How Far Did Napoleon Maintain the Ideals of the French Revolution?

926 WordsNov 5, 20124 Pages
Napoleon managed to maintain the lesser ideals of the French Revolution. However, he managed to do this by giving all of the former ideals a ‘twist’ of his own if he was displeased by them. This included the fact that he re-wrote the constitution that had previously been written; he partially reversed the relationship with the Church, turning France into a Catholic country. It can also be stated that the way he gained power was against the French Revolution’s ideals: and this was the very beginning! On the other hand, Napoleon managed to maintain equal taxation, which had previously been a big issue, especially for the poor. Distinction was removed and there were no privileges for any parties neither was there a way to ‘sneak out’ of…show more content…
Napoleon also claimed there was ‘freedom of speech’: this was not true. Napoleon made sure that all newspapers wrote news he approved of: he censored all press and made sure that everything delivered was official propaganda. He reduced the amount of political journals published from 73 to 9 and made it clear there were to be no new ones. All articles were written by Napoleon himself or one of his ministers. On top of that, more than half of the printing-presses were shut down and remaining publishers were forced to take an oath declaring loyalty to the government. This again points to the fact that Napoleon centralised his reign and made sure that the legislature had little to no power. The fact that Napoleon re-wrote the constitution that had previously been written-up shows that he made sure of the fact that the legislature was much less powerful: in the Constitution Napoleon wrote effectively gave him all power: this caused some people to believe the end of the French Revolution had arrived. However, Napoleon partially copied the previous constitution. "All the citizens, being equal in the eyes of the law, are equally admissible to all public dignities, places, and employments, according to their capacity and without distinction other than that of their virtues and of their talents" – a quote from the Declaration of Rights of Man. Napoleon often declared his belief in ‘equal opportunities for all’ but as far as education was concerned,
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