three years of coming to power, Bonaparte completely reorganized
France. He set in place a strong, centralized government with
a tightly structured bureaucracy. He built new parks, bridges
and quays along the Seine, as well as canals, reservoirs,
and roads. He founded the Bank of France, which assured French
businessmen credit at a reasonable rate. Slowly the economy
revived, and prosperity returned to France. All of Europe
was in awe.
1801, Bonaparte signed an agreement with the Pope - the Concordat
making Catholicism the official religion of France.
He had no personal use for religion, but he understood its
signed the Treaty of Mortefontaine with the Unites States,
and sold the Louisiana Territory to the Thomas Jeffersons
government. In March 1802, he convinced England to sign the
Treaty of Amiens, temporarily ending their war against France.
oversaw the codification of a new system of laws the
Civil Code which abolished feudal privileges and established
the equality of every man before the law.
rights and duties of citizens thats an invention
of the revolution. But they were not codified in a central
text. It was necessary that these rights and duties become
the basis for a grand legal system for the society to function
forced the nations he had conquered to accept the new laws
he had created for France, undermining the centuries-old foundations
of European civilization. The monarchs of Europe arrayed their
armies against Bonaparte. But time and time again, Austrian,
Russian, and Prussian troops were defeated by the citizen-soldiers
of the French Republic.
felt that he embodied the spirit of the Revolution through
his rule. But had no patience with those who demanded greater
liberty. He crushed those who spoke out against him, making
a sham of parliament and free elections.
Napoleon believed in government for the people but not
by the people. He took the French back to what they probably
wanted at the time, which was a friendly monarchy, a benevolent
monarchy, or at least it gave the appearance of being benevolent.
May 1802, Bonaparte amended the Constitution to grant himself
the title First Consul for Life, with near dictatorial powers
- a king in all but name. But he wasnt satisfied.
The more power that Bonaparte gets, the more he wants.
And it escalates step by step. Never too much at once, always
step by step, gradually and always with Napoleon looking
back and saying, remember I am going to protect the gains
of the revolution, theyre safe with me.
had been nourished by reflecting on liberty," Bonaparte said,
"but I thrust it aside when it obstructed my path."
late 1803, he path was clear. He wanted a crown, to be recognized
on the same footing as the monarchs of Europe. Bonaparte would
make himself Emperor of France.