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French revolution and aftermath, 1789-1815: Part VII

French revolution and aftermath, 1789-1815: Part VII

The Consulate (1799-1804)

  • The overthrow of the Directory by Napoleon necessitated the revision of the constitution. Its forms and details as drawn up by Sieyes and amended by Napoleon gave to France a Consular Constitution.
  • The following were its main features:
    • The executive power was vested in three consuls who were to be elected by the Senate for ten years.
      • One of them was to be the First Consul who was to have the power of making war and peace, appointing ministers, ambassadors and all other officers, both civil and military.
      • The other two consuls had only a consultative voice.
    • The Legislative functions were distributed amongst three separate bodies:
      • Council of State
        • drafted all laws and bills
      • Tribunate
        • discussed laws and bills without voting
      • Legislative Body
        • voted upon laws and bills without discussing.
    • There was also to be a fourth body called Senate, higher than the others.
      • It was a Senate of sixty members whose function was to reject or to ratify the measures referred to it by the Legislative Body.
      • It was also an electing body; it chose the consuls, the members of the Tribunate and of the Legislative Body.
      • But the members of the Council of State were to be nominated by the First Consul.
  • The constitution as drawn up by the Consulate was a mere sham.
    • Appearances of popular government were kept up to deceive the people.
    • All power was practically concentrated in the hands of the First Consul.
    • The legislative functions were so divided as to leave no influence either to the Tribunate or the Legislative Body.
    • The Senate and the Council of State, being nominated bl’ the First Consul, were really tools in his hands.
    • France was a republic in name, in fact the government became a veiled monarchy.

Under this new constitution, Napoleon wee chosen the First Consul and he took a long step towards making himself Emperor.

Foreign Policy of the Consulate

  • Napoleon’s Second Italian Campaign:
    • The first care of the Consulate was to meet the Second Coalition formed against France and to recover the ground lost during Napoleon’s absence in Egypt.
    • Russia withdrew from the coalition and so Austria and England were the enemies that remained.
    • Napoleon completely defeated Austrians recovered all Italy at a stroke (1800).
    • By Peace of Luneville (1801), Austria reaffirmed all the cessions made to France.
  • After defeat of Austria, the only member of the coalition that held out against France, was England.
    • Unable to strike England on the sea, Napoleon turned to diplomacy and made use of the grievances of neutral powers against England. The British ships used to search even neutral ships for French goods.
    • Napoleon instigated the Czar to revive against England the Armed Neutrality, consisting of Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Denmark. The object of this league was to prevent England from searching neutral ships for French goods.
    • As soon as this league was formed the English fleet bombarded Copenhagen and captured the Danish fleet to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon. This victory as well as the assassination of the Czar of Russia, broke up the Armed Neutrality. Napoleon’s plan was foiled and England was saved from a formidable coalition.
    • The English were also successful in Egypt and compelled the French to evacuate Egypt.
    • All these French reverses inclined Napoleon to conclude peace with England and England too, tired of war was ready to lend a willing ear.
      • By the Peace of Amiens (1802) which followed, England restored all conquests from France and her allies except Ceylon and Trinidad and promised to evacuate Malta.
      • France agreed to evacuate Naples and the Papal States and to restore Egypt to the Sultan of Turkey.
      • This peace was favourable to France as England tacitly recognised the predominance of France on the Continent.
      • The peace of Amiens was a great triumph for Napoleon.
        • England agreed to recognise his annexations in Europe and to abandon all intervention in continental affairs without either the compensation of colonial gains or effective guarantee of non-aggressive policy in future on the part of the other party. Thus he was given free hand to impose his own policy on Europe.
        • England had made war in‘ 1793 to exclude France from Belgium, but she had to make peace in 1802 by accepting her own exclusion from Belgium.
      • Peace was too, favourable for France to last long.
        • England surrendered most of her overseas conquests although she had not suffered any serious reverse. France on the other hand, retained all her conquests in Europe.
        • The Peace thus did not conform to the reality of the European situation.

Reforms of Napoleon under the Consulate (1799-1804)

  • Objective of his reforms:
    • During the short interval of peace which followed the treaties of Luneville and Amiens; Napoleon devoted himself to the task of reorganizing the government of France and building up afresh the fabric of social order.
    • His aims were to heal the wounds of the nation, to secure efficiency of administration and to ensure a large measure of social and fiscal “Equality“.
    • But he was opposed to the principle of “Liberty”.
      • He realised how in the name of liberty the country was plunged into a chaotic state and so set up ‘a strong centralised government to restore peace and order. His policy is clearly shown in his reorganisation of the local government
  • Economic Reforms:
    • Financial administration and taxation, the cancers of the old regime, were among the first to be overhauled.
    • The Bank of France was founded in 1800 and its constitution drafted by a leading Paris banker, Perregaux.
      • Although at first an independent corporation, in 1803 it was given the monopoly of issuing bank-notes.
      • Hayes writes about it, “It is one of the soundest financial institutions in the world.
    • Tax Collection made efficient:
      • The system of collecting taxes, which the Revolution had entrusted to autonomous local authorities, was now centralized and made more efficient by Gaudin.
    • Abolition of Guild System:
      • He abolished the guild system and prohibited the merchants from making fresh guilds, because according to Napoleon Bonaparte these guilds were the centres of corruption and indiscipline.
    • Dispute settlement between merchants and labourers:
      • An Industrial Committee was formed by Napoleon, but the merchants had their majority in this committee.
    • He imported machines from Britain and America for the rapid industrialisation of France. More than 299 roads were constructed to improve connectivity within France.
    • Nepaleon encouraged trade and industry.
  • Educational Reforms:
    • Napoleon’s reorganization of the education system was a big success and the level of learning improved drastically. The following schools were flourishing in France during the reign of Consuls:
    • Primary Schools:
      • These schools were under public control and the communes looked after their management through prefects and sub-prefects, but the state had no control over them.
    • Grammar Schools:
      • The Secondary or the Grammar Schools were under the supervision of the Central Government; and Latin, Greek and French were taught in these schools.
    • High Schools:
      • They were meant for higher education. They were established in big towns, and the courses in these schools were decided by the government and appointments of the teachers were also made the government.
    • Vocational Schools:
      • Vocational schools were established vocational training, and military schools(“Lycee”) were also opened to provide military training to the students. A Normal School was also started the training of the teachers.
    • Teacher training:
      • The Ecole Normale Superieure (estd 1794) was set up with the sole purpose of training teachers.
      • Teachers were rewarded for finding and promoting students with ‘special’ talents as Napoleon felt it was more important to focus on them so that France would be equipped with intelligent and qualified leader.
  • Socio- Cultural Reforms:
    • He proclaimed social equality for all the Frenchmen and this ensured most important gain of French Revolution.
    • Policy of conciliation:
      • He sought to enlist the sympathy of every section of the community by doing away with all party distinctions.
      • The emigres and the non-juring clergy were sympathetically treated and offices were thrown open to all including the royalists and Girondists provided they would acquiesce in. the existing system.
      • Reconciliation with the Church (Concordat):
        • Napoleon found that the Civil Constitution of the Clergy had alienated a considerable section of the people. He sought to win their gratitude by restoring the Roman Catholic Church.
        • He came to an agreement with the Pope in 1801, known as the Concordat. By it Catholicism was recognised as the “religion of the great majority of the French people” and the right of public worship was granted to the Catholic Church.
        • The Pope accepted the right to religious freedom for all the citizens and secularization of public life.
        • The Pope concurred in the confiscation of the property of the Church, and the State in return assumed the maintenance of the clergy.
        • The bishops were to be nominated by the State but invested by the Pope, and they must take the oath of fidelity to the government.
        • Thus the Catholic Church was re-established though not in its pro revolutionary power. It wes made dependent on the State.
        • This measure heeled the schism in the Church and thus gave great satisfaction to the mass of the population which became readily reconciled to Napoleon’ e ascendancy.
        • Napoleon thus made a political use of religion. Though he re-established Catholicism he allowed complete religious toleration to all sects.
    • Napoleon also created a new aristocracy of merit by instituting the Legion of Honour. This satisfied the French love of glory. He thus created e new aristocracy faithful to him.
  • Politico-Administrative Reforms
    • Napoleon created a “Modern State” in France based on the principles of equality, rule of law and secularism. The principle of merit was adopted for appointments under the state.
    • Napoleon promoted Fraternity to heal the wounds of France. Emigres were allowed to come back to France without fear of persecution.
    • Central Secretariat was created to manage the affairs of state . A new civil service known as Auditeur was created to run the administration.
    • Centralisation of Local Government:
      • He reduced the elected councils to impotance and placed the “Departments’ and smaller administrative units, such as arrondisements and communes, in the hands of prefects, sub-prefects and mayors who were all appointed either directly or indirectly by himself.
      • This system restored order but ignored the ideas of self-government.
    • Napoleonic Code of 1804:
      • Napoleon’ a great achievement in the work of internal reconstruction was the Civil Code known es the Code Napoleon. Once Napoleon had said: “My true glory is not to have won 40 battles…Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories…but…what will live forever, is my Civil Code.
      • Pre-revolutionary France has been governed by a perplexing variety and number of laws (and often contradictory). In fact, the French philosopher Voltaire stated that a man traveling across France changes laws as often as he changed horses.
      • Napoleon saw this as a big problem and became determined to unify France under one single set of clearly written laws in a clear and logical format for which he brought out Code Napoleon in 1804.
      • The enormously complex task of codifying French law was completed. The synthesis, which was eventually embodied in the 2,287 articles of the Napoleonic Code of 1804, was itself made possible by Bonaparte’s readiness to employ men of talent whatever their past.
      • The Napoleon Civil Code gave post-revolutionary France its first coherent set of laws concerning property, colonial affairs, the family, and individual rights.
      • The Code included rights such as the freedom of speech, public trials, freedom to worship, and freedom to select one’s own occupation.
      • The Code also forbade privileges based on birth and specified that government jobs go to only the most qualified.
      • It established social equality in the eyes of law, secured religious toleration to all and perpetuated much of the social gains that had been won by the Revolution.
      • Though the Code also contained the elements of the Roman law of ancient France as it respected the old tradition of family discipline, private ownership of property envisaged in Roman law.
        • On the Council of State former revolutionaries like Theophile Berlier and Antoine Thibaudeau upheld the claims of customary law, while former royalist jurists like Jean Portalis upheld the claims of Roman law.
      • Napoleon’s famous Code gave to France a common system of law, at once clear, orderly and systematic and thereby made justice more rapid, cheap and reliable.
      • The influence of that Civil Code can be seen in the fact that most of the territories occupied by him, have adopted it, even after his defeat at Waterloo.
        • This code in a way, accelerated the process of ending the feudalism in Western and Central Europe and that laid the foundation for a modern nation state.
        • Napoleonic Code, has influenced the legal systems of more than 70 nations around the world.
        • The Code was adopted throughout much of Europe and remained in force after Napoleon’s defeat.
        • The Napoleonic Code has served as the model for more than twenty civil code countries (as opposed to common law countries) such as Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Latin America and others.
        • Today, the Napoleonic Code continues to influence the lives of ordinary people in nearly all parts of the world. Napoleon was right. His legacy did not turn out to be any particular military victory, but rather his vision to create a clear and logical single set of laws that fairly applied to everyone.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Apart from all these institutional reforms of the Consulate, it achieved much that was more silent and constructive. Bonaparte disciplined France and established order.
    • Brigandage was stopped. Life and property were made secure. The Consulate began a healing process in French life, and built a framework of public order and more efficient government within which the energies and genius of the French people could again labour fruitfully.

“The spirit behind the great reforms of Napoleon’s Consulate at home was the transference of the
methods of Bonaparte the general to the task of Bonaparte the statesman”.

  • This is a statement by Historian David Thomson in his book “Europe Since Napoleon”. David Thomson observes that between 1800 and 1803 A.D., Napoleon as First Consul devoted his energies mainly to the internal reorganisation of France.
  • Transference of the methods of Bonaparte the general to the task of Bonaparte the statesman
    • Swift decision and action:
      • He brought to the task of reorganisation the qualities of swift decision and action, the same precision and concentration upon essentials which had already brought him success in war.
      • Bonaparte provided the concentrated drive that got things done.
    • Enlisting in service the ablest men:
      • As in war, he was able to enlist in his service a band of men imbued with the same spirit and devoted to the same ends.
      • He used the ablest men regardless of their past loyalties, ranging from former servants of the monarchy such as the financial bureaucrat Martin Gaudin to former regicide members of the Committee of Public Safety such as the administrator Jean Bon Saint- Andre. He was the architect, they the technicians.
  • Napoleon’s over-all purpose was a systematic reconstruction of the main legal, financial, and administrative institutions of France, which gives Bonaparte a strong claim to be the last and greatest of the eighteenth- century benevolent despots.
  • If the conquests of Napoleon, the General were ephemeral in nature, the civilian work of Napoleon , the Statesman was built on granite. These reforms left a lasting mark on the institutions of France and of much of western Europe and due to this he is considered as the “Architect of Modern Europe”.

Significance of the Consulate

  • The work oi the Consulate was an honest and successful attempt to secure to the French people the fruits of the Revolution by reducing the ideas of 1789 to a system of law.
  • The Civil Code abolished all traces of aristocratic privileges and established equality in the eyes of law.
  • By the Concordat the Pope recognised the new land system of France which rested on the revolutionary sale of Church property.
    • Thus the peasant was secured in the possession of what he had got by the Revolution.
    • The Concordat further healed the ecclesiastical discord which was a source of the weakness of the Revolution.
  • Hence, feudalism, privilege and all the social anomalies for the abolition of which the French people had made violent efforts in the pest, were all removed and the Consulate confirmed the revolutionary changes which had been effected in the social and economic life of France.
  • But in politics the Consulate showed a reaction towards the centralised despotism of the Bourbons.

An Estimate of Napoleon’s Statesmanship

  • Napoleon restored peace and order by healing the wounds of the Revolution:
    • Napoleon’s domestic measures amounted to a wholesale reconstruction of France. They constitute his best claim to statesmanship and bear eloquent testimony to his administrative genius which was nearly as high as his military abilities.
    • Religion, government, legal justice, education, all came within his comprehensive scheme of reform.
    • Being raised above the strife of factions he could see the needs of the country as a whole, and he brought rare insight and detachment to the work of reconstruction and pacification.
    • In all that he did, his primary object was to restore order, confidence and respect for authority.
    • His financial measures coupled with the establishment of the Bank of France did much to restore financial confidence.
    • Social confidence was restored by the repeal of the decrees against emigres as well as other tyrannical laws of the Jacobins.
    • Ecclesiastical tranquility was restored by the famous Concordat which healed the schism in the church.
    • Thus he purged the Revolution of its excess and conciliated section of the people so that they became reconciled with the new order. His monumental Civil Code established civil equality and religious toleration.
    • He threw careers open to talent and thus removed all trace of aristocratic privilege.
    • The whole system of education was recognised and higher study and search, specially in physical science, was encouraged.
    • Hence, he consolidated the Revolution by securing to the people its more valued fruits. Thus he proved himself to be one of the greatest social reformers. Hence it has been very aptly remarked: “I the conquests of Napoleon were ephemeral, his civilian work in France was built upon granite.”
  • How far Napoleon was true to his Revolution:
    • In this work of reorganising the institutions of France, “Napoleon showed himself at once the heir of the Revolution and the product of the reaction against it.”
    • Of the cardinal principles of the Revolution, he was undisguisedly opposed to ‘liberty; but he adopted the principle of “equality” in Social and fiscal matters. Thus his remark: “I am the Revolution” is only partially true.
    • His reforms were in accordance with the principles of the Revolution in so far as equality was concerned.
      • His famous Civil Code enshrined that idea.
      • He showed no partiality and had no favourities. All shared in bearing the nation’s burden in proportion to their ability and all had equal chance of holding public offices.
      • By throwing careers open to talent he secured to all equal opportunities and thus ignored any privileged class. Thus the social basis of France remained revolutionary.
    • But Napoleon did not respect political liberty the grand idea of the Revolution.
      • He thought of liberty as a disturbing factor that prevented the efficiency of a state.
      • Hence he allowed neither liberty of speech nor liberty of the press.
      • He deprived the “Departments” of all powers of self-government and emphasised a reaction towards the old system of “independents” by a law which imposed a prefect and a sub-prefect on every department. These officers were appointed by the central executive power at Paris, that is, virtually by Napoleon himself. Thus the principle of election was subordinated to that of selection.
      • By centralising the administration and making it more efficient he did much to organise the ancient regime. In this respect he may be looked upon as the ”destroyer” of the Revolution.
    • The vigorous impulse given to useful and splendid public works, the attempt at the restoration of the colonial empire lost by Louis XV, the centralisation of rule and the restriction of political liberty- all these marked a return to the method of Louis XIV and Colbert.
    • Again, the Revolution had accepted the principle of nationality, but Napoleon showed himself strongly anti-national in his dealings with foreign countries, specially Germany and Spain.

Napoleon Proclaimed as Emperor

  • Napoleon once said, “I found the crown of France lying on the ground and I picked it up with my sword.”
    • The given statement by Napoleon tells about the ease with which he captured the power in France due to the conductive circumstances in France along with his individual talent. He owed his triumph rather to chance than to any clear plan.
    • French people had been subject to so many experiments that the ultimate goal of the Revolution became dim. Public opinion was tired of political agitation, tired of endless elections, tired of disorders, which had throttled the nation’s economic life.
      • They wanted stable government that would give order and security.
      • Napoleon had already provided himself to be an able general and hence France turned to Bonaparte. It was hope that made the Revolution and it was despair that led it at the feet of Napoleon.
    • Napoleon was the most acceptable man.
      • He combined in him love for order and authority as a soldier and a hatred for the ancien regime as an offspring of the Revolution.
      • It was believed that Napoleon as a ruler would protect the valued fruits of the revolutionary reforms in land, taxation and justice.
      • His power and strength were guarantee that the emigres and the nobility would never recover their lands and privileges.
      • On the other hand, the moderates found in him a safeguard against radicalism as he was averse to extremities (like Jacobins’ Reign of Terror ehich made moderates despaired of Revolution) committed during revolution.
    • Rotten state of the Directory provided the opportunity for Napoleon.
      • Faulted on many counts, the Constitution of 1795 lacked effectiveness.
      • The power of the common people and the aristocracy had not been recognized under the rule of the Directory which was in fact characterized by political uncertainty clue to: \
        • constitutional weaknesses and limitation,
        • the incompetence and inefficiency of the Directors.
      • According to David Thomson they [the directors] presided over the final liquidation of the Revolution.
      • Equally, the Directory was preceded by a steep rise in prices of commodities and the Directors could neither contain the price spiral nor restore internal order.
      • This led to growing popular discontent against the Directory and the Directors owed their continued existence to the army.
      • Napoleon could never have smooth success to power if Directory had not been in such rotten condition. Its corruption, jobbery, plots and useless theorizing had tired the nation.
    • France had already been engaged in war with Sardinia, Austria and England when the Directory came to power.
      • During this time, Napoleon Bonaparte was the commander-in-chief of the French army and was fighting Austria and Sardinia.
      • He came out victorious in the war due to his spectacular military tactics and besides spreading French influence from 1796, he defeated the Austrian army. Despite his abortive expedition to Egypt people gave him to hero’s welcome.
    • The rule of the Directory failed to deal with the internal problems adequately, but its success in foreign affairs was due to the military genius of Napoleon.
      • The failure of the Directory to deal with internal disorder and the misrule of the Directory causing popular resentment encouraged the people to find a saviour in Napoleon.
      • Taking full advantage of his new position, Bonaparte with the help of Abbe Sieyes, forcibly engineered the fall of the Directory, formed the Consulate and captured power in France in 1799.
    • Under the Consulate, power was invested in three Consuls but Napoleon, as the First Consul, was all-powerful. He was appointed Consul for life following a national plebiscite. In 1804, Napoleon declared himself to be the Emperor of France.
  • Ever since his brilliant successes in the Italian campaigns Napoleon had so fashioned his conduct as to make himself the most powerful man in the State.
  • The following are the steps by which he made himself Emperor of the French.
    • His appointment as the First Consul placed the supreme executive power in his hands.
    • The reforms he introduced further strengthened his position by enabling him to conciliate all hostile elements. A considerable portion of the people became reconciled to his paramount position.
    • The Legion of Honour he instituted formed the basis of a new aristocracy dependent upon him. This was a distinct advance in the direction of imperialism.
    • In 1802, he had himself elected consul for life. This step made him the absolute ruler of France and brought him within view of the throne.
    • Lastly, taking advantage of a royalist plot against his life which was hatched by some generals, he revenged on the royalists by executing the representative of the Bourbons. The conspiracies against his life served to emphasise his pre-eminence and Napoleon dropped the last pretence of Republicanism and had proclaimed Emperor of the French in May, 1804. A popular vote of plebiscite ratified this change of Constitution.

Reasons why France submitted to the monarchical rule of Napoleon

  • It looks like a paradox that France after having destroyed the Bourbon monarchy, should revert to hereditary absolutism and surrender her political liberty at the feet of Napoleon. But the paradox can easily be explained.
  • The French people were tired of the series of vicissitudes of fortune through which they had recently passed.
    • They were sick of the whirligig of political experiments none of which could give them peace and security.
    • After ten years of war and revolution they desired nothing so much as peace and stable government.
    • They clearly saw that only a soldiers sword could cut France free from the entanglements of faction and establish an era of ordered progress.
    • Hence they turned with a sense of relief to Napoleon who, they thought, was the only man who could restore discipline and respect for authority, which none of the previous goverments could do.
  • Besides Napoleon was the product of the Revolution and so his power was a Guarantee that aristocratic privileges would not be restored and that the people would remain in secure possession of the lands they had acquired as the result of revolutionary arrangements.
  • As a matter of fact Napoleon did protect the more valued fruits of the Revolution and thus reconciled the French people to his rule.
  • In this connection it should be noted that French Revolution was motivated more by social wrongs and economic injustice than by political grievances. Hence when Napoleon ensured equality in the sense of equal opportunity, the French people did not grudge the lose of their liberty.
  • Also, we should take into account the magnetic personality of Napoleon and his astounding victories. The French people loved nothing more than Glory and they had their feel of it under Napoleons rule.

How did Napoleon fuse the French of the ancient regime with the France of the Post-Revolutionary era?
Ans:

  • Napoleonic rule saw comprehensive reforms which included religion, governance, legal justice, education etc. These reforms preserved several ideas of post-Revolutionary France but at the same time they also contained elements of ancient regime i.e. pre-Revolutionary France. Napoleon showed himself at once the heir of the Revolution as well as the product of the reaction against it.
  • Principles of liberty, equality and fraternity
    • Of the three basic ideas of the French Revolution- “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”- Napoleon adopted “Equality” and ‘Fraternity’ but rejected “Liberty”.
      • His reforms were in accordance with the principles of the Revolution in so far as equality is concerned. He adopted the principle of “equality” in social and fiscal matters.
      • His famous Civil Code enshrined that idea. He showed no partiality and no favourites. All shared in bearing the nation’s burden in proportion to their ability and all had equal chance of holding public offices.
      • By throwing “careers open to talent” he secured to all equal opportunities and thus ignored any privileged class. Thus social and fiscal basis of France remained Revolutionary.
    • Napoleon did not respect political liberty, the grand idea of the Revolution. He thought liberty as a disturbing factor that prevented the efficiency of a state. Hence he reverted to many systems of ancient regime, for example:
      • He, like King Louis, and unlike the Revolution, allowed neither liberty of speech nor liberty of the press.
      • He deprived the “Departments” of all powers of self-government and emphasised a reaction towards the old system of “intendants” by a law which imposed a prefect and a sub-prefect on every department. These officers were appointed virtually by Napoleon himself. Thus the principle of election was subordinated to that of selection.
      • Though the Prison and Courts system was ‘officially’ different, in that one could no longer be put in prison without charge and everyone was equal in the courts, nobles did not have special rights any more, but there were several shortfalls. Napoleon had a secret police force, which from 1810 could arrest people without trial.
  • Governance
    • Before Revolution in 1789, King Louis had absolute power, and could not be removed. There was no functional National Assembly (or Parliament) and there were no elections, so people did not have a say in who was in power in France.
    • The Revolution brought changes. There was no single ruler of France, and a National Assembly was elected by voters (all men). The Assembly made all the laws, which meant that many new laws were introduced.
    • Under Napoleon, more changes were introduced. Napoleon became Emperor of France, and could not be removed from power.
      • There were two National Assemblies, with members chosen by Napoleon from candidates elected by the people. All men could vote, but after 1804, there were no elections.
    • The administration decisions of France made by the Constitution of 1791 was retained but the power vested in the local elective bodies by the same constitution were now abolished.
      • These powers were now vested in local officers, prefects, sub-prefects and mayors They were appointed directly by Napoleon. The principle of election was replaced by that of appointment or selection.
  • The Catholic Church
    • During the Revolution, the land owned by the Catholic Church was sold off and any religion was permitted (only Catholicism was practised in the ‘Ancien Regime’).
    • In 1802, Napoleon made an agreement with the Pope called the Concordat in which the Pope agreed that the Church would not get its land back and in return, Catholicism was accepted as the religion of the majority.
    • Also, it was agreed that Bishops were to be chosen by Napoleon and agreed by the Pope. This meant that the government now had greater control over the Church.
    • Napoleon said: “The People must have religion, and religion must be in the hands of the government.”
  • Principle of nationality
    • The Revolution had accepted the principle of nationality, but Napoleon showed himself anti-national in several occasions like in his dealing with foreign countries, specially Germany and Spain where he expanded his family rule. At the same time, he tried to maintain the glory of France.
  • Changes to education
    • In the ancient regime (pre-revolutionary era), only the privileged went to schools, which were run by The Church. Pupils were taught respect for elders and religion.
    • The Revolution brought some change. Revolutionaries proclaimed that school was for everyone, and state schools were even proposed. The Aim was to encourage pupils to investigate and question.
    • Under Napoleon, the education system in France fused elements of both pre-revolutionary system and post0revolutioary France.
      • 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 1789.
      • Science and maths became more important subjects in secondary schools.
    • Several other elements of education system were of ancient regime.
      • Loyalty to the need of the state and respect for the catholic church were included in the curriculum of the studies.
      • Napoleon regressively considered that public education does not suit women and marriage is their whole estimation. He did not regard women as equal to men.
  • Changes in Justice System
    • Napoleon brought out Code Napoleon in 1804 which contained civil code, criminal code and commercial code. It was a synthesis between the liberal customer and natural laws propounded during the Revolution and the Roman law of ancient France.
    • On the one hand it preserved the valued fruits of the Revolution like social equality, tolerance, equality in inheritance, individual liberty etc., on the other hand it respected the old tradition of family discipline, private ownership of property envisaged in Roman law.
    • The system of election of judges introduced in 1791 was abolished and now they were appointed by Napoleon.
  • Modernisation of France
    • The vigorous impulse given to useful and splendid public works, the attempt at the restoration of the colonial empire lost by Louis XV – all these marked a return to the method of Louis XIV and Colbert during ancient regime.
    • At the same time, he established modern institutions like Bank of France, Stock Exchange of France, which showed the path to the post-revolution modern France.
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