• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The French Revolution

Extracts from this document...


The French Revolution: Napoleon Bonaparte Revolutionary Anarchist or True Emperor of France? Sarah Zaidi Mr. Winegarden CHY4U 18/05/2010 During the Hundred Days Napoleon defended his past illiberal actions on political necessity. "I am not an enemy of liberty," he said, "but I set it aside when it obstructed my way." Indeed he did set it aside, altering thoughts and beliefs, and imposing absolute political authority. His selection of individuals for government titles and attempt at recreating a heritable dynasty, were policies much closer to the practice of the Ancien Regime than those of the Revolution. The use of censorship and propaganda and the activities of the police all played a part in the establishment and maintenance of the Napoleonic state. However, it quickly became evident that his actions were undeniably at the expense of liberty and equality. Napoleon was not able to maintain the ideals of the Revolution, as he re-established the aristocracy and his dictatorship mirrored policies that were present during the Ancien Regime. ...read more.


The Napoleonic Code was enforced by a police system that was a central part of Napoleon's centralized administration. The Codes were an attempt to organize French law and the Criminal and Penal Codes were essentially concerned with punishment such as hard labour and loss of the right hand. A number of changes were also made to the judiciary under Napoleon's rule. Judges, instead of being elected as under the Directory, were appointed by the government indeterminately. Special new courts materialized and there were military courts and tribunals for political offenders. However in 1810, a system of arbitrary imprisonment without trial, similar to the 'lettres caches' used in pre-Revolutionary France, was reintroduced for the people. The 'prefects' acted as agents of the central government and were directly appointed by Napoleon. A system of house arrest was present and run by the prefects for anyone who did not warrant imprisonment but who was considered a danger to state security. A number of extra prisons were built and it is estimated that in 1814 more than three times the number of ordinary convicts occupied them as in 1800. ...read more.


His decision to appoint government officials and recreate a hereditary dynasty does not support Revolutionary ideals, but imitates the policies present during the Ancien Regime. Many historians believe that Napoleon respected the ideals set during the Revolution, however, his own preference was always for an authoritarian rule, "I do not believe that the French love liberty and equality," he told the Council of State in 1802. "Ten years of revolution has not changed them." By establishing himself as the Emperor of the French state, he was showing that sovereignty no longer belonged to the people as in pre-Napoleonic days. He altered the citizens beliefs with his censorship and propaganda and the police system and 'lettres caches' are evident examples of his extreme dictatorship. Furthermore, the establishment of the imperial nobility and the appointment of government officials were decisions made by Napoleon and not elected by the state. The Revolution aimed at having an administration that respected the ideals of 'liberty' and 'equality'. However, it is evident that Napoleon did not abide by them but rather termed himself a Revolutionary activist when in reality he was like any other monarch. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. To what extent can Napoleon be considered the "Son of the Revolution"?

    Women lost practically all rights they gained and now were again properties of their husbands or fathers. The use of censorship, propaganda and of a secret police helped him maintain his rule at the expense of liberty.

  2. Revision notes - Causes of the French Revolution and the Development of the Revolution ...

    Voting in the Estate General in the past had been conducted according to the principle that each estate had one vote. The voting procedure reflected the relative privileges of the order. This time too Louis XVI was determined to continue the same practice.

  1. French Revolution and the rise of Napoleon - revision notes

    He became a king at the age of 5. He reigned from 1715 to 1774. He was Louis' XIV grandson. * He got married with Marie Leszczynska (a daughter of the dethroned polish king - Stanislaw Leszczynski) * he lacked in self-confidence and his government became degenerated. He isolated himself from the court.

  2. What were the causes of the French Revolution?

    all affairs of man had to be based upon reason and to be defended by reason. However it could be argued and I believe that in my opinion that the human knows these basic views put forward by the philosophers as they are common knowledge however the philosophers did introduce

  1. Napoleon: Enemy or Son of Revolution

    that might imply distinctions of birth, nor any superiority other than that of public officials in the course of their duties. (Pilbeam 1). Moreover, Napoleon centralized the government in Paris. This made the government to run more efficient and it united all the government bodies into one big solid institution.

  2. Russia 1905 revolution

    THE REIGN OF NICHOLAS II (1894 -- 1917) When Alexander III died in 1894, he was succeeded by his son, Nicholas II. He was the last Czar. He still believed that it was his sacred duty to uphold the principle of autocracy, but he was unsuited to be an autocrat.

  1. IB History HL, Extended Notes: Russia, the Tsars, the Provisional Govenment and the Revolution.

    When you compare the aims they hoped to achieve the opposition can be seen as ineffective. Killed Alexander II but achieved little with regards to reducing autocratic power or gaining peasant support for an anti-state uprising. 3. Significant because they ?laid the groundwork? for future revolutions and raised central

  2. What was the main cause of the French Revolution?

    This emerging middle class was well educated and rich. However, they held no political power because they were still considered part of the Third Estate, the peasantry, and because of their unfair refusal to be upgraded, anger rose between the Bourgeoisie and the other estates, again heightening the intensity of a revolution.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work