Napoleon Domestic Policy

Napoleon Domestic Policy

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  • Created by: cat1232
  • Created on: 30-04-12 20:44


  • Born in Corsica and attended École Militaire in Paris
  • Supported revolution and connected to Robespierre
  • Gained fame throught wars and Italian campaign
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Rise to Power


  • Egypt- welcomed back - Lucien (brother) president of 500
  • Sieyés wanted army support changes to constitution - needed napoleon
  • Napoleon modification - coup form three consuls and new constitution
  • 18th Brumaire- ancients to Saint-Cloud
  • Napoleon spoke to ancients and then 500 -attacked- passed law of brumaire
  • Paris indiferent 

Constitution of year VIII

  • Napoleon 1st consul- real power, made laws, control officials, decide FP
  • Two revolutionary colleagues
  • Consuls-senate-tribunate-legislature-conseil d'état
  • 6 million voted for approved candidates
  • !800 plebiscite showed support
  • 1802- system to complex- abandoned- first consul for life
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Rise to power continued


  • Needed support of biens nationaux buyers to prevent royalist reaction- made right to vote dependant on tax and secured lands
  • Plebiscite showed support for first consul for life


  • Still royalist threat and 1804 assassination attempt
  • Senate decreed Napoleon should be declared Emperor of the French- approved by plebiscite
  • Crowned self and wife in Notre Dame


  • Restore order after revolution
  • Dominate europe
  • Improve economy while restricting middle and lower classes but not far
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Administrative Reforms

Local government - General Police

  • Joseph Fouché -minister of police
  • Paris- monitor public opinion and food prices, imposed censorship and spies
  • Daily reports to Napoleon (also had secret police)


  • Elected by Napoleon to each departement
  • duties- collected tax, prices/supply of food, appointed mayors and councils
  • Ensured loyalty, propaganda and government orders


  • Not elected- appointed by government and closely supervised
  • New punishments- hard labour, loss of right hand, branding (+prisons)
  • New courts- military courts and tribunals for political offenders
  • 1810- system of imprisonment without trial reintroduced (never used)
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Religious Policy

Wanted to create stabiltiy, gratitude, unity, support of nobility.


  • Signed 15th July 1801- rejoining of church and state- against revolution
  • Clergy had to swear oath to state
  • Published April 1802 alongside 'Organic Articles'

Organic Articles

  • Increased state control and toleration of jews and protestants
  • No papal legislation could be established in france without approval

After effects

  • 1806- Napleon standardised and created new catechisms for schools
  • clergy observed by prefects and police
  • 16th august- St Napoleon Day
  • Propaganda- Christian Duty to obey napoleon
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Finance and the economy

Helped by good harvests, victories, new imports etc.


  • 1800- treasury reorganised and more complete tax register.
  • New panel of tax collectors, supervised by prefects
  • Land taxes not raised to ensure bourgeoisie support
  • Expenditure and income carefully recorded
  • New indirect taxes on consumer goods and custom duties increased

Circulation of money

  • Jan 1800- Bank of France founded- money supply and government bonds
  • New coinage 1803 - helped stabalise currency
  • by 1802- budget balanced
  • After 1806- wars started becoming too expensive
  • by 1810- france in debt again and 1811 bad harvest worsened- lost support
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Finance and the economy continued

Continental System

  • more in FP
  • Attempted to stimulate economy by creating new market for french goods
  • Failed as france and continent needed french goods
  • some parts of france benefitted

Economic reform overall

  • experienced limited growth
  • poor communication
  • pre-industrial technology
  • war did help stimulate but still behind Britain
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Social Change

The Legion of Honour (Ensured support)

  • 1802- established legion of honour to reward service and loyalty
  • No financial benefit

New titles for imperial court (Ensured support)

  • After 1804
  • had financial rewards and higher ranks gained land in europe
  • from 1808- developed into heirarchy of nobility- princes etc
  • titles were hereditary
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Social Change- Education

  • Wanted to maintain meritocracy and improve this
  • Believed education provided workers and unity
  • policies favoured upper classes- lower birth found education impossible

Secondary Education

  • New schools 1802 (mainly for sons of nobility)- no provision for girls


  • Controllled- subjects and military loyalty/values
  • Imperial university (ministry of education) founded 1803- appointed teachers, controlled curriculuma and staff had to swear oath of loyalty

Education for common people by church and communiy (neglected by napoleon)

Didnt allow freedom of thought, people unhappy, preferred private schools (rich) and failed to provide equality.

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Social Change- Censorship and Propaganda

  • Controlled newspapers, books, art, plays etc
  • Believed freedom of press dangerous
  • 1810- provincial papers down to one per departement
  • Could only report official news as in military journals
  • Publishers needed a licence and oath of loyalty
  • some encouraged for positive portrayal of napoleon -arc de triumph (1809)
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Social Change- Civil code

  • basis of legal system
  • published 1804
  • founded on work of previous governments
  • restrated 1790s change- feudal equality, guanenteed rights, confirmed rights to biens nationaux and reinforced male rights.
  • Men could imprison wives or disobedient family members- divorce also harder
  • Allowed slavery in colonies
  • All workmmen needed a livret- no longer free agents
  • Rudé- most impressive legislation
  • restrictive on women- lack of equality

Followed by- civil code on procedure, commercial code, code on criminal procedure 

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Furet- Napoleon 'heir of the revolution' - revolution had been blown off course after convention- napoleon continued this

Soboul- Napoleon essentially belonged to the line of revolutionary heritage.

W.Doyle- Napoleon tamed and harnessed energies unleashed by revolution

Another interpretation- Likened to enlightened depsot- ruling for benefit of people, religious toleration, equality etc

Likened to Louis XVI- created nobility and gained support of catholic church

  • Unified french law and centralised government
  • Provded efficient beurocracy and permanent institutions
  • Full benefit not seen in short term but laid foundations
  • Other effects not long lasting due to war
  • Strong chain of command allowed Napoleon to stay in control while at war
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