17 Dec, 2014
Napoleon and the Revolution of France
I. Napoleon Bonaparte is seen as one of the most influential leaders of the western world. He became Emperor of France, and head of a new government. He was a celebrated tactician and renowned codifier. Throughout his reign as Emperor Napoleon made many reforms in the educational system, he revolutionized the European economy, and improved various aspects of the political scheme. Bonaparte had a lasting impact on France, Europe, and even the world of today. II. Napoleon was now ruler of France, and among the most important things to him as a ruler was the education of his people, that’s why he created a much more disciplined and formal school system.
A. The school system of France was in dire need of reform, and one very important modification was the splitting of schools, into a kind of hierarchy, dependent on the level of education required. Primary schooling was “for those that were to perform the menial tasks of society, the elements of reading, writing, and arithmetic together with the principles of religion and propaganda supporting the Napoleonic regime, were sufficient ”, whereas “the secondary schools were for those who would enter the various useful professions” (Pearce 371).
1. Napoleon obviously placed heavier interest on secondary schooling, but heavier interest on education as a whole assured him that his government could be better manned in the years to come.
2. By creating education more tailored to every student, Bonaparte ensured every citizen could be most efficiently placed in society.
B. Bonaparte observed the fairly lax rules of the school environment before his reforms. He knew this had to change, and so “in his reorganization he placed them in barracks, in uniform, and under strict military discipline, in spite of this”, or perhaps because of it, “the school continued to produce engineers and scientists of the highest caliber” (Cameron 48-49).
1. Napoleon changed the negligent school system into a military regime. He constricted the students to a tight schedule, and France produced the best experts of all Europe.
2. Bonaparte’s discipline in the school system lent itself to a higher quality of student, and thus a higher quality workforce in the years to come.
C. though discipline was tight, and schools were successful, many peasants and members of the lower classes couldn’t get into schools.
1. It was because of this “the students were given a small stipend from the state” (Rondo 48-49).
2. Even in the Polytechnic, the most useful of educational establishments according to Bonaparte, “almost half were the sons of peasants and artisans” (Bergeron 36).
D. It was in these ways Napoleon created his shining schools system, and took the first steps towards a more successful nation.
III. Once Napoleon had placed himself as First Consul; he had much work to do concerning the politics of France.
A. France, at the time, was a nation full of people who simply weren’t concerned with the affairs of their country. If he was to be a successful ruler, Bonaparte had to re-motivate his people, and he did so through the creation of the Legion of Honor.
1. The Legion of Honor ‘added strength and activity to the spring of honor that so powerfully moves the French nation’ (Lynn 169-170).
2. He sought to create a population of citizens that would constantly strive to be their best. ‘Arms of Honor winners were immediately given Crosses of the Legion and the appropriate Legion stipend’ (169-170). The Legion was accessible to all, not just the aristocracy, so that all Frenchmen could heed the call of Honor.
3. The French people were now motivated, and their morale restored. Napoleon’s next goal was to address the various inequalities within the social order.
A. Over his time as Emperor, Napoleon made many improvements to the political system. These various laws and reforms were collectively dubbed The Napoleonic Codes, and