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In 2021, France commemorates the bicentenary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte, on 5 May 1821. Born to a modest family in Corsica, Napoleon rose to become the Emperor of almost all of Europe, leading the Napoleonic Wars, which reached as far as Russia and Egypt.
Did you know that Napoleon is the second most researched character on Google, only after Jesus?
There are many notable places related to Napoleon in Paris, where Napoléon left his mark. He also left some memorable quotes about life, war, and love. Here are 55 quotes about Napoleon worth remembering:
Napoleon Quotes on Love & Life
1. Once you have made up your mind, stick to it; there no longer any ‘if’ or ‘but.’
2. With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything.
3. I have only one counsel for you – be master.
4. Until you spread your wings, you’ll have no idea how far you can fly.
‘Dress me slowly that I am in a hurry. ‘ – This is one of our favorite quotes about Napoleon. The basic concept: sometimes the best way to ‘go fast’ is to do things slow (but very well).
5. A true man hates no one.
6. Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.
7. Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.
8. The French complain of everything, and always.
9. Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies.
10. Men take only their needs into consideration – never their abilities.
11. Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.
12. Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.
13. 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.
14. If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.
15. Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.
16. The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.
Napoleon Quotes on Leadership & Power
Amongst other titles, Napoleon was First Consul of the (French) Republic (1799-1804) and Emperor of the French (1804-1814 and then in 1815).
17. Ambition never is in a greater hurry than I; it merely keeps pace with circumstances and with my general way of thinking.
18. I am the successor, not of Louis XVI, but of Charlemagne.
19. You become strong by defying defeat and by turning loss and failure into success.
20. A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.
21. The army is the true nobility of our country.
‘It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well.’ – Napoleon is buried at the Hôtel des Invalides, not far from the Seine River.
22. Respect the burden.
23. The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.
24. Let the path be open to talent.
25. The act of policing is, in order to punish less often, to punish more severely
26. History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.
27. In politics stupidity is not a handicap.
28. Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
29. A leader is a dealer in hope.
30. I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.
31. The people to fear are not those who disagree with you but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.
32. Ability is nothing without opportunity.
33. There are only two forces that unite men – fear and interest.
34. Nothing is more difficult and therefore more precious than to be able to decide.
35. Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
36. In politics… never retreat, never retract… never admit a mistake.
37. Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me.
38. The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it
39. A Constitution should be short and obscure.
40. France has more need of me than I have need of France.
41. Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.
Napoleon Quotes on War
42. I made all my generals out of mud
43. When soldiers have been baptized in the fire of a battlefield, they have all one rank in my eyes.
44. Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
45. Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.
46. Victory belongs to the most persevering.
47. You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.
48. 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.
49. An army marches on its stomach.
50. The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.
51. Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.
52. A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.
Napoleon Quotes on Religion
53. All religions have been made by men.
54. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
55. If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.