be more of a physical and sexual attraction the way he talked in his letters to her. I really enjoyed the last quotation and the part where they said his last word was “Josephine”. That shows that he was attracted to her sexually and that he really did love her. Napoleon was very successful and he knew exactly what needed to be done. I really liked that Napoleon was against torturing men. He stated in the seventh quotation that it was useless. I believe that Napoleon was a liberator. He always wanted more land, but when he did conquer other people’s land, he still took their beliefs nad values into hands. Overall I think Napoleon was very successful and a great man. I think it’s ridiculous that they even tried to compare him to Hitler because they are exact opposites.

  • Vikki K.

    Napoleon was a liberator and a lover. He overtook so much for the time period that it was his greatest legacy, but he should have known when to stop and not been greedy. It was almost too much for one man to lead all of that area, and trying to overtake Russia was brave but obviously not the best move he’s ever made.

  • Amanda Thorpe

    Honestly, I really had no opinion of Napoleon either way–good or bad. I didn’t know that much about him and had never studied him. From what I have learned, I believe that he was an exceptional thinker and leader. Do I agree with every decision/battle he made/fought? Of course not. But that doesn’t take away from his ability to strategize and command. As for his personal life, his heart appears to have been truly dedicated to his first wife, Josephine, and that is beautiful, but it is unfortunate that he wasn’t willing to be true to her, and, just like all of those non-dog lovers out there, he showed her no loyalty when he divorced her.

  • Dan

    While some can argue that at the end of his epic regime, Napoleon had become the very thing in which he stood for. He was tyrannical, gawdy and saw himself as something of a god-like figure, all aspects of a ruler a young Napoleon would not have endorsed. Nonetheless there simply is no military commander, or ruler of a country comparable to Napoleon. Time and again he was able to defeat his foes even when heavily overmatched.

  • Mike Giaimo

    Napoleon was an amazing leader. He progressed so fast in military and had a real quality of leadership inside him. I believe that Napoleon had a clever aspect to him, and he used his way with people to be manipulative and achieve what he truly wanted. I think its interesting to see how he “used religion as a means by which to prevent further chaos as occurred in the French Revolution”. Napoleon had much more aspect him besides the revolution and military. I think him and his wife had a amazing story. So in the end, he knew how to win battles, and how analyze situations that leads to military and political success. His hunger of power may have been his downfall but he had a brilliant mind, and that can not be over looked.

  • Nicholas Fill

    Napoleon was , in my belief, an exploiter who eventually became a liberator. He conquered nations ruthlessly and often showed no mercy towards his opponents. Although he was attempting to expand the power of France, he did so in a violent and blood-filled way. Many men were sacrificed and some of his battles that he led involved some of the greatest number of battle casualties in history. This was all due to his campaign ideas and goals. Therefore, in this way, I believe Napoleon left behind a great military, but did so at a price to many lives. However, after being exiled from France, he seemed to contain a few regrets such as the way he treated Negroes during his ruling. He also muttered the name of his long lost love right before he died, showing that he indeed can be sympathetic. Inc conclusion, Napoleon was a ruthless military rules, but after being defeated, he seemed to show a side of him that may not have been so bad after all.

  • Lauren Geib

    Dr. Zarzeczny,
    Between reading through this and our class lectures, I think that Napoleon was a great leader for that time. Today, his tactics would come across as crazy, forcing his men to move at times when he knew they wouldn’t all make it and taking insane risks. However, it was things like this that set him apart from every other leader. His narsarcism is what drove him to greatness and also what destroyed him in the end, he couldn’t stop himself.

  • Jamilia Lucas

    I believe that Napoleon was a liberator and he worked hard at trying to understand from different points of view even when he didnt agree such as with religion. He can be seen as a great man although he cheated on Josephine but it is apart of life. Josephine could not bear children and it should have been expected that Napoleon would cheat but that does not mean he did not still love her. I was excited to learn Napoleon’s thoughts on torture which is torture is useless and I believe that more people should come to realize that. Once of the best things Napoleon did was try to unite Europe, although he fault many bloody battles, this showed how much he started to care. Many other people may see this as Napoleon being greedy or selfish but I think he was trying to be positive. He was a very intelligent man and in that he was able to admit his mistakes. One of his mistakes was the way he treated the negroes so it was amazing to see two qoutes mentioning how he could have done better. Napoleon was a true liberator and he showed it.

  • Dani Dolezal

    Dr. Zarzeczny,
    I really loved this article! I am always a fan of great quotes from great people. From what we have learned in class, and from reading Napoleon’s own words, I have to say that Napoleon was a liberator. Although he engaged in violent warfare and caused an unimaginable number of deaths, his intent was not to become tyrannical. His idea of uniting all the European countries into one nation seems to be indicative of what he was trying to do. Napoleon even recognized his error in the way he handled things at Santo Domingo which hardly sounds like an exploiter. If he truly was an exploiter, he would not have lamented over the Santo Domingo affair the way that he did. Napoleon’s view on torture is possibly the most telling sign that he was more of a liberator than an exploiter. He proved to be very much against the use of torture. One would assume that a true exploiter would encourage the use of torture to get what they wanted; however, Napoleon did not do this. Overall I believe that the evidence points to Napoleon being more of a liberator rather than an exploiter.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Dani,

      Thanks! I am pleased to read that and I appreciate all these thoughtful comments from our readers!



  • Tammy Thompson

    Napoleon’s success on the battlefield defines him as one of the greatest military commanders in history. This, I believe, was his most important legacy. The reverberations of the Napoleonic wars were felt across Europe long after Napoleon’s death. While Napoleon was a great conqueror, he exploited the lands he conquered for the benefit of France (and himself), attaining money and land to broaden his empire. The most interesting fact about Napoleon perhaps was his romantic nature, and that his only concern upon death was that of Josephine.

  • Lena Schall

    Overall I see Napoleon as more of an exploiter than a liberator. I feel that all he really wanted to accomplish in life was conquering more land and nations so that he could build up his empire, and that he would use any means necessary to accomplish this, which to me is selfish. Napoleon also re-instituted slavery, and although he realized that this was one of his greatest mistakes, it was a mistake that effected numerous amounts of people negatively. Although I am portraying Napoleon in a negative light, I do think that he did accomplish many great things as well. He was a very intelligent man, especially with military tactics, and was madly in love with his wife Josephine. He was able to bring France, which was an unstable nation, and turn it into an empire with power and influence in the world.

  • Jared Homan

    After learning about Napoleon last week, I would have to say that I found him to be more of an exploiter than a liberator. Although Napoleon was known for his military strategy and success of winning battles, we learn of a man who exploited his success for his own political goals. Napoleon was willing to make his own peace deals for his own benefits. Also, Napoleon had re-instituted slavery which would bring harm to a lot of people and was still focusing on only his success, rather than that of France’s. Learning about Napoleon this past week, has allowed me to understand more about military battles, and France in general and have found it a very useful lesson.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Jared,

      Great! I am happy you learned some good information!



  • Mary

    Last week was very enlightening to learn about Napoleon, I was surprised by the sentiment spirit this leader of the French had for his lovers, and for the faithfulness of a dog. The bloodshed of the soldiers, and the civilians, to numerous to count, has still persuaded me to find him an exploiter than a liberator. His responsibility to his countrymen, and the nation of France should have been his top priority, instead of conquering Europe. This endeavor, and expense could have re-built his nation, and enforced his ideals that he is so eloquently quoted. His march into Russia was a diabolical loss of life and disertion, that should never be forgotten, even though he may live in the dreams of all, who wish to conquer. As a military leader, a persuader of men to follow, a charismatic conqueror, this past week of class gave a complete picture of the man who was not “King” of France, but crowned himself, Emperor.

  • Angela Franks

    When we were first learning about Napoleon in class, I also thought he was an exploiter. He was always out for more; he invaded so many countries to get more land until he was finally defeated. Like the above person said, he even crowned himself Emperor. However, the more I learned in class on him I changed my opinion of him. He actually tried to learn about other people and believed in everyone having rights. I just didn’t know the man had a raunchy romantic side to him, very interesting to say the least.

  • Rachel Kirsch

    Hi Dr. Zarzenczy,

    With all of the information presented to us thus far in Western Civ II, it is my belief that Napoleon was on a journey of maturation. When young and first in a position of power, he was all about liberation, the people, and justice. However, as time went on, the naivety started to cease and Napoleon became more and more of an exploiter. When he first started leading France, Napoleon took on military conquests that were accomplishable and realistic. Unfortunately, as time went on and Napoleon’s ego began to get in the way, he started taking on military exploits such as Russia. Which only resulted in massive loss of life and a major loss for France. Through out Napoleon’s journey through leading France, it is my belief that he started first as a liberator but sadly ended his life as an exiled exploiter.


    Rachel Kirsch

  • Dan Heidenreich

    After learning about Napoleon these past couple days I have landed on the decision that he was more of an exploiter than a liberator. A liberator would have his or her mindset on the good of the people and or the country they are in control of. Napoleon was more worried about conquering anything he could get his hands on. Even though that outlook on things made him one of the most historical leaders in all of history it does not make him a liberator. Some of the measures that he took to acquire land were cynical. With everything that has been said I stand by my opinion on Napoleon being more of an exploiter than liberator.

  • Christie Wade

    Before learning more about Napoleon, I would have definitely said he was an exploiter. Having listened to the lectures the past week in addition to this article, however, I would say he was a liberator and a decent man. Napoleon did whatever he had to do to get the job done, but he never treated the enemy unnecessarily bad. He respected their values and customs; I really like that he didn’t approve of torturing the enemy. It makes me realize that even though he may not have been a perfect individual, he was human, and never forgot that his enemies were also humans. Moreover, the fact that he was quoted talking about how a woman’s heart is a treasure indicates that he loved just like we all do, and had a tenderness that may not have necessarily been obvious to someone just reading a history textbook. He may let his power go to his head, but he helped France become a much greater influence in the world.

  • Clifford Vickery

    I enjoyed this because it shed light on many sides of Napoleon that are seldom seen. However i feel like napoleans actions may have only contradicted his writings. He speak of a unity and equal rights but spends most of his life fighting and opressing others. He refers to a good woman as a “treasure” but spends most of his time off “jewel” hunting. As much as Napoleon was physically engaged in war. I fell he was also engaged in an internal war. It seems like Napoleon has a sence of Right and wrong however historically fails to take that into consideration and self interests always prevail.

  • Rachel

    #10 really caught my eye. I was like um, what? Never knew that about him.

  • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

    Hey everyone! Some huge Napoleon news: (Spielberg is apparently going to finally make Kubrick’s Napoleon movie!!!).

  • David Morrisnewell

    I think Napoleon was a great military leader, but I also think he needed to learn when and where to quit. Not necessarily give up, but if he had found a good stopping point, maybe he would have lived longer and possibly viewed less as an exploiter.

  • Joshua Y.

    My fiancee is a YSU graduate with a degree in history. She studied for a year in Europe. She has come to convince me, mostly because of his love for Josephine, that Napoleon was more good than bad. His life was far more intriguing than I had ever thought before this year. Before February, most of my knowledge of Napoleon was taken from The Count of Monte Cristo…

  • Regal A

    Number 5, I think its pretty true in some circumstances. Ive seen it reflected in some men that I know of that dont like dogs and they either committed adultery, divorced eventually, violent in their relationship, etc. Now of course i’m not saying this is always true. Every situation is different. Maybe its just coincidence between the two but in someway its true, but not always. Good analysis from Napoleon though

  • Christie Wade

    This is a great article- it really makes you realize that, while a powerful leader, Napoleon is a person just like the rest of us. His love for Josephine and dogs is what made this stand out to me the most!

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Christie,

      Thanks! I am glad you enjoyed it! Wow! Seventy comments already! I am pleased that so many of you have found this list worth commenting on. Would you like to see more lists of fascinating quotations by famous people?



  • Ryan Kidd

    I think this article shows how Napoleon wasn’t a nasty leader like some think. He deeply cared for Josephine and even hallucinated about her on his deathbed. Napoleon’s main downfall was his ambition for land and to conquer the world, but honestly who can blame him? If you can conquer that much land, you are going to want more. It is human nature.

  • Yevgeniy

    By far i found this to be the most interesting article straight from the beginning. Kind of though maybe their should have been top 10 romantic Napoleon and top 10 Napoleon quotes. I saw the romantic part of it quite interesting from a guy like Naopeon.

    • Dr. Matthew D. Zarzeczny, FINS

      Dear Yevgeniy,

      Good suggestion! Napoleon wrote many, many love letters to his wives that make him seem far less like the stereotypical tyrant.



  • Mark Jackson

    What I found interesting in this article was the fact that Napoleon was actually quite human. The majority of the time he is depicted as a little angry man on a horse. However, These quotes show that Napoleon had a different side to him. My favorite quote was the quote about dogs. I like how he compares dogs hand being faithful to a cause. Napoleons men, I am sure, had to be dog lovers.

  • Steve

    Well, Napoleon would have loved the EU..