Famous Rulers in History Napoleon Bonaparte Part 2

About the famous French Ruler Napoleon Bonaparte, history and biography, personal life and birth date.

Famous and Infamous Rulers in History


Napoleon lost his virginity at 18 to a Parisian prostitute, who attracted him because she seemed so vulnerable, so frail against the evening chill. He would have many mistresses during his lifetime. Yet he went into these affairs as he went into battle. Speed was of the essence. Often when he was out on his military campaigns, a girl would be brought to his quarters and put into bed. Napoleon would study his maps and papers a while longer and then hop into bed. Only one woman moved Napoleon to linger in bed--Josephine, his first wife. Although he cheated on her, and she on him, he seemed to care sincerely for this comely widow six years his senior, who had lost her first husband to the guillotine. The marriage survived many crises, but one proved fatal; Josephine was fast leaving her 40s without providing the emperor with a male heir. To die without issue was, for Napoleon, to be denied his bid for immortality, and Napoleon was not to be denied. For this reason, in 1810, he divorced Josephine and married by proxy (he in Paris, she in Vienna) a woman half his age on whom he had never laid eyes, an archduchess named Marie Louise, the daughter of the emperor of Austria. It was a marriage of convenience designed to lock France and Austria in political matrimony. Although Marie Louise had not the charms of the gracious Josephine, she did her job. Within a year the emperor had his son. Napoleon's opinion of women's role in society was unenlightened, to say the least. "Woman is given to man," he declared, "that she may bear him children;... consequently, she is his property, just as the fruit of the tree is the property of the gardener." He went further: "We treat women too well, and in this way have spoiled everything. We have done every wrong in raising them to our level. Truly the Oriental nations have more mind and sense than we in declaring the wife to be the actual property of the husband. In fact nature has made woman our slave."

Religion played virtually no role in Napoleon's life. From the age of 13, he saw it as an excuse for the rich to exploit the poor. "Society cannot exist without inequality," Napoleon reasoned, "an inequality which cannot be maintained without religion.... It must be possible to tell the poor: 'It is God's will.'... Religion introduces into the thought of heaven an idea of equalization which saves the rich from being massacred by the poor."

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