How Far Did Napoleon Maintain the Aims of the French Revolution Till 1815

1983 WordsOct 20, 20088 Pages
Liberty, property, equality, fraternity, uniformity, utility, popular sovereignty; these are just some words that best describe the aims and principles of the French Revolution. 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…show more content…
For example; he established the Legion of Honour to reward loyalty and was open to all who served the state, as well as honours for other members of society. However, as it turned out the majority of the recipients were of ‘noble birth’ and most received these honours for remaining loyal and honest to Napoleon. Although Napoleon talked about equal opportunities, the rich and wealthy could abuse their rights. Notables could, for instance, buy hereditary rights and rich men could avoid conscription by paying a poorer substitute to serve. Opportunities were in fact very limited for improving status lower down the social hierarchy and entry to government posts was largely dependent on income. In this sense, Napoleon ‘talked up’ the rights to equal opportunities in France, although there were more (equal rights) than under the Ancien Régime. In terms of Politics and how France changed politically, Napoleon managed to maintain the aims of the French Revolution, as well as abuse them some of the time. The creation of the Napoleonic code (Civil Code) of 1804, in which Napoleon took a great interest in, created a law for the whole of France that incorporated the aims and principles of the French Revolution. Uniformity was achieved as Napoleon was able to combine all the overlapping systems of law into one. This code brought equality before the law and included; the abolition of feudal dues and serfdom where
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