Research Grants 2002


  • Stéphane DESROUSSEAUX: Money in circulation during the Napoleonic period
    Supervisor: Professor Jean Tulard
    Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

    The key feature of this study is its combination of history, notably of the Empire, with numismatics. I shall place emphasis on Napoleon’s monetary policy, rather than concentrate on the traditional areas of financial and economic policy (the Banque de France, shares, rents and macro-economic elements).

    The first part will deal with the application of the law of Germinal An XI, whereby a new currency was emitted bearing the effigy of Bonaparte, and beginning in An XII, that of Napoleon. The main aim is to show how the money was used by Napoleon as an instrument of propaganda and conditioning.

    The second part will deal with Napoleon’s desire to standardise money in France. Several decrees attempted to effect the gradual removal from circulation of the money of the Ancien Régime and of the Revolution, itself made following the imperial, or duodecimal system (the most important of these decrees were that of 18 August and 12 September 1810, which set tariffs for Francs).
    Particular attention will be paid to the welcome the new currency received and those who remained faithful to the Livre Tournois or where the Franc was as yet little used.

    The final part will turn exclusively around Napoleon’s desire to generalise the French monetary system in the countries governed by his brothers and sisters and to circulate money similar to the Franc and based on the decimal system. This raises the question as to whether Napoleon wished to create, long before the Latin Union and the Euro, a ‘single currency’ in Europe (the Franc) and the problem of the acceptance of the money by the peoples of Europe as a symbol of French domination.

  • Sylvain SICK: Conscripts from the Léman and Mont-Blanc regions and the Grande Armée (1805-1814)
    Supervisor: Professor Philippe Boutry,
    Université de Paris XII

    With the First Empire as the chronological limit, the Grande Armée and conscription in areas recently attached to France (notably the areas around Geneva and in Savoy) form central point of the thesis. One particular interest in this study of the inhabitants of the ex-duchy cut into two départements (1792: Mont-Blanc; 1798: Léman) is the brevity of their existence and the linking of these entities to Revolutionary and later Imperial France.

    The project is to be arranged around two major themes:

    – Society and conscription in the Léman and Mont-Blanc areas : a presentation of the populations concerned by conscription, the phenomenon of replacement and specific postings, then the different form of disobedience and the means of repression and their limits.

    – The “grognards” of the Léman and Mont-Blanc areas in the Grande Armée : a discussion of the distribution of conscripts to the different regiments, an analysis of their numbers, their action in the different campaigns and finally a study of what future befell these soldiers of the Emperor after the two abdications.

    Within these two themes, the comparison of the two départements is omnipresent.

  • Johan RANGER: Louis Madelin (1871-1956): an academic alternative to History
    Supervisor: Professor Jacques-Olivier Boudon,
    Université de Rouen

    Louis Madelin, French historian of the Consulate and Empire, was born in 1871 in a small town in the Lorraine. He went to the Marist secondary school at Bar-le-Duc and then university at the Faculty of Letter of the University of Nancy. Getting his degree at twenty, he headed for Paris and enrolled at the Ecole de Chartes and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, which led him to Rome. Under the supervision of Alphonse Aulard, he wrote a thesis on Fouché, Minister of Police during the Empire, which he defended in 1901. His thesis was to be the direct cause of the rupture between Madelin and the University. He was then to be the embodiment of history outside the University, or rather more precisely, the academic alternative to history as opposed to University history. Louis Madelin was elected to the Académie française in 1927 replacing Robert de Flers.

    Alongside his activities as a historian, Louis Madelin was also active in politics. He stood for election in 1902, as a ‘Républicain progressiste’, in seat of Bar-le-Duc. After several attempts, he entered the Palais Bourbon in 1924 as a ‘Républicain modéré’. In 1928, he was not re-elected and he subsequently dedicated himself entirely to the writing of history. In 1936, he began what was to become his magnum opus, the Histoire du Consulat et de l’Empire (16 volumes from 1936 to 1956). He died in 1956 aged 85.

    Taking as its starting point a bibliography of about 100 volumes, certain manuscript sources (Louis Madelin’s personal diary) some printed matter, his own book manuscripts and collection, this study will attempt to reveal the general characteristics of thie academic alternative to history, this non-university historiography which has been little studied. I shall also study Madelin’s contribution to Consulate and Empire studies. His political aspect will also be studied in depth, with the aim of contributing to current study of the Right, and particularly the moderate Right, with respect to the links between République française, the Mouvement Quatrième république and the Fédération républicaine.

  • Medhi KORCHANE: A history of French art from the Directory to the Restoration. The role of Pierre-Narcisse Guérin (1774-1833)
    Supervisor: Professor Philippe Bordes,
    Université Lumière-Lyon II

    The aim of this study is contribute the a greater understanding of French art, from the Directory to the Restoration, as seen through lens of the career and works of the painter Pierre-Narcisse Guérin.

    Guérin is the obvious figure because he was considered as the very model of a liberal painter on the French art scene during the Consulate. During the Empire he appeared as one of the glories of the French school, alongside David, Gros, Gérard and Girodet. He was not only selected by Denon for important imperial commissions (Napoléon pardonnant aux révoltés du Caire, La mort du Maréchal Lannes, etc.), but also by influential wealthy clients during the Empire period wishing to enlarge their collections (Lucien and Louis Bonaparte, Joséphine, Sommariva). He was also one of the principal figures in the field of aesthetical research in the period 1800-1820, firstly via his own works and secondly by his role as teacher of the young romantics (Géricault, Delacroix, Scheffer, etc.). Eclipsed by the fame of his pupils, his work has never received an adequate study and not been adequately appreciated.

    The aim of this thesis is to place the man and artist in the setting of French painting at the beginning of the 19th century, using notably previously unpublished sources (archives and correspondance) and by rediscovering the documentation for the artist (newspapers, memoirs of contemporaries, etc.). This research will include such problems as the social status of the artist, the relationship between art and politics, and art teaching. It will as a result give a treatment of the historical and theoretical issues at stake. Included will also be an analysis of the artist’s paintings and their reception by the general and critical public; this will be accompanied with a full catalogue, the key requirement for an exact appreciation of his work.

  • Anne-Sandrine DE LUCA: The nobility of the 1st Empire. Noble identity reinvented
    Supervisor: Professor François-Paul Blanc,
    Université de Perpignan

    At the moment when all thought that the nobility had been banished for ever, Napoleon in 1808 created a new aristocracy. This was a bold step indeed, given that revolutionary feeling was alive and well, and the nobility remained the principal symbol of feudal times.

    Many works have been written on the Napoleonic aristocracy, but none so far has studied this institution from a purely juridical point of view. This thesis will follow this approach.

    There will be a double development, following juridical theory: the creation of the Empire nobility and the consolidation of this new aristocracy.

    The creation of a new nobility cannot be understood outside the frame of the construction of Napoleonic power: this creation helped ensure the legitimacy in the regime’s exercise of power; indeed, in this sense, the nobility is thoroughly political. But it should also be set in the context of the creation of propaganda, in other words it was also a nobility for Napoleonic pomp and prestige. It was very much an accessory of power and the Emperor clearly wanted to set this group above the mass citizens: not to mention the privileges, the titles also provided other benefits, such as the granting of coats of arms, access to court, the creation of a jurisdiction to the institution (the Conseil du Sceau des Titres). And even though it could not be called an order, the Empire nobility was nevertheless a particular group within the citizen body.

    Once established, the aristocracy had to be consolidated so as to achieve longevity. This study will attempt to single the procedures by which Napoleon tried to give long life to this creation. This was the point where Napoleon broke with Revolutionary values and where money became the corner stone of the noble system: the stability of the Empire nobility rested upon the consolidation of the estates of it representatives [coming of age, right of age, right of first born]. Napoleon followed the blood nobility with one based upon money, and thus contributed to the emergence of a plutocracy.

    Hence the Empire was formed in the image of its creator: it was to be sure the bearer of the ideals of the Revolution by it consecration of individual merit, but it was also an instrument of monarchy and as such it could never be a purely Republican.


Michaël DECROSSASThe Château de Saint-Cloud: architecture, decoration and furnishings (1658-1870)
Supervisor: Professor Guy-Michel Leproux,
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes

The Château de Saint-Cloud has never been subject to a single all-encompassing work. Much uncertainty remains as to the chronology of work there, both for the interiors and the outside, not to mention the distribution of the apartments and their decoration. The two empires marked the history of the château considerably, as much for the events which took place there as for the history of art.

The object of this study is the highlight the work undertaken during the Consulate period and to rediscover the internal distribution of the château during the years when the First Consul ad his family initially moved in.

The study will then consider the successive changes made during the Empire period, with the significant renovation project linked to the programme made in 1804 by the Emperor’s household, namely the Intendance générale de la Maison de l’Empereur and the architects Percier and Fontaine. Three major projects were launched at Saint-Cloud: the Salon de Mars whose decoration dated from the time of Monsieur during the reign of Louis XIV, the creation of the Salon de Famille, and finally the building of a Throne room. The latter raises many questions, notably ones of iconography, symbolism and logistics, since it was a project from scratch given that such rooms did not exist as such during the Ancien Régime.

There will thereafter be a rapid overview of the period of the last Bourbons and Orleans, since they took little interest in the building.

The last part of the study will be dedicated to the work done during the Second Empire, and known via the watercolours by Fortuné de Fournier and the photographs of Schneider and of Chapon-Masson.