Why was Napoleon Bonaparte able to become Emperor of France?

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Why was Napoleon Bonaparte able to become Emperor of France?

From being born to a minor noble family in Corsica to being crowned the Emperor of France on 2 December 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte had come a long way from his modest upbringing. He was able to gain the support of his contemporaries and of the people of France.

Napoleon, as the French commander, first found notable support in his defeat of Austria in the revolutionary wars. He secured a number of victories over superior Austrian forces and forced them to make peace terms at Campo Formio in 1797. In very short order he counter-attacked, beat the Austrians repeatedly, took enough money and supplies to feed, clothe and pay the soldiers and drove the Austrians out. Napoleon was hailed as a national hero and was extremely popular with the soldiers. However, this success did not bring him any rise in station in politics, but only in the military and the soldiers he had aided.

Napoleon then gained support within France because of his ability to put down insurrection and disorder within France. He won the gratitude of the regime for his crushing of the Vendemiaire rising in Paris in 1795. It was a royalist movement that Napoleon crushed with his ‘whiff of grapeshot’.

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Napoleon was finally able to come about the political ascendency he so desired, when was approached by the French revolutionary leader Abbe Sieyes.  It was the overthrow on November 9, 1799, of the French revolutionary government. The coup put Napoleon Bonaparte in power as one of three counsels intended to head the government. Sieyes had intended only to use Napoleon’s military powers to stage the coup, and had not reckoned on the fact that Napoleon was eager to take control from then onwards. A consulate was formed, with the young Napoleon becoming first consul; the other counsels had little ...

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