100 best Napoleon Bonaparte quotes you need to know

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was one of the most important military leaders of all time and the first Emperor of France.

He was the architect of the coup d’état of 18 Brumaire which made him First Consul of the French Republic on 11 November 1799 and Consul for life on August 2, 1802. On 18 May 1804, he was proclaimed emperor of France and crowned on December 2, the same year. Proclaimed King of Italy on March 17, 1805, and crowned on May 26, he held both titles until April 11, 1814, and again from March 20 to June 22, 1815.

 Napoleon dominated the European politics and World Affairs of his time for almost 15 years while leading the French armies against a series of military coalitions in the Napoleonic Wars. Its aggressive wars of conquest became the largest military operations ever known in Europe, involving a number of soldiers never seen in history before that time.

 He won most of these wars and battles, building a great empire that dominated continental Europe before its final collapse in 1815.

Napoleon revolutionized military organization and training, sponsored the Napoleonic Code, reorganized the educational system, and established a lasting Concordat with the Papacy.

Napoleon is considered by many scholars to be an “enlightened monarch” because of his reforms, his capacity to work, and incredible talents. Others, however, consider him a dictator whose wars have killed millions of people, as well as one of the most megalomaniacal and diabolical characters of all time.

Napoleon’s political and cultural legacy as one of the most famous and controversial leaders in human history had succesfully passed the test of time.

Although you have certainly read a lot about him in the history books, below you can find a short selection of the best Napoleon Bonaparte quotes about success, revolution, wars, and many other topics that will help you to better understand his complex personality.

100 Napoleon Bonaparte quotes you need to know:

  1. “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
    Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake- Napoleon Bonaparte

2. “A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

3. “History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

4. “If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes  If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.

5. “Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

6. “Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

7. “Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

8. “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

9. “If you wish to be a success in the world, promise everything, deliver nothing.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

10. “Victory belongs to the most persevering.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes Victory belongs to the most persevering.

11. “There are only two forces in the world, the sword, and the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
There are only two forces in the world, the sword, and the spirit. In the long run, the sword will always be conquered by the spirit

12. “A leader is a dealer in hope.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

13. “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

14. “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

15. “Men are moved by two levers only: fear and self interest.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

16. “There is no such thing as accident; it is fate misnamed.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

17. “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

18. “Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

19. “An army marches on its stomach.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

20. “I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes: I can no longer obey; I have tasted command, and I cannot give it up

21. “There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

22. “The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

23. “The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

24. “Music is the voice that tells us that the human race is greater than it knows.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

25. “He who fears being conquered is sure of defeat.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

26. “Imagination rules the world.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes imagination rules the world

27. “Ability is nothing without opportunity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

28. “Soldiers generally win battles; generals get credit for them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

29. “Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

30. “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

31. “The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

32. “From the heights of these pyramids, forty centuries look down on us.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

33. “Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

34. “A throne is only a bench covered with velvet.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
napoleon bonaparte famous quotes

35. “The strong man is the one who is able to intercept at will the communication between the senses and the mind.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

36. “It is the cause, not the death, that makes the martyr.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

37. “I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

38. “Doctors will have more lives to answer for in the next world than even we generals.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

39. “If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

40. “The truest wisdom is a resolute determination.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

41. “Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious than to be able to decide.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. - Napoleon Bonaparte

42. “It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

43. “One must change one’s tactics every ten years if one wishes to maintain one’s superiority.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

44. “He who knows how to flatter also knows how to slander.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

45. “The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon bonaparte the surest way to remain poor

46. “In politics… never retreat, never retract… never admit a mistake.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

47. “Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

48. “The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

49. “Water, air, and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

50. “A Constitution should be short and obscure.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

51. “One should never forbid what one lacks the power to prevent.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

52. “France has more need of me than I have need of France.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes about France

53. “A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

54. “I love power. But it is as an artist that I love it. I love it as a musician loves his violin, to draw out its sounds and chords and harmonies.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

55. “Public opinion is the thermometer a monarch should constantly consult.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

56. “I have only one counsel for you – be master.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

57. “Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

58. “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

59. “A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quote about revolution

60. “If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

61. “With audacity, one can undertake anything, but not do everything”. – Napoleon Bonaparte
With audacity one can undertake anything, but not do everything. - Napoleon Bonaparte quote

62. “Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

63. “There is one kind of robber whom the law does not strike at, and who steals what is most precious to men: time.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

64. “The battle of Austerlitz is the grandest of all I have fought.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte about the battle of austerlitz

65. “When small men attempt great enterprises, they always end by reducing them to the level of their mediocrity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

66. “Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

67. “You must not fear death, my lads; defy him, and you drive him into the enemy’s ranks.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

68. “The army is the true nobility of our country.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

69. “Men take only their needs into consideration – never their abilities.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

70. “The extent of your consciousness is limited only by your ability to love and to embrace with your love the space around you, and all it contains.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

71. “Skepticism is a virtue in history as well as in philosophy.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

72. “A man cannot become an atheist merely by wishing it.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

73. “I am the successor, not of Louis XVI, but of Charlemagne.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

74. “Ambition never is in a greater hurry than I; it merely keeps pace with circumstances and with my general way of thinking.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

75. “When soldiers have been baptized in the fire of a battle-field, they have all one rank in my eyes.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

76. “We must laugh at man to avoid crying for him.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

77. “I made all my generals out of mud.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quotes I made all my generals out of mud

78. “England is a nation of shopkeepers.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

79. “All religions have been made by men.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

80. “Medicines are only fit for old people.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

81. “The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

82. “Let the path be open to talent.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

83. “The fool has one great advantage over a man of sense; he is always satisfied with himself.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

84. “Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Friends must always be treated as if one day they might be enemies. - Napoleon Bonaparte quotes

85. “The stupid speak of the past, the wise of the present, and fools of the future.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

86. “We walk faster when we walk alone.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

87. “A true man hates no one.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

88. “A woman laughing is a woman conquered.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

89. “Six hours sleep for a man, seven for a woman and eight for a fool.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quote

90. “In our time none has the conception of what is great. It is up to me to show them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

91. “God is on the side with the best artillery.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

92. “Better to have an open enemy, than hidden friends.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

93. “Great men are meteors designed to burn so that earth may be lighted.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

94. “Prussia was hatched from a cannon-ball.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte quote about Prussia

95. “Nothing is more destructive than the charge of artillery on a crowd.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

96. “Those who have changed the universe have never done it by changing officials, but always by inspiring the people.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

97. “Great men are never cruel without necessity.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

98. “You don’t reason with intellectuals. You shoot them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

99. “I base my calculation on the expectation that luck will be against me.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
 I base my calculation on the expectation that luck will be against me. - Napoleon Bonaparte 

100. “The greatest general is he who makes the fewest mistakes.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

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