How did Napoleon justify his position in history?
- He would draw references, symbols and examples from it to justify his position and his politics and thus give his reign its place in the history of France, the Gauls right up to his immediate predecessors, including the Bourbons.
A perfect reflection of the time in which he lived, Napoleon was “obsessed with history”(1). He would draw references, symbols and examples from it to justify his position and his politics and thus give his reign its place in the history of France, the Gauls right up to his immediate predecessors, including the Bourbons.
Napoleon did not listen, and he moved in against Russian Tsar Alexander I with a mighty and massive half a million strong army the likes of which the world had never seen before, supremely confident that he would emerge victorious no matter what the Red Man said. It would turn out that maybe the demon had a point.
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In 1799, a French general named Napoleon Bonaparte set out to build an empire even larger than Rome’s. To rule this empire, Napoleon followed the Roman example. He appointed a commission to write a uniform code of laws. This code, known as the Napoleonic Code, was completed in 1804. Although Napoleon ruled as emperor, he drew upon many of the
Decree of 17 th May, 1809, Correspondance, No.15219. Our emphasis added. In 1814, in order to please the Pope, Lucien Bonaparte – estranged from his brother, and made prince of Canino by Pius VII - published Charlemagne, ou l’Église délivrée which Napoleon only read once he was on the island of Saint Helena, in 1816.
- Thierry Lentz
May 15, 2021 · Napoleon Bonaparte’s campaigns in the Ottoman-controlled territories of Egypt and Syria from 1798 to 1801 changed everything. The campaigns were conducted for some short-term and, if possible, also long-term political, military, economic and scientific purposes.
- A Brief History of Ambition
- Ambition and The Means of Production
- New Ambitions, New Institutions
- Beyond Startup Accelerators
Let me sketch a (highly stylised) ‘brief history of ambition’ to put today’s situation in context. The most important concept in such a sketch is the idea of a ‘technology of ambition’. This is the ‘technology’ that gives an individual maximum ability to have impact in a given place and time. Maximising impact is the essence of ambition, so ambitious individuals seek out paths that give access to their era’s dominant ‘technology of ambition’. Over time these paths become somewhat standardised (careers, ultimately) and institutions develop to formalise access to the ‘technology’. These institutions in turn become magnets for talent. What are these ‘technologies of ambition’? If you were born in early medieval England and were not the son of a great lord, your prospects were rather limited, no matter how ambitious you were. There were few, if any, ways to have impact beyond the village in which you were born. By the late medieval period, though, a great ‘technology of ambition’ had em...
Entrepreneurship built on digital technologies — software, the internet, mobile, artificial intelligence, etc — represents the most powerful ‘technology of ambition’ yet. There are three reasons for this: ever growing scale, ever growing scope and ever falling cost. Scale: Because of the internet, digital technologies allow you to have an impact on more people than at any time in history. Did anyone in human history have an impact on a billion people each day before the 21st century? Napoleon would be green with envy at the scale of influence Mark Zuckerberg commands today . The number of people reachable through an internet connection continues to balloon. Scope: Digital technologies are general purpose. Whatever the focus of an individual’s ambition, digital technologies provide a means for achieving it. As Marc Andreessen says, software is eating the world. For example, taxis and hotels are hardly traditional high tech industries. But today the most important companies in both se...
Each new ‘technology of ambition’ leads to new institutions that amplify the ambitions of people drawn to the technology. To illustrate, let’s consider the three historical ‘technologies of ambition’ discussed above. 1. Literacy: By the late medieval period many more people wanted (and were needed to) read and write. Literacy could no longer be confined to the scriptoria of monasteries. As a result, cathedral schools and universities emerged. Cardinal Wolseyattended the relatively recently opened Magdalen College School and Magdalen College. (Both were founded within a couple of decades of his birth). 2. Military command: As armies became more professional, an elite cadre of officers was needed to run them. Military schools emerged. Napoleon’s rise to prominence was accelerated by his studies at the École Militaire.(It was founded a couple of decades before his birth) 3. Finance: Finance — and its cousin, management — emerged as ‘technologies of ambition’ in the twentieth century. B...
We’re at the early stages of the emergence of technology entrepreneurship as the ‘default career path’. The development of the related ‘magnet’ institutions is at a correspondingly early stage. I’m skeptical that startup accelerators are the answer. The unit they care about is the company, not the individual. In that sense accelerators are the ‘pre-mainstream’ institutions of technology entrepreneurship. They assume that any good founder can and should form a team and develop a startup idea organically. This is implicitly conservative. It’s like believing in the 18th century that all the world’s great military leaders are probably the sons or nephews of great lords. The past might look like that, but it doesn’t mean the future will. Most accelerators have a team/idea filter on entry. This means that they don’t, crucially, provide a path by which a sufficiently talented and ambitious individualcan succeed on merit alone. They therefore exclude a large fraction — perhaps a majority —...