At the age of nine, Napoleon’s parents sent him to a French military academy. As a Corsican, Napoleon hated the French, but he was determined to learn their language. Napoleon was a smart boy and his love for math was apparent. Not everything at this school was enjoyable, though. Napoleon was a noble, but he was not wealthy and attended school on a scholarship. The French school children knew this and made Napoleon’s life hell by harassing him and beating him up. Napoleon was small for his age, but he never backed down from a fight. This is where the term “Napoleon complex” comes from. Even though Napoleon was short in stature, he made up for it in brains and aggressiveness (The Emperor’s Youth). The introduction of military schooling affected Napoleon in a positive way for the rest of his life.
Napoleon had certain attributes as a child that were carried on throughout his life. He was known as an optimistic man and once said, “Soldiers! You are ill-fed and almost naked. The government owes you a great deal, but it can do nothing for you. Your patience and courage do you honor but give you neither worldly goods nor glory. I shall lead you into the most fertile plains on earth. There you shall find great cities and rich provinces. There you shall find honor, glory, riches. Soldiers of the Army of Italy! Could courage and constancy possibly fail you?” (The Rise of Napoleon Bonaparte) This pure determination was one of the reasons he won his countless battles. This perseverance was built as a child when he was bullied for being a poor Corsican in an elite French society.