Napoleon Bonaparte: Preserver of the French Revolution

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Napoleon Bonaparte was a military and political leader of France during the late 18th and early 19th Centuries. He was able to gain power in a short amount of time and eventually became a very influential dictator. In many ways, Napoleon could have been considered a tyrant of the time period; however, it can also be looked at in another way. Napoleon Bonaparte could be considered a preserver of the French Revolution through the creation of the Napoleonic Code, the Concordat of 1801, and the establishment of the Bank of France.

In 1804, Napoleon installed a civil code in France known as the Napoleonic Code. This code had a huge influence on France. It established the right to choose one’s profession, equality before the law, and freedom of religion. Unlike previous laws, this code was uniform throughout the country. The Code reaffirmed the right of all adult males to vote as well as the sanctity of private property. Through the Napoleonic Code, Napoleon encouraged nationalism and national self-determination. Not only did this code benefit the country of France, but it also influenced the law of many other countries. During and after the Napoleonic Wars, many of the countries involved adopted some of the aspects of the Napoleonic Code. Some of these countries include Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Poland. This code is also still the basis of the French legal system today.

In 1801, Napoleon negotiated an agreement with Pope Pius VII which became known as the Concordat of 1801. The Concordat recognized Catholicism as the national religion of France, but Napoleon would not force this religion on the people of France. Instead, he still allowed for the total freedom of worship. Also, the clergy, which included the bishops and the parish priests, became employees of the state. Napoleon was able to firmly assert religious tolerance in France through the Concordat of 1801 because it did not force Catholicism on the people of France. Other...
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