Lazare Carnot

French Soldier

Lazare CarnotA staunch republican, Lazare Carnot was one of the men who voted for the execution of Louis XVI and his one desire was to see France strong enough to defend itself, and its ideals, against the reactionary nations intent on destroying it.

Carnot set about reorganising the French army with mass conscription and the amalgamation (l'amalgame) of two battalions of conscripts/volunteers with a regular army battalion.

This not only gave France's armies greater manpower, but sped up the process by which green troops gained experience.

Carnot also proved his abilities in the field, helping to win the battle of Wattignies.

As a member of the Committee of Public Safety, he risked his neck by fighting with Maximilien Robespierre but, in the end, that saved his life because he survived the fall of Robespierre and his cronies.

Carnot's highest position in France was as President of the Directory, but his views on the republic, and his opposition to the empire and imperial honours, got him offside with Napoleon Bonaparte.

Between 1807 and 1814 he was rarely used by Bonaparte, but in 1814 he took over the defence of Antwerp.

He joined the returning emperor for the 100 Days Campaign and upon Bonaparte's final fall was exiled.

Carnot spent his last years in various European cities writing memoirs.

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