Napoleon Bonaparte: The Little Man with the Big Plan
1. The Consititution of 1795, established a new government, The Directory, which included an elected legislature and an executive branch with five directors. Only men who could read and who owned certain amount of property could vote. As a result, the middle classs and wealthy landowners gained influence on the new government. 2. The Directory, which lasted from 1795 to 1799, faced many problems. The five-man executive did not function efficiently, and corrupt deputies in the legislature bargained for political favors. Additionally, when the government removed the controls on prices imposed during the Terror, prices rose sharply. As bread prices rose, poor workers rioted in the streets of Paris. Despite economic tribulations and dissatisfaction, the Directory pursued an aggressive foreign policy.
3. Napoleon Bonaparte was born on an island of Corisca in 1794. He rose against the army because so many officers fled France.
4. Some military successes of Napoleon were that by the age of 27, he was a general. He soon received command of a French army for an invasion of Italy. He won several brilliant victories over the Austrians who ruled northern Italy. Napoleon’s success forced Austria to withdraw from the war in 1797 and left Britain the only country still fighting France.
5. In 1798, Napoleon invaded Egypt because it was a vital lifeline to British outposts in India. Napoleon quickly defeated the Egyptian army. However, he suffered a disastrous setback at sea. The British fleet, under Admiral Horatio Nelson, destroyed the French fleet in the battle of the Nile. The loss of the French meant that the French could not supply their troops in Egypt or take them home. Leaving the army in Egypt, Napoleon returned to Paris. The French weren’t aware of their loss and they welcomed him as a hero.
6. Napoleon found that many people were discontent with the Directory. So, in 1799, with the help of loyal troops he and 2 directors overthrew the government. They drew up another constitution. Under the new government, Napoleon was named First Consul. Personal qualities and military talent helped Napoleon win widespread popular support. At age 30, Napoleon was the virtual dictator of France.
7. Napoleon proclaimed himself “Emperor of the French” when he was made First Consul. Majority of French voters endorsed his actions.
8. The Napoleon Code was a law code that bought together many reforms of the revolution into a single, unified legal system. It recognized that all men were equal before the law and guaranteed freedom of religion as well as a person’s right to work in any occupation. The code did not always preserve the ideals of the revolution, though. It put the interests of the state above those individual citizens. In addition, it dropped laws passed during the revolution that had protected the rights of women and children and made man the absolute head of the household with control over all family. This resulted in the women opposing the Napoleon Code. The code didn’t take in the consideration of their rights and freedoms and made man more dominant and powerful.
9. The three other reforms of Napoleon were:
➢ Economy o Enforced a law requiring all citizens to pay taxes o Created a national Bank of France, in which tax money was deposited o New economic policies slowly bought the inflation under control
➢ Education o To fill the need for educated, loyal government officials, He set up lycées, government-run schools o Encouraged extreme patriotism⇒same courses were taught at each school o Only children of wealthy students attended lycées because of the tuition costs. o First step towards a system of public education – a long standing goal for Enlightment thinks and the French revolutionary leaders.
➢ Religion o Combined reform and tradition. o Ended the election of bishops o French government…