MAXIMS OF NAPOLEON

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http://www.napoleonic-literature.com/

 

 

 

Maxims & Quotations of Napoleon


Following are a number of Napoleon's maxims and quotations that I have taken from various sources. Since there are doubtness thousands of maxims and hundreds of thousands of quotations that could be included here, this is obviously an incomplete list. I inaugurated this list on 19 April 1997, with a couple of dozen entries, and will add to it periodically as I come across additional material. 

Although this is meant to supplement The Maxims of Napoleon, which is a book that appears in The Napoleonic Library, some of those maxims may be duplicated here. However, I will do my best to prevent duplicating those maxims. 

What is a maxim? As defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, a maxim is "A succint formulation of some fundamental principle or rule fo conduct." This is the primary definition and the one that applies here. 

I have categorized the maxims and quotations to the best of my ability. Some fit more than one category, so I have placed those in each category to which they best apply. 

The quotations included here are presented because, even thought they are not maxims as defined above, they are great statements from a great man. To differentiate the quotations from the maxims, the quotations will be presented in italics.

Character

Wealth is a misfortune, primogeniture a relic of barbarism, celibacy a reprehensible practice. 


Destiny and Fate

We must grow greater in spite of ourselves. It is prudent and politic to obey the commands of Destiny and follow the irresistible march of events. 

Fortune is a woman; the more she does for me, the more I shall exact from her. 

I am conquered less by fortune than by the egotism and ingratitude of my companions in arms.

I walk with the goddess of fortune, accompanied by the god of war.


Fortune and Wealth

Wealth is a misfortune, primogeniture a relic of barbarism, celibacy a reprehensible practice. 

A disordered imagination! there lies the cause and source of human misfortune. It sends us wandering from sea to sea, from fancy to fancy, and when at last it grows calm, opportunity has passed, the hour strikes, and its possessor dies abhorring life. 


Government and Politics

In a conquered country benevolence is not humanitarianism. It is a general political axiom that a conqueror must not inspire a good opinion of his benevolence until he has demonstrated that he can be severe with malefactors. 

Great events ever depend but upon a single hair. The adroit man profits by everything, neglects nothing which can increase his chances; the less adroit, by sometimes disregarding a single chance, fails in everything. 

The career open to talents without distinction of birth or fortune. 

A thing must be done before the announcement of your plan.


Greatness

In our day no one has conceived anything great; it falls to me to give the example.

We must grow greater in spite of ourselves. It is prudent and politic to obey the commands of Destiny and follow the irresistible march of events. 

I have never found the limit of my capacity for work.

I may find in Spain the Pillars of Hercules, but not the limits of my power.

My master has no bowels, and that master is the nature of things.


Human Nature

Our animal nature demands food, shelter, clothing, and the companionship of woman. 

A disordered imagination! there lies the cause and source of human misfortune. It sends us wandering from sea to sea, from fancy to fancy, and when at last it grows calm, opportunity has passed, the hour strikes, and its possessor dies abhorring life. 

Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies. 


Law

It strengthens the bonds between nations to have the same civil laws and the same monetary system.

Law is like those statues of some of the gods which are veiled under certain circumstances. 


Love, Women and Family

Our animal nature demands food, shelter, clothing, and the companionship of woman. 


Nations

It strengthens the bonds between nations to have the same civil laws and the same monetary system.


Psychology

You manage men with toys. [Referring specifically to the Legion of Honor.] 


Religion, God and the Church

A man must be a good deal of a fool if he thinks there is nothing superior to his own ideas but miracles, and the mind of God! 

Wealth is a misfortune, primogeniture a relic of barbarism, celibacy a reprehensible practice. 


Sovereignty, Kings and Princes

A King who is unable to exact obedience at home is not a King. 

Human greed, passion, vanity are the motive forces by which kings rule. 


War and Military

In war, the moral element and public opinion are half the battle. 

In a conquered country benevolence is not humanitarianism. It is a general political axiom that a conqueror must not inspire a good opinion of his benevolence until he has demonstrated that he can be severe with malefactors. 

Great events ever depend but upon a single hair. The adroit man profits by everything, neglects nothing which can increase his chances; the less adroit, by sometimes disregarding a single chance, fails in everything. 

Unity of command is essential to the economy of time. 

Warfare in the field was like a siege: by directing all one's force to a single point a breach might be made, and the equilibrium of opposition destroyed. 

War must be made as intense and awful as possible in order to make it short, and thus to diminish its horrors. 

I believe one bad general to be worth two good ones. 

War is like government, a matter of tact. 

Expansion in a given territory for sustenance. 

The career open to talents without distinction of birth or fortune. 

The art of war is to gain time when your strength is inferior. 

An army which cannot be regularly recruited is a doomed army. 

A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

Generals who save troops for the next day are always beaten. 

A man like me troubles himself little about a million men.

Enemy's lands make enemy's goods. 

Gathered to strike; separated to live. 

Generals who save troops for the next day are always beaten. 

Great battles are won with artillery. 

I have destroyed the enemy merely by marches.

In war you see your own troubles; those of the enemy you cannot see. You must show confidence. 

Masters of the Channel for six hours, we are masters of the world.

My generals are a parcel of post inspectors.

My enemies make appointments at my tomb.

The worse the troops the greater the need of artillery. 

War is like government, a matter of tact. 

We must pull on the boots and the resolution of 93.

For a flying enemy you must make a bridge of gold, or oppose to him a wall of steel.

 

 

This information was taken from the following source:

 

 

http://www.napoleonic-literature.com/