Napoleon became a hero in France through his military successes and his implementation of the Napoleonic Code.
He was born in Corsica and joined the French army at 17. He quickly rose through the ranks and, by age 24, he was already a brigadier general and had fought with distinction against the Austrians in northern Italy. He then went on to conquer much of Europe during his first reign as emperor, from 1804 until 1815.
Napoleon was a military genius. He created an army that conquered most of Europe in only 10 years. His victories were so impressive that he was able to defeat larger armies than his own, often with fewer soldiers than his enemies. Napoleon won many battles for France, including those against Austria, Prussia and Russia. He also defeated several coalitions of European nations that tried to stop him from expanding French territory.
As emperor, he reorganized France’s government into a centralized state run by bureaucrats instead of aristocrats. He also established what we now know as Napoleonic Code — a set of laws that defined rights and responsibilities between citizens, such as marriage, inheritance, property ownership and divorce rights for women.
Napoleon’s successes on the battlefield helped him become a hero in France. During his career, he was involved in more than a hundred battles and lost only seven of them. He is considered one of history’s greatest commanders, as well as one of its most able statesmen, although he has also been accused of being autocratic by some biographers.