Today's Featured Biography
Napoleon Bonaparte, the second son of Charles Bonaparte and his wife, Letizia de Ramolino, was born at Ajaccio, in Corsica, on August 15, 1769. In 1779 he entered the Royal Military School of Brienne le Chateau; there he remained till the autumn of 1784, when he was transferred to the Military School of Paris, according to the usual routine. An official report on him by the Inspector of Military Schools in this year speaks highly of his conduct, and notifies his great proficiency in mathematics and fair knowledge of history and geography, but says he is not well up in ornamental studies or in Latin, and, curiously enough, adds that he will make an excellent sailor. Napoleon lost his father in 1785, and the same year he was commissioned as second-lieutenant of artillery, in which capacity he served at Valence and other garrisons. He spent his periods of leave in Corsica, and appears to have wished to play the leading part in the history of his native island, showing the first signs of his ambitious and energetic character. During the critical times following the first French Revolution, he at first joined the moderate party of Paoli; but, trying for military power, though by untiring activity and reckless audacity he succeeded in being elected lieutenant-colonel of the National Volunteers of Ajaccio, he failed in an attempt to seize that town and was obliged to return to France. The French Government soon made an endeavor to crush Paoli and do away with Corsican privileges, an...
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