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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Napoleonic France sept 17.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Vasilis Dimitriadis

Lecture 3 - Napoleonic France Tuesday, September 17, 2013 11:39 PM  Napoleon was an opportunistic individual. He was born in Corsica. The minute the revolution began, he flew back to Corsica and attempted to start a revolution there. He saw another noble had already done this and left and offered his forces to the French revolutionaries.  In Toulon-Paris , Napoleon demonstrated his expertise and defeated the British and loyalist control in the Southern region.  Coup D’etat (1799) was pulled off and allowed Napoleon to create the Consulate and label himself as an everlasting Consulate. He also went further on to crown himself as Emperor Bonaparte (May 1804).   He also created the conditions for the French state. He declared “I Am the Revolution.” He also looked towards the Centralization of the state. In addition he also allowed for plebiscites (a popular vote). This is a façade of a democracy, allowing the people to think that they have an input in the political system. However, they essentially have no input to create any type of policy. Furthermore, this was to give advantages to the Bourgeoisie and the Peasantry. He also established the Bank of France as he needed a stable and working economy. For the peasantry, he promised from the beginning that feudalism would never be brought back.   The Revolution itself and the main three slogans of the French Revolution Liberte, Egalite and Fraternite.   Liberte:  Whatever liberty the French revolution brought, Napoleon destroyed. He reestablished a censorship. Within one year after he became first console, he prohibited over sixty newspapers and by the end of his reign only four papers remained free. This was against the freedom of expression guarantee in the second article of the revolution.  During the revolution, the departments prefects had been elected, but with Napoleon in power he promoted them on his own preferences.  Early on he recognized the importance of education, setting up an education system for France whereby the entire curriculum was based on France. The entire purpose of the school was to serve the state and also to indoctrinate the people to the greatness of Napoleon.  “The University of France” was set up to censor all universities.  The Secret Police were also created to catch conspirators and eliminate every sense of political freedom. This put such great pressure on the intellectuals.   Egalite:  Napoleon did introduce meritocracy. If one was intelligent and competent, he would offer them roles in the system. He also offered those who had fled to return to France to again join France without penalties.  He opened the door for the majority of the French population.  Even in this case, what he brought thereafter undermined the democratic values of the French state.  To promote the interests of the state, he introduced the Legion of Honour (May 1802) that started awarding individuals with awards and land. He compelled society to strive for greater results.  In 1804 he created a new hereditary nobility.   Fraternite  In this aspect he did achieve great result and alleviated some of the greatest pressures present in France.  Civil War was ongoing in France with half of the state standing against the revolution due to loyalist or religious affiliation.  After taking over, Napoleon sent a letter to pope asking for a compromise, offering the presence of 25 million Catholics for a negotiated settlement. They do achieve a compromise called Concordat in 1801, allowing the church to call the shots in the French church and appoint individuals in French church.  Napoleon also made the Catholic religion the main religion in France but he also allowed religious tolerance. He allowed protestants and even the majority Jews to practice their religion.  He realized that the security of his own system would never be guaranteed if he was at odds with the church.  In addition he brought to codes, the Civil Code, that changed France and the whole world. France was governed by three different laws, Roman Laws, Noble Laws, Common Law; as such France could neve
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