Napoleon Bonaparte (August 15, 1769 - May 5, 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe. (Click for Wikipedia article.)
A book in which there were no lies would be a curiosity.
A commander in chief ought to say to himself several times a day: If the enemy should appear on my front, on my right, on my left, what would I do? And if the question finds him uncertain, he is not well placed, he is not as he should be, and he should remedy it.
A form of government that is not the result of a long sequence of shared experiences, efforts, and endeavors can never take root.
A general must be a charlatan.
A Government protected by foreigners will never be accepted by a free people.
A great people may be killed, but they cannot be intimidated.
A man who has no consideration for the needs of his men ought never to be given command.
A prince should suspect everything.
Ability is nothing without opportunity.
All great events hang by a hair.
All men of genius, and all those who have gained rank in the republic of letters, are brothers, whatever may be the land of their nativity.
An army which cannot be reenforced is already defeated.
Aristocracy is the spirit of the Old Testament, democracy of the New.
As a rule it is circumstances that make men.
At the beginning of a campaign it is important to consider whether or not to move forward; but when one has taken the offensive it is necessary to maintain it to the last extremity.
Audacity succeeds as often as it fails; in life it has an even chance.
Conscience is the most sacred thing among men.
Courage cannot be counterfeited. It is one virtue that escapes hypocrisy.
Democracy may become frenzied, but it has feelings and can be moved. As for aristocracy, it is always cold and never forgives.
Destiny urges me to a goal of which I am ignorant. Until that goal is attained I am invulnerable, unassailable. When Destiny has accomplished her purpose in me, a fly may suffice to destroy me.
Every man has within him a still small voice, which tells him that nothing on earth can oblige him to believe that which he does notvbelieve.
Fanaticism must be put to sleep before it can be eradicated.
From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.
From triumph to downfall is but a step. I have seen a trifle decide the most important issues in the gravest affairs.
Greatness is nothing unless it be lasting.
He who cannot look over a battlefield with a dry eye, causes the death of many men uselessly.
He who fears being conquered is certain of defeat.
How many seemingly impossible things have been accomplished by resolute men because they had to do, or die.
I do not see in religion the mystery of the incarnation so much as the mystery of the social order. It introduces into the thought of heaven an idea of equalization, which saves the rich from being massacred by the poor.
Imagination governs the world.
Immortality is the best recollection one leaves.
In France, only the impossible is admired.
In love the only safety is in flight.
In order not to be astonished at obtaining victories, one ought not to think only of defeats.
In politics nothing is immutable. Events carry within them an invincible power. The unwise destroy themselves in resistance. The skillful accept events, take strong hold of them and direct them.
In politics, an absurdity is not an impediment.
In practical administration, experience is everything.
In war one must lean on an obstacle in order to overcome it.
In war, character and opinion make more than half of the reality.
In war, groping tactics, half-way measures, lose everything.
In war, luck is half in everything.
It is rare that a legislature reasons. It is too quickly impassioned.
It must be recognized that the real truths of history are hard to discover. Happily, for the most part, they are rather matters of curiosity than of real importance.
Jesus Christ was the greatest republican.
Laws which are consistent in theory often prove chaotic in practice.
Lead the ideas of your time and they will accompany and support you; fall behind them and they drag you along with them; oppose them and they will overwhelm you.
Man loves the marvelous. It has an irresistible charm for him. He is always ready to leave that with which he is familiar to pursue vain inventions. He lends himself to his own deception.
Morality has nothing to do with such a man as I am.
Never depend on the multitude, full of instability and whims; always take precautions against it.
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.
Nothing is more dangerous than to flatter a people. If it does not get what it wants immediately, it is irritated and thinks that promises have not been kept; and if then it is resisted, it hates so much the more as it feels itself deceived.
Obedience to public authority ought not to be based either on ignorance or stupidity.
One can lead a nation only by helping it see a bright outlook. A leader is a dealer in hope.
One is more certain to influence men, to produce more effect on them, by absurdities than by sensible ideas.
Ordinarily men exercise their memory much more than their judgment.
Ordinary men died, men of iron were taken prisoner: I only brought back with me men of bronze.
Our credulity is a part of the imperfection of our natures. It is inherent in us to desire to generalize, when we ought, on the contrary, to guard ourselves very carefully from this tendency.
Our hour is marked, and no one can claim a moment of life beyond what fate has predestined.
Parties weaken themselves by their fear of capable men.
Peace ought to be the result of a system well considered, founded on the true interests of the different countries, honorable to each, and ought not to be either a capitulation or the result of a threat.
Policemen and prisons ought never to be the means used to bring men back to the practice of religion.
Policy and morals concur in repressing pillage.
Posterity alone rightly judges kings. Posterity alone has the right to accord or withhold honors.
Power is founded upon opinion.
Simpletons talk of the past, wise men of the present, and fools of the future.
Success is the most convincing talker in the world.
The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know.
The best way to keep one's word is not to give it.
The division of labor, which has brought such perfection in mechanical industries, is altogether fatal when applied to productions of the mind. All work of the mind is superior in proportion as the mind that produces it is universal.
The existence of God is attested by everything that appeals to our imagination. And if our eye cannot reach Him it is because He has not permitted our intelligence to go so far.
The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense- he is always satisfied with himself.
The future destiny of the child is always the work of his mother. Let France have good mothers, and she will have good sons.
The great difficulty with politics is, that there are no established principles.
The laws of circumstance are abolished by new circumstances.
The man of ability takes advantage of everything and neglects nothing that can give him a chance of success; whilst the less able man sometimes loses everything by neglecting a single one of those chances.
The moment of greatest peril is the moment of victory.
The praises of enemies are always to be suspected.
The religious zeal which animates priests, leads them to undertake labors and to brave perils which would be far beyond the powers of one in secular employment.
The word impossible is not French.
There are only two forces that unite men- fear and interest. .
There are two systems, the past and the future. The present is only a painful transition.
There is a joy in danger.
There is nothing so imperious as feebleness which feels itself supported by force.here is nothing so imperious as feebleness which feels itself supported by force.
There is only one favorable moment in war; talent consists in knowing how to seize it.
To listen to the interests of all, marks an ordinary government; to foresee them, marks a great government.
Unhappy the general who comes on the field of battle with a system.
Unite for the public safety, if you would remain an independent nation.
War is a lottery in which nations ought to risk nothing but small amounts.
War is a serious game in which a man risks his reputation, his troops, and his country. A sensible man will search himself to know whether or not he is fitted for the trade.
Waterloo will wipe out the memory of my forty victories; but that which nothing can wipe out is my Civil Code. That will live forever.
We frustrate many designs against us by pretending not to see them.
Whatever misanthropists may say, ingrates and the perverse are exceptions in the human species.
You cannot drag a man's conscience before any tribunal, and no one is answerable for his religious opinions to any power on earth.