Napoleon Bonaparte’s Rise to Power

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Napoleon’s Youth Corsica is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, closer to Italy then France. It was governed by Genoa, which was a port in Italy, then local revolutionaries to over. I was later taken by France on 1768 with the Treaty of Versailles. Napoleon was born to a noble family, however, after he was born, the family lost their money. Napoleon was good at math, so he had a special in artillery in the army.

Napoleon during the revolution Napoleon remained loyal to the army no matter who the leader was.

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After Britain sent counter revolutionaries to Toulon, Napoleon (even though he was junior officer) sent his artillery troops. Because of this, Napoleon defended the port. Napoleon was close to the Jacobins, and arrested when Robespierre was executed. He was quickly released from prison by the Directory because of his military skill. Napoleon went to Italy to start his campaign. The Treaty of Campo Formio (1797) let France have power in Italy, and it gave them money for the treasury. Napoleon wanted to take control of Egypt because it would cause Britain to lose a trade route with India. This was a failure. The British Admiral Horatio Nelson beat the French at the Battle of the Nile. Because of propaganda, Napoleon came back a hero anyway.

The coup of 1799 In 1799, the Directory was accused of corruption, and they lost support because they failed in a lot of foreign campaigns. Support grew for a monarchy again because they just wanted the government to be stable. There was a lot of tension, and Napoleon saw this chance and made a name for himself. He took down the coup of 18 Brumaire. After the coup, director Sieyes started to limit the power of the Council of Five Hundred. He did this because the Council of Five Hundred was causing France to lose the wars, however, the people still supported it. They thought that its democratic nature supported the ideas of the revl. Napoleon and his brother Lucien broke up the council by force. The Directory was replaced by the Consulate. Napoleon was meant to be the first consul, Sieyes would also be a consul, however, would have less power.

Napoleon’s domestic aims 1799-1804

Napoleon as first consul

Napoleon didn’t have an ideology like Hitler or Lenin of Russia, he just adopted the ideas that would create order and efficiency. This often had a lot of contradictions. Napoleon said that he ruled based on what the people wanted, however, he justified his ideas based on the will of God, or divine right.

The Napoleonic Code

France’s government system was split and broken, so Napoleon decided to fix that. The South follow the Roman law. The North tended to follow a customary law which was created according to local practices. Napoleon asked the Council of State to make a new set of laws for all of France to follow. Napoleon used both royalists and revolutionaries as long as they were proficient. They created the Civil Code of 1804 (Napoleonic Code) which was a common set of laws which everyone must follow. With this, some things from the revolution stayed:

  • Everyone was equal under law.
  • Feudal practices were abolished.

Social and economic changes

Women went back to having no rights

The only one they kept from the revl was that they could be divorced, however, the man still had more rights when it came to this. They also couldn’t make legal contracts and had to obey their husband. Before 1789, France had tax farmers who would collect taxes, however, they were very disliked because they would keep the money for themselves. Napoleon decided to make his officials collect taxes from now on, and they were called the prefects. Napoleon also banned the Le Chapelier law (1791) which made unions and strikes illegal. After the revol, there were 4 banks that were added to France. The France government-backed the Bank of France (founded in 1800). It was run Jean Frederic Perregaux who was Swiss.

Religion under Napoleon

Napoleon recognized the importance of the church, so he made a deal with Pope Pius VII. On 1801, he made the concordat (an official agreement) where he acknowledged Roman Catholicism in France, but in return, he got to choose who became a bishop. This meant that Napoleon controlled the bishops, and the bishops controlled the clergy. People like the Huguenots and the Jews were able to do their own thing too.

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Napoleon Bonaparte’s Rise to Power. (2020, Mar 11). Retrieved from