11.3 Project - The Age of Napoleon

Jordan Robb, Daniel Lipec, Morgan Larick, Nathan Fulgham

Restructuring of Government -

Before the Revolution, France didn’t have a single set of laws, but had 300 different legal systems. Napoleon brought all of the codes of law together into the seven codes of law after the revolution. He created the Civil Code which gave equality to all citizens. These codes of law went along with the ideas proposed by the French Revolution. Although it preserved most of the gains, it did bring about some losses. One of these losses was that women were now less equal than men. These laws were later changed after Napoleon’s rule. Napoleon also worked hard to develop a Bureaucracy of capable officials. Before Napoleon, the government cared little of the officials ability, but Napoleon changed that. He wanted people that were capable of holding the job of an official to be in charge. This went along with what the middle class wanted the revolution to accomplish. The government went on to use these ideas.

Educational System -

Before Napoleon came to rule, education was not necessarily that important while King Louis the 16th was ruling. If you were a very well educated third estate member it would not matter or if you were a dumb first estate member, it would not change your ranking. After King Louis was overthrown, along came Napoleon ,who was educated at a French military school. He would eventually become consul and would put emphasis on the importance of education and suggested more schools and professionals should begin to reappear since there were not many before him. But these ideas never fully emerged. But one successful thing he did with the education was divide it into paths that the kids would take such as military training or civil trainings. The changes that he would try to make would be in line with the ideas of the reform, it is just that not many of the ideas were carried out due to inner and outer struggles. So focus was not 100% on education. He would also put focus on public education a little too late because he would soon be overthrown and mainly private schooling was the only option. The legacy that would continue after Napoleon would be reverting back to the ciriculum that the Revolution had. So it was in a way a drastic change and a downfall in what Napoleon was intending. Education would eventually gradually become better.

Concordat of 1801 -

Before Napoleon there was no majority religion in France. Napoleon made the majority religion of France Catholicism in exchange for the church not regaining Church lands seized during the revolution. This change was not in line with revolutionary ideas because the revolution wanted to distance themselves from the Church, while this brought France closer to the Church. This increased support for Napoleon as owners of Church lands got to keep the land they owned.

Legal System -

Before Napoleon, France did not have a single set of laws but rather had almost 300 different legal systems. Legal systems were very low before Napoleon came to rule, and have increased very high since he was leader. During the revolution, efforts were made to prepare a single law code for the entire nation. Once Napoleon was the leader, he brought many reforms and changes. Napoleon brought the work to completion in seven codes of law. The most important of the codes was the Civil Code, or Napoleonic This code preserved most of the gains of the revolution by recognizing the principle of the equality of all citizens before the law, the right of the individual to choose a profession, religious toleration, and the abolition of serfdom and feudalism. The changes that he would make would be in line with the reform, and Napoleon impacted the legal systems in a very positive way. The legacy that would be beyond Napoleon’s rule would be continued. After Napoleon’s death, inspired many other nations to adopt similar codes.

Financial System -

The changes in the financial system were in line with the revolution, Napoleon eliminated debt, and made the franc (French unit of currency) more valuable. Eliminating one of the factors that caused the revolution to happen in the first place. Before Napoleon came to rule, the financial state of France was not in good shape. King Louis the 16th would continually spend money on luxurious things for himself and his family, leaving mainly the third estate in a very poor state. Debt would eventually become a horrible effect for France and would spark the Revolution. Napoleon established the Bank of France which helped change the financial system in France. He also made every person no matter what state pay taxes which got rid of inflation. After Napoleon’s death, the legacy beyond him was the financial system that was able to maintain stability.


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