The patronage of science by ruling governments began in the days of antiquity. However, the influence of the ruling power on the development of science is particularly marked by the career of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon was born in Corsica on August 15, 1769, and attended military school there. He was regarded as taciturn and morose, but since he spoke little French in this French-speaking environment, this might have been expected. He distinguished himself in mathematics, did tolerably well in history and geography, but did poorly in Latin and general literature. In 1784 he left for Paris, where his excellence in mathematics permitted him to finish his military training and receive a commission a year later instead of in the two years normally required.
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