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What is Napoleonic Code?

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars. In this article, we have discussed about the Napoleonic Code which is very useful for the competitive examinations like UPSC-prelims, SSC, State Services, NDA, CDS, and Railways etc.
Mar 27, 2019 17:36 IST
    What is Napoleonic Code?

    Napoleon Bonaparte was a French statesman and military leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the French Revolutionary Wars.

    What is Napoleonic Code?

    As we know that French Revolution has a major impact not only in Europe and but also to the world. Because, this revolution, influences the world through the ideas of nationalism, liberty, fraternity and equality.

    Through the rise of Napoleon as a monarchy had destroyed the ideas emerged during the French Revolution, but in the administrative field, he had incorporated revolutionary principles in order to make the whole system more rational and efficient.

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    The Napoleonic Code is also called the "French Civil Code of 1804" defined the concept of equality before the law and also secured the right to property. This code abolished the feudal system and freed peasants from serfdom and manorial dues as well as improvement in the Transport and communication systems.

    The prime objective of this code was to simplify all the laws and systematised into a single document. This Code was spread to the regions under French control. The states like the Dutch Republic, in Switzerland, in Italy and Germany also adopted the, Napoleon simplified administrative vision.

    Ideals of Napoleonic Code

    The Napoleonic code was based on the three ideals of French Revolution, which are given below:

    1. Laws should be based on reason and common sense;

    2. All men should be treated equal under law;

    3. People should have certain freedoms.

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    The Napoleonic Code was considered a progressive legal system reflecting broad-minded values.

    However, the code states about the equality before the law but didn't provide equal status to women. It was limited suffrage and reduced women to the status of a minor, subject to the authority of fathers and husbands.

    Moreover, the Code reduced, if not decimated, male accountability for sexual acts, and thrust it squarely on women. For example, men were no longer convincible to paternity suits, or legally responsible for the support of illegitimate children.

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