In 1789, the French revolution swept the country. In 1792, France
went to war with Austria.
and other Jacobins took over the government in June 1793 and began
the Reign of Terror. French cities revolted against his government.
Napoleon was put in charge of the artillery at the Siege
of Toulon, where his achievements earned him a favorable report
to the Convention at Paris.
Robespierre was executed on July of 1794 during the Thermidorian
Reaction. In 1796, Napoleon saved the government from a revolt.
A new government called the Directory was formed.
the new government, Napoleon was made commander of the French army
in Italy. Before leaving for the Italian
Campaign, he married Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796.
Napoleon won many victories in Italy. By 1796, Austria had become
Franceís chief enemy. Napoleon started his attack on Austria,
his first big campaign. Napoleon defeated four armies larger than
his own. After that, his troops gave him the name "Petit Caporal"
or "Little Corporal."
Napoleon knew he needed more influence to gain control. Concentrating
on improving his military reputation, Napoleon sailed off for Africa
with 38,000 men in May 1798.
won on land, but lost his fleet to Admiral Horatio Nelson at the
Battle of the Nile
in Abu Qir Bay. Napoleonís army was now stranded in Egypt. Napoleon
left his troops in Egypt and went back to France. Napoleon had returned
before news of his fiasco in Egypt was known. It appeared that Napoleonís
reputation was saved. Once back in France, he joined the plot to
topple the Directory.