73 of the Best Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes

Napoleon Bonaparte, or Napoleon I, was born in Ajaccio, Corsica in 1769. On his father’s side of the family he was of ancient Tuscan nobility, his father’s side relocated to Corsica in the 16th century. His mother, Letizia Ramolino, was married to his father, Carlo Buonaparte, when she was just 14 years old, they had eight children. Napoleon went to three different schools, Autun for a short period of time, a military college of Brienne and then he studied for one year at a military academy in Paris.

In 1785 while Napoleon was studying in Paris, his father died of stomach cancer, and Napoleon assumed the position as head of household even though he was not the eldest. He was interested in reading about tactics and strategy. He did write, Lettres sur la Corse (Letters on Corsica), about his native island.

Napoleon steadily rose through the military ranks during the French Revolution (1789-1799). He seized political power in France and was eventually crowned by himself as Emperor in 1804. Napoleon defeated several different European nations and expanded his empire, but in 1812 he was exiled to the Island of Elba following the disaster of the French invading Russia. He returned to power in 1815, but again was exiled to the Island of Saint Helena after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon Bonaparte died on the Island of Saint Helena in 1851 from either an ulcer or stomach cancer.

Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes

  1. “I saw the crown of France laying on the ground, so I picked it up with my sword.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  2. “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  3. “Victory is not always winning the battle…but rising every time you fall.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  4. “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  5. “Anarchy is the stepping stone to absolute power.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  6. “Once you have made up your mind, stick to it; there is no longer any ‘if’ or ‘but’.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  7. “No one knows how it is that with one glance a boy can break through into a girl’s heart.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  8. “We walk faster when we walk alone.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  9. “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  10. “Great men are meteors designed to burn so that earth may be lighted.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  11. “If you build an army of 100 lions and their leader is a dog, in any fight, the lions will die like a dog. But if you build an army of 100 dogs and their leader is a lion, all dogs will fight as a lion” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  12. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  13. “You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss and failure into success.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  14. “A true man hates no one.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  15. “The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  16. “Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  17. “There are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  18. “The reason most people fail instead of succeed is they trade what they want most for what they want at the moment.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  19. “There are only two forces in the world, the sword and the spirit. In the long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  20. “The amateurs discuss tactics: the professionals discuss logistics” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  21. “Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  22. “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  23. “In our time none has the conception of what is great. It is up to me to show them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  24. “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  25. “I am surrounded by priests who repeat incessantly that their kingdom is not of this world, and yet they lay their hands on everything they can get.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  26. “Speeches pass away, but acts remain.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  27. “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  28. “I would kiss a man’s *ss if I needed him.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  29. “A celebrated people lose dignity upon a closer view.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  30. “You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss into gain and failure to success.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  31. “The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  32. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  33. “The only way to lead people is to show them a future: a leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  34. “In politics stupidity is not a handicap.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  35. “To have a right estimate of a man’s character, we must see him in misfortune.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  36. “The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense; he is always satisfied with himself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  37. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  38. “If I had not been born Napoleon, I would have liked to have been born Alexander.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  39. “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  40. “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  41. “If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  42. “History is a set of lies agreed upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  43. “Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  44. “It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  45. “Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  46. “God is on the side with the best artillery.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  47. “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  48. “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on, it is going on when you don’t have strength.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  49. “Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  50. “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  51. “I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  52. “If the art of war were nothing but the art of avoiding risks, glory would become the prey of mediocre minds.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  53. “Ability is nothing without opportunity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  54. “The best way to make every one poor is to insist on equality of wealth.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  55. “Women are nothing but machines for producing children.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  56. “Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  57. “Men take only their needs into consideration.. Never their abilities.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  58. “To extraordinary circumstances we must apply extraordinary remedies.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  59. “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  60. “Wise people create opportunities for themselves and make everything possible.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  61. “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  62. “I marvel that whereas the ambitious dreams of myself, Caesar, and Alexander should have vanished into thin air, a Judean peasant-Jesus-should be able to stretch His hands across the centuries and control the destinies of men and nations.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  63. “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  64. “Ambition never is in a greater hurry that I; it merely keeps pace with circumstances and with my general way of thinking.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  65. “Great men are never cruel without necessity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  66. “You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss and failure into success.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  67. “It is not necessary to bury the truth. It is sufficient merely to delay it until nobody cares.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  68. “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  69. “The stupid speak of the past, the wise of the present, and fools of the future.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  70. “Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  71. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  72. “Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
  73. “The purpose of religion is to keep the poor from killing the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte Video – The Strategic Genius

If you want to learn more about Napoleon, give this video a watch – it’s a great overview of his genius for strategy and mastery of public opinion. He was very precise and targeted in his approach to media coverage in newspapers and political manifestos. He also commissioned many portraits and sculptures and was very strategic in portraying himself in his best life.  Even when he made moves to crown himself Emperor, he used propaganda and political nouse to convince the populace that it was their idea.

Summary

Napoleon Bonaparte may have been known as being a cold leader, but he was also a very skilled military strategist. He remains to be a great part of the French history and is known world-wide for his life’s work, achievements and failures.

Napoleon may not have been a very good man and he was exiled twice, but he made a great impact on not only France but the entire world. Use some of his quotes as motivation, as Napoleon Bonaparte was a very motivated and ambitious man.

Image Credit: Jacques-Louis David, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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