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Religious Policy of Napoleon

According to the Constitution of 1791, a constitutional Catholic Church was established as per the provisions of the constitution of the country. A compromise between Napoleon and the Pope Pius VII in 1802 gave Napoleon the power to confiscate religious states and donations made to the clergy. He was also involved in the destruction of monasteries. The Government appointed only those clergymen who were of a higher order and the Pope confirmed such appointments except those who had a stained past with an immoral or atheistic background. The higher clergymen appointed those of lower rank.

This compromise empowered the government to frame regulations relating to the church with a view to ensuring social security and order. Later on it bred discord between the administration and the clergy resulting in bad relations and protracted hostilities against each other. The special privileges granted to them by the Pope were not available in France. This reduced the freedom of the clergy in the country.

For the assembly of the clergies it was incumbent on their part to take the prior permission of the First Consul. No clergymen could possibly leave his parish according to the current law. For these reasons there were clashes between these two episcopacies which proved detrimental for both the institutions. Anyway Napoleonís compromise with the Pope remained the foundation stone for the link between the two for about a century.

Napoleon himself was not the follower of any particular faith, but he thought he saw something bewildering like glimpses of omnipotent God when he raised his eyebrows to watch the divine grandeur of the stars scintillating in the sky or when he heard the bells of the Cathedrals tolling enchantingly. He was perfectly conscious of the necessity of religion in a social set-up but worked at shaping religion according to his perceptions.

Public Affairs of Napoleon

Napoleon tried to promote art and literature of France. Once he observed: "People complain that we have no literature. That is the fault of the Minister of the Interior."

While art and literature flowered in England and Germany, France produced only two popular figures of literature: Chateau Briaud and Madame De Stael, the daughter of Necker. Even their eminence could not satisfy the fancy of Napoleon. By one of his orders a list was drawn up bearing the names of the ten top genius of the country - painters, sculptors, poets, writers, musicians, architects. State patronage was extended to them. Napoleon adopted such measures as would give a fillip to art and literature in his time.

Napoleon established a society for the encouragement of national industries for promoting art and craft. This society traded in cotton, silk, sugar and wool. Napoleon had many roads, bridges and dams constructed in his time. There were 229 big roads, and 30 of these stretched from Paris to the farthest points of the state. There was an elaborate network of canals for purposes of irrigation. Old canals were repaired in time and the new ones dug. The port towns of Toulon and Hanover were made more commodious. Moreover, a nice arrangement for their safety was made by Napoleon.

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Index

3.0 - Introduction
3.1 The Seven Years' War
3.2 Catherine the Great
3.3 The Industrial Revolution
3.4 The French Revolution
3.5 France as a Republic (1795 - 1799)
3.6 Napolean Bonaparte
3.7 Points to Remember

Chapter 4


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