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Bonaparte exhibited an undeniable skill as both legislator and statesmen - a study of these achievements could rival those of his campaigns for size and depth - but many have argued that this talent was deeply flawed and even fervent supporters admit that Napoleon made mistakes.
The Consul's popularity remained high - helped by his mastery of propaganda, but also genuine national support - and he was elected Consulate for life by the French people in 1802 and Emperor of France in 1804, a title which Bonaparte worked hard to maintain and glorify.
If either side has sought peace, the battles would still have continued.
For the next eight years, Napoleon dominated Europe, fighting and defeating a range of alliances involving combinations of Austria, Britain, Russia, and Prussia.
Napoleon returned to France in 1797 as the nation's brightest star, having fully emerged from the need for a patron.
Ever a great self-publicist, he maintained the profile of a political independent, thanks partly to the newspapers he now ran.
However, France was still at war with her fellows in Europe and Napoleon set out to beat them.
Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon 1st of France.
Sometimes his victories were crushing - such as Austerlitz in 1805, often cited as the greatest military victory ever -- and on other occasions, he was either very lucky, fought almost to a standstill, or both; Wagram stands as an example of the latter.
Bonaparte forged new states in Europe, including the German Confederation -- built from the ruins of the Holy Roman Empire -- and the Duchy of Warsaw, whilst also installing his family and favourites in positions of great power: Murat became King of Naples and Bernadotte King of Sweden, the latter in spite of his frequent treachery and failure.
There he played an active part in political and military matters, initially supporting the Corsican rebel Pasquale Paoli, a former patron of Carlo Buonaparte.
Military promotion also followed, but Napoleon became opposed to Paoli and when civil war erupted in 1793 the Buonapartes fled to France, where they adopted the French version of their name: Bonaparte.
Historians have frequently used the Corsican affair as a microcosm of Napoleon's career.