Napoleon Bonaparte

(1769-1821 / Ajaccio)

Napoleon Bonaparte Quotes

  • ''The art of the police is not to see what it is useless that it should see.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Letter, May 24, 1800.
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  • ''I am the successor, not of Louis XVI, but of Charlemagne.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. remark, Dec. 2, 1804, to Pope Pius VII in Paris. On Napoleon's coronation as emperor of France.
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  • ''France has more need of me than I have need of France.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. speech, Dec. 31, 1813, to Corps Législatif, Paris. Quoted in Dictionnaire de Citations Françaises, vol. 2, ed. Pierre Oster (1994).
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  • ''I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Havelock Ellis, The Dance of Life (1923).
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  • ''There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. remark, Dec. 1812, to Polish Ambassador Abbé De Pradt. Quoted in Histoire de l'Ambassade dans le Grand-duché de Varsovie en 1812, p. 215, D.G. De Pradt (1815). of Napoleon's return by sledge to Paris after the failure of his Russian campaign; also in Comte de Las Cases' Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène. Tom Paine had earlier observed (The Age of Reason, pt. 2, 1795): "One step above the sublime, makes the ridiculous; and one step above the ridiculous, makes the sublime again."
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  • ''England is a nation of shopkeepers.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Napoleon in Exile, vol. 2, p. 81, Barry E. O'Meera (1822). remark made while in exile on St. Helena. It is thought that Napoleon heard the phrase from Bernard de Vieuzac Barère, who may have adopted it from economist Adam Smith. (See Smith on empire.).
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  • ''There are two levers for moving men—interest and fear.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Napoleon; or The Man of the World," Representative Men (1850).
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  • ''I made all my generals out of mud.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men, "Napoleon," (1850).
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  • ''When soldiers have been baptized in the fire of a battle- field, they have all one rank in my eyes.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men, "Napoleon," (1850).
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  • ''You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.''
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, emperor. Quoted in Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Uses of Great Men," Representative Men (1850).
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