This section was added to the article “Ride to Power, Wars and Napoleon’s Death in Misery”:
One question still remains – was Napoleon cruel, greedy and provocative, or patriotic, determined and war-ready? Well, of course, Napoleon Bonaparte was brought up hating the French, for they had destroyed his homeland and terrorised the people there. He must have been hugely forgiving to take France as a nation and lead them to enormous military might. But despite this theory, it’s possible he merely wanted a big country to execute his desperate ambitions for power. This is quite likely, as we can see, from his desperate escape from Elba, that he really wanted to return to France and reclaim his lost power. On the other hand, however, he may have really loved his nation and never wanted to leave the throne, leading his people. Those very people that had thrown him away, and discarded him.
I think Napoleon Bonaparte wanted revenge for an early lifetime where his world had been wrecked. By finding somewhere he could lead to major victories and world domination, he could make himself feel powerful in a world where everyone was jostling for power. Also believing strongly in certain human rights and ways of governing, he supported the French Revolution as a way to satisfy both of these needs.
But he built up his enemies from a sprawling military career of starting wars, invading and claiming land. When Napoleon got out of hand, some of his people turned on him. Falling to many oppositions, he had to leave his victorious country, who had been provided with a new leader. And it was so that, in 1815, he furiously left Elba and started his campaign to regain lost territory and be the leader he once was – but it was all for nothing. No support. Endless rivals. Problems in France. Revenge against the countries that had lost to after initially showing aggression to them wasn’t an option. You can’t get greedy, take someone’s land and then try to take revenge on them when they defeat you.
Decide for yourself whether you think Napoleon was a great, triumphant leader, or just a power-loving little schoolboy.