Thierry Lentz: Napoléon et la France (Napoleon and France)
He instituted the Napoleonic Civil Code, reformed the organisation of religions, gave secondary and higher education a framework that is still in operation today … But he also permanently upset the European balance, led hundreds of thousands of men in the military adventure, and silenced his opponents. So was Napoleon a visionary statesman or an unscrupulous dictator?
Thierry Lentz, director of the Fondation Napoléon, paints here, in twelve lessons, the portrait of a regime whose motive was to continue the Revolution by another means, to put France into a form of democratic modernity while laying the foundations for a dynastic system made to last. Should we judge it by its brevity or, on the contrary, consider the achievements which we can still measure today?
Prologue: Brumaire, the Revolution is over, but it continues
1. “The government is at the centre of society, like the sun”
2. Why not an Empire?
3. The question put to the Chambers
4. Imperial legitimacy
5. The great work of centralisation
6. Order by the law
7. The economic question
8. The overhaul of the judicial system
9. Good use of the Fine Arts
10. A military dictatorship?
11. Napoleon and Hitler
12. Napoleon and the Jews: assimilation or infamy?
A small Napoleonic library
Paris: Editions of the Fondation Napoléon – Vendémiaire Éditions, coll. Bibliothèque du XIXe siècle (collection 19th century library), 2015