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

1989 Words Oct 6th, 2008 8 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
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This is in some ways true, however it must be noted that the Concordat was made on France’s terms; the church lands were not restored, Napoleon retained the right to appoint bishops and the clergy were still responsible to the state (and still under oath) and Napoleon allowed for equal rights for Protestants and Jews, these definitely maintain the revolutionary aims. It is argued that Napoleon only the Concordat to help provide stability and direction to the nation, rather than ‘re-christianizing’ France. Also, the majority of the people wanted Catholicism to be recognized as the religion of the people. However, it can be argued that the idea of dechristianization was not a true revolutionary aim, but an objective of a small faction of the revolutionaries, the Sans-Culottes.
The concordat did increase the power and influence of the Pope (Pius VII) and the clergy, something which the likes of Robespierre and The Convention tried hard to decrease. On the whole, the Concordat with the church didn’t do too much to harm the revolutionary aims. Napoleon’s thoughts and ideas were clear when on his coronation in 1804 held in the Notre Dame Cathedral in which the Pope attended, Napoleon himself, and not the Pope placed his crown upon his head and on Empress Josephine. This is very much ‘in line’ with Robespierre’s ideas that he was ‘Godly’ or chosen by God.

Napoleons thoughts and claims on the revolutionary theory of being

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