Did Napoleon Bonaparte I, Emperor of France, hinder, maintain, or in fact ‘further’ the aims of the revolution?, this is a question in which many historians argue about and can come to no definitive answer.
First of all, in an economic sense, Napoleon definitely followed some of the earlier revolutionary principles in his reform of the nation. Napoleon introduced limits on grain exports (due to poor harvests) in 1811 and placed price limits on bread and grain in 1812, much like the revolutionary governments such as ‘The Assembly’ and ‘The Convention’. Napoleon also strengthened France’s finances with a currency reform, helping to stabilise the currency itself. France’s finances were further helped by Napoleons introduction of the Bank of France in 1803 along with the goods and money France got from plundering nations which were defeated by France. During Napoleons rule as Emperor, France were financially ‘better-off’ than it ever was under King Louis XVI, The Assembly, Convention or the Directory, this no-doubt helped the poorer people of France. But, it can be said that France was no longer very well off by the end of Napoleon’s regime and quite unstable. However, there were also reforms under Napoleon which ‘went against’ revolutionary principles. Indirect taxes were raised by a much higher proportion than taxes such as the ‘land tax’ (which would affect the more wealthy men). Taxation became unequal which made it harder on the poorer peasants and workers. For example taxes on tobacco, playing cards and alcohol rose by 50% from 1804 to 1814. Ironically the revolution was started by anger over high taxes under the Ancien Regime. What must be most alarming however was the (re)introduction of a salt tax in 1806, resembling the Ancien Regime’s gabelle, which the revolutionaries