Reforms of Napoleon

Reforms of Napoleon:

Administrative Reforms: After getting rid of wars, Napoleon paid attention to internal reforms. During ten years of revolution, the condition of France had deteriorated due to mismanagement and anarchy. It was not possible to pay attention to effective management under the pressure of political uncertainty and the complexity of foreign wars. Napoleon believed that the administration of the nation should be well-organized in conformity with the ideals of the Revolution. Napoleon himself had emphasized upon it that “My work is to keep the objectives of the Revolution steady”. He consolidated the central government and declared that “France needs equality rather than liberty”. Napoleon took great pains in establishing a strong and well-organized rule in which people enjoyed security and spent their lives in peace. Besides, he retained the prime advantages of the Revolution such as equality and the elimination of prerogatives. He made efforts to recognize the administration by means of dedication, perseverance, and honesty.

Economic Reforms: The economic condition of France had utterly deteriorated during the Revolution. There was no mechanism for the recovery of taxes. Devaluation of currency continued and agriculture and trade were going to ruin. Hence Napoleon decided to improve the economic condition of France. He stressed thriftiness. The central government was assigned the task of recovering taxes. It benefited both the government and the taxpayers. In 1800, Napoleon opened the Bank of France to establish government control over the economy, and the bank was invested with several financial rights. For the first time in France, the bank developed a system of issuing currency. In addition to it, the system of granting loans to the public was also introduced. Framers enjoyed the ownership of the pieces of land that were seized from the Church and feudal barons during the period of the Revolution and distributed among them. The vanquished states were constrained by Napoleon to bear the expenses of the French army. This gave great relief to the French public.

For the promotion of business, Napoleon paid much attention to the means of transportation. He inspired businessmen and moneylenders to augment trading business. Napoleon encouraged traders to make maximum use of new machines. Many exhibitions were organized in order to popularize the commodities and products manufactured by the French industries. The government encouraged those artisans who made things of fine quality. In order to encourage indigenous products, the import of goods from England was restricted. From the subjugated countries, France imported raw materials at cheap rates, manufactured goods from them, and exported them at high rates to earn larger profits.

Educational Reforms- Napoleon redeemed education from the dominance of the Church and put it under government control. Following the secular aspect of education, Napoleon classified education into four categories: primary, secondary, technical, and university. Primary and secondary schools were opened in every city. Prefects and vice-prefects were assigned the task of supervising educational matters. Vocational schools were started to impart vocational education. Military schools were opened to impart military training. Paris University was restructured for higher education. Napoleon himself appointed prominent teachers and officials for Paris University. For the training of teachers, he opened normal schools which are still recognized as prestigious institutions in the educational system of France. Napoleon offered scholarships to indigent, brilliant students and established a separate institute for research work. Teachers and schools had to take a pledge of loyalty to the state. Napoleon promoted literature, art, and science by starting research centers for different faculties.

Important Links:

Intellectual Enlightenment
Political Causes of the French Revolution
Economic Causes of the French Revolution
Beginning of the French Revolution
Functions of the Constituent Assembly
Unsuccessful Attempt of the Royal Family to Flee the Country
Phases of the French Revolution
Role of Philosophers in the French Revolution
Nature of the French Revolution
Correlation Between the Objectives and Achievements of the French Revolution
Do you agree that the French Revolution achieved far less than what it intended to achieve?
Importance of the French Revolution
French Revolution of 1848
The Foreign Policy of Louis Philippe
Causes of the Revolution of February 1848
Napoleon Ascendency
Consulate Rule and Constitution of 1799
The United States and the French Revolution, 1789–1799