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To What Extent Did The Creation Of The Empire In 1804 Mark A Significant Change In Napoleon’s Rule Of France?

1319 words - 6 pages

To what extent did the creation of the Empire in 1804 mark a significant change in Napoleon’s rule of France?
The empire was created in 1804 where Napoleon was crowned the hereditary emperor of France by the Pope. His empire consisted of the pays réunis; land ruled by France and the pays conquis, which were satellite states ruled by the French that bordered France and gave them protection and safety from invasion. Despite becoming emperor in 1804, Napoleon already had a lot of power with his role of first consul. He was the head of state and had control over France, Napoleon was able to control government appointments and appoint who he wished into the Senate which would provide him with ...view middle of the document...

The system was used by the French monarchy and prevented the ordinary French people being able to have any influence on France’s decisions. This was one of the revolutionary principles that France fought for, to get rid of the monarchy and establish a system where the people of France would be able to input their thoughts and opinions on the running of the country however Napoleon went against his promise to up held the revolutionary principles by re-establishing the hereditary principle. Napoleon had already established the hereditary principle when he was given consulship for life, both show how much power Napoleon already had before becoming emperor which didn’t really result in any change of the way he ruled France as he had always shown signs of a dictator through his actions.
Arbitrary arrest was re-introduced where people were arrested without a trial gave him a lot of power as he was able to arrest anyone. This was part of the policing system and was seen as unfair by the French people. Arbitrary arrest allowed Napoleon to arrest who he pleased which would allow him to reduce the opposition against him and give him more power and security. However whilst ruling as First consul Napoleon had already set up many new forms of control that allowed him to consolidate power. For example, the general police who monitored the state of public opinion and also did other things such as impose censorship. Censorship was also another factor that showed Napoleon’s authoritarian rule from the beginning; censorship is the control/suppression by the state of media. Napoleon appointed censors to each newspaper to stop any stop controversial topics being spread and increase any opposition against him. As well as this Napoleon used the newspapers as a source to spread his propaganda which forced the French people to believe things that were not true and went against the revolutionary principles of liberty. The media was manipulated by Napoleon to show only the positives of him and his regime.
This shows how as soon as Napoleon was given the power of First Consul he implemented rules and systems to increase his power and control over France. In addition to the general police there were the prefects who were agents appointed by Napoleon to monitor public opinions and suspicious activity. They were given the power to house arrest people who they believed were a danger to state security. The prefects were showed how Napoleon was enforcing an authoritarian rule over France before 1804 by appointing people to spy for him and eliminate any threats/opposition to his power,
After 1804 Napoleon increased the use of senates-consultum which is a procedure to preserve the constitution and approve new laws. Although this was already used before 1804, it was used increasingly after 1804 to suppress the tribunate. Plebiscites were similar in the way that they gave the illusion of popular sovereignty but were tampered with to achieve the result that...

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