Youth of Napoleon

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  • Topic: House of Bonaparte, Corsica, French language
  • Pages : 5 (1700 words )
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  • Published : March 21, 2013
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The Youth of Napoleon Bonaparte
The young life of Napoleon Bonaparte shows how he gained a large aspect of his motivation to excel. Growing up in financial trouble he learned to work diligently. Napoleon's homeland traditions instilled within him an absolutely incredible sense of pride. It became a prime goal to advance his family through the social ranks and towards success. During his education he had to undergo debasing treatment from Frenchmen, the people who had conquered his homeland of Corsica.

The island of Corsica had been revolting against the Genoese Italian government that eventually left the island and sold it to the French (Marrin 8). After fighting between the Corsicans and the newly arrived French, Napoleon Bonaparte was born on the 15th of August 1769 (Dwyer 25). The Corsican culture relied on large, strong families to survive against the persecution of foreign rule. It was considered honorable to have a large family in Corsica and the honor of family was exceedingly important. How others spoke of Napoleon’s family mattered immensely to him. In general the inhabitants of the island had little manners. They were famous for their serious attitude but they had little talent in etiquette. Other Europeans would mock them for being savage. Corsica was not rich either, the nobles were more like first class peasants than wealthy families; one could hardly tell the nobles from the peasants (Seward 5-6).

The Bonaparte’s lived in their house, the Casa Buonaparte. It was a large home situated in the poorest and oldest area of town. Carlo's mother lived in the basement and other relatives stayed with them in the house in order to lighten the financial strain (Seward 7). Napoleon's family owned an orchard and it was their primary source of income, however meager. The family's primary source of expense was the upkeep of an ostentatious appearance. Carlo would throw parties that set them back years financially and would buy the finest clothes with which to adorn himself. This strained the family’s pocket book which was already stressed by a large and growing family. Carlo also had a gambling problem; on one occasion Napoleon went to his father while he was gambling and begged him to stop wasting the family's money.

Napoleon’s father did many notable things such as fighting for Corsica’s independence and connecting the family with nobility. In the rebellion against the new French government Carlo was the adjutant of Pasquale Paoli, the leader of the rebellion that fought off the Italian Genoese and resisted the French. Carlo was a soldier and lawyer, making him indispensable to Paoli. After the French suppressed the rebellion, Carlo put aside hatred and connected well with the newly imposed French rulers. Once the French took control, Carlo set out to reinstate his family’s status as a noble family under the new government. This required having papers proving the family's presence and nobility on the island for at least two hundred years . Carlo befriended the new French governor Count de Marbeuf. This friendship seemed to have been bolstered by the beauty of Carlo’s wife, Letizia, with whom Marbeuf may have had a special interest. Carlo’s special interest was that Marbeuf’s uncle was the Archbishop of Lyons. The Archbishop had control of the state's bursaries. These were scholarships, or grants for education. Marbeuf gave Carlo some very important advice which was to ask from the French government a 'certificate of indigence'. This recognized that the Bonaparte family was unable to provide a decent education for their children. The certificate allowed the Bonaparte children to receive scholarships and aid in attending French schools (Seward 8-9).

While Napoleon often chastised his father he never found fault in his mother, Letivia. He idolized her character. His father did not spend much time with his family; he was often away leaving the children and home to be taken care of by Napoleon’s mother. Napoleon spoke...
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