Napoleonic Code

By Nicolas Nadolski, Nicholas Rado, Braden and Andrea.

Legal System

The legal system was very different before Napoleon. They did not have a single set of laws, but rather had around 300 different legal systems. This was changed a vast amount when Napoleon was in power, as he changed all the laws into one unified set called the Napoleonic Code. So wherever you went in France, the laws were the same. While some of the laws were in line with the French Revolution, he changed some that weren’t so popular with the people. Such as closing 60 out of 73 of France’s newspapers, and eliminating freedom of press. This was a change that was put into effect right after the Revolution and was removed later. Many of his laws were later removed to be more fair to the French people.
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Educational System

Before the revolution, only the privileged were able to attend schools, which were primarily run by churches. Students were taught to respect their elders and their God. After the revolution, people intended to make school a place for under classed people to attend, and even wanted to set up state schools, but that never happened. Under Napoleon, the education system in France changed a lot. Four grades of school were set up; primary, secondary, lycées (schools run on military lines), and technical schools. Schools now stressed the importance of obedience and military values – although primary education stayed almost as it had been before The Revolution. Science and math became more important subjects in secondary schools. Schools were available to a wider range of people.
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Financial System

Before the revolution, the french had pushed themselves into debt by participating in the seven years war and the American Revolution. Because only the third estate was being taxed, they were running out of money for food and shelter, which made them want to rebel. Napoleon reformed the French taxation system bringing to his imperial coffers almost $700 million. The sources for the money came from taxes on income and a series of levies on goods - such as wine, tobacco and salt. In 1800 he added to his overhaul of the financial system by creating the Bank of France.

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Reconstruction of Government

Before Napoleon, the government was run by the National Assembly. When Napoleon took over as the new general of the army, he quickly climbed the ranks, he then became obsessed with power and took over as emperor. He made the government consulate, before he was crowned emperor. He quickly reversed the advances made by women and he created a military school where the students would go straight to work with the army. He also reformed the catholic church and converted back to catholicism. He did this to convince the others he was a legitimate leader. His armies fought with a sense of nationalism, a lover for their government created by the people for the people. These ideas did not go along with those of the French Revolution because the whole idea of the revolution was to bring back the republic and that’s exactly the opposite of what he did. He crowned himself emperor. The changes did have a legacy, but they did not stay, today, the french republic has a republic for their government. Napoleon went down in history for what he did, but his changes were not good enough to keep.
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The Concordat of 1801

This was when Napoleon agreed to make France an officially Catholic country in order to restore some of the order in France. In this agreement, Napoleon was given the right to nominate bishops, while the pope was given any church property that the French citizens had taken over. This helped France because in the period of time in between when the king was in power and Napoleon were in power, the government had tried to get rid of all religion, and many French citizens were not happy about. The French were happy to see that their religion was allowed once again, and because they were happy, order was restored. This also made them more loyal to Napoleon.
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