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The world has had enough experience with great leaders even to the extent that there were those who had phrases coined after their great voyages. Whenever there was the calling that the boundaries of a certain country had to be expanded, leaders had to be called upon to guide their troops into expeditions that could help in annexing a particular place. Whenever these ambitions were created leaders knew at the back of their minds that a name could be created or destroyed. This meant that meticulous planning had to be done to the full extent that there was going to be no backing down at the behest of the heat. In terms of military preparation there was going to be a leader who should at all times be the country's emperor or king just to offer the much needed motivation. It is important to need to understand the need that these leaders had whenever they set out foot in an attempt to hold an expeditions.
Overview of events
During such expeditions it was common to analyse what was going to be gained from conquering a certain territory upon which the people of that area became subjects. The most considered aspects of such expedition were in form of the social, economic and political gains that were going to be achievable. At this time a great leader had a chance to lead France through a series of victories that were at some point regarded as overambitious for the wellbeing of the neighbours (Bell 2008, p. 203). In the heat of the 19th century Napoleon took over leadership in a span ranging from 1814 to 1815. His expeditions have been termed as the most ambitious of the time that even the thought of having a continental Europe could have been a pipe dream for many leaders. Therefore, throughout the discussion we shall highlight the most important points that punctuated Napoleon's leadership style and follow that with more reflection on his subtle.
Napoleon's Rise and Successes
A native of Corsica, Napoleon had the chance to join the French army which saw him rise through the ranks because of his diligence and an eye into the leadership positions. His exploits in the military were quite exquisite to the extent that his superiors took note of the young rising star (Dwyer 2009, p.29). He could carry out his assigned duties with sheer determination that at some point he was considered ruthless due to the fervency of wanting the result just the way it ought to be. One thing though that he seemed to have thought so much about in his ascendance to power was the unification of the European continent and leave a legacy as the one who conquered the rest against the odds. By the time he had became the French Emperor, Napoleon had developed his leadership philosophies and reinvented himself to the extent that he left many gaping at his ruthless leadership approach.
While still at Corsica and still a child, he had the determination to understand the military skills that made him a strong contender for the emperor's position. At this point he seemed to have schemed his way through because no one who stood in his way survived his wrath. For such a leader to be noticed there was going to be a lot of friction generated just to gain fame at the starting point. By the time he became emperor he had made numerous successful conquests that made other European leaders sceptical of his new leadership position. As emperor it meant that the European continent was no longer at ease due to his volatile nature (Hibbert 1999, p. 32). Around this time there was a problem with the world issues that had come to see Europe as the source of their problems. Understandably, this could have been the case because the European continent had introduced the earliest colonialists whom the world came to detest.
If for instance, Napoleon became as volatile while being an emperor as he was when acting as a serviceman, then the whole of Europe could be destabilised to the extent that the migration of the oppressed could be on the highest ebb.
The vision that had become synonymous with his conquests was the rise of Europe into a single power. Although many contested this declaration, some still thought that it was achievable citing places that Napoleon had established and working successfully as the supporting examples (Asprey 2001, p. 124). His understanding of true leadership was to give people a chance to lead a free life where everyone had something to contribute to the building of the whole system. The truth was ofcourse there, as the states that he had created were performing well under a government that was free of feudalism.
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This having been his success story, it could have not been workable for the whole of Europe as there were other kingdoms therein that did not want to have forceful ideologies instigated against them. Thus for Napoleon his time of action had come upon the right signal which was resistance to his ideologies. Having made a successful venture in the coding of laws that were used to run the government of France, he thought that there could be no other resisting force to his approaches in governorship upon the onset of the right time. His parting short at giving the government to the people did not mean that it be run democratically but rather through a centralised form of government (Asprey 2002, p. 56). His ferocious moves of fighting inside rebels made the whole scenario favourable for him as the only one who could be trusted.
The Downfall of Napoleon through an Analysis of Various Causes
The downfall of Napoleon had everything to do with his leadership style that was too stringent to the extent that it was possible to lose the political will and support from the people. Various aspects of his leadership times have been made open to debate because some were just seen as being overambitious stretching his resourcefulness to the extreme. First he had hinted on the government that was going to be for the people which he later changed to mean that he could do everything right to the extent that the people served under him. As the suppression rose to fever pitch so did the resentfulness from the people who understood that they were being taken for a ride (Breunig 1977, p. 168). Therefore for the purpose of explaining the most compelling reasons for his downfall, an analysis of the economic performance, military and middle class support will be done.
Starting with the military successes, Napoleon was a person who wanted to have strategic points within the European continent that could have given him a strong military stronghold. It was understood that Britain had the best share in terms of naval control of the trade routes that Napoleon was envy about (Tulard 1984, p. 109). Occasionally he could make threats that were eminently leading to war but he did not take the first shot at the fight because he knew the prowess with which the royal navy functioned. In 1798 with still not being an emperor, he fought and was defeated in his quest to earn another accolade to his credentials at becoming a leader. In most of his military cases this one that had taken him even to Egypt was outstanding in the sense that he even left his soldiers upon defeat and headed home to lead a coup. His political capabilities might have been the source of a fiery ambition that spanned the whole of Europe.
The significance of sea power was a new concept to napoleon to the extent that he did not see the need to invest in sea power. This was an important aspect in leadership especially if he wanted to control most of Europe (Gildea 1996, p. 190). In the long run, he was always defeated at any battles that involved going to sea. His Napoleonic war tactics were more of a waste of resources since there was no letting of the battle until everything was destroyed. If he succeeded in maiming the men, then he knew for sure that he was going to have a smooth sail in establishing his governing system. However, the most strategic lands that he ought to have conquered were not attacked to the full extent of his force due to his lack of carrying out military logistics. For instance, in Russia where he had gone to make a conquest, his military was thoroughly defeated because they did not make preparations for the adverse effects of the weather there. This should have been the first logistic to consider instead of rushing to war then start thinking upon sensing defeat. The famous defeat at the battle of Waterloo made him seem as a less endowed ruler in terms military strategising and although the Russians knew the prowess of napoleon's military they confidently attacked completely disarming them to humiliation.
His second misadventure was in terms of losing the middle class. This was the most important class in the manner which he was to run his leadership ideologies that had many flaws than the good they were geared to deliver (Mazower 2000, p. 53). If other leaders in Europe did not trust him it meant that even the middle class could not have his backing due to his backtracking nature. In the long run his leadership style was seen as undiplomatic and thus not fit for someone who wanted to have authority over a vast continent. Moreover his own acts of nepotism alienated him further from the blessing of the middleclass which was the centre of holding the economy together.
The fact that he had not been born to a royal family made his influence wane on the middleclass who thought that being born into fortune could lead them to fortune. Furthermore, his handling of situations meant that there was going to be constant friction with the diplomats who thought that he was too uncivilized in his mode of solving issues (Thompson 1969, p. 88). For the subjects of places that he conquered he mistreated them to the extent that they resented him. Moreover the move to withdraw their economic livelihood by snatching their land and using their resources in financing the war meant that the support from the supposed middleclass could wane further. A proper channel should have been employed that created the trust instead of using conquests even on the closest neighbours.
Finally, we could say with confidence that Napoleon's understanding of the economy was way below the world standards at the time. This has been heralded as the highest contributor to his downfall as he underestimated the functioning of the European economy. First, he wanted to acquire the routes that Britain had under their blockade. Secondly, upon sensing defeat he stopped the trading of British goods in Europe (Lockhart 2010, p. 78). The second move however, was the most tantalizing even to the allies that were too loyal to him. The treaty of Tilset brought a systematic halt to the trading with Britain which had systematically refused to join the conglomeration of the European countries. This move led to the crumbling of the continental Europe economy as Britain was the leading powerhouse that did not lose because it could still trade with far off countries such as India and the United states. The most astounding thing happened during this time when every ally realised that they were being taken for a ride by Napoleon.
Most of them had supported the attack by Napoleon in Egypt on British naval ships that was to stop subsequent trading with India. Austria, Prussia and Russia had taken it upon themselves to support a continental Europe economy that could bring Britain if she was made desperate (Herold 2002, p. 44). When other countries realised that the British army could not be moved by the French in protecting their trade routes, they became angry and resorted to resenting the move to block the trading of British goods in Europe because they were most loved. This move was economic but led solely to the withdrawal of allies who felt short-changed for selfish gains innate in Napoleon.
From the systematic analysis that we draw from the downfall of Napoleon, we realise that the greatest asset that he could have given himself was the middleclass. Even if all the others failed such as military prowess and economic gain, there could be still people who could trust the leadership skills of Napoleon (Dwyer 2009, p. 52). Therefore, having the crumbling of the European economy under the rule of Napoleon meant that his lack of aristocratic upbringing played as a disadvantage in the manner which he made decisions appertaining to the economy. His initial meteoric rise could still have led to his misdemeanour in leadership styles as he could not trust so many people in order to make informed decision on time. Regardless of all this he still had a dream that has at least come to pass in the modernity of the 20th and 21st centuries that have witnessed the formation of the European Union.
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