after 1804 offered little benefit to its subjects.
priority was France.
In order to maintain unity, Napoleon took his inspiration from Roman principles. He gave primary
importance to communication routes. A decree of 16 December 1811 established a grading of the
fourteen first class routes stretching out from Paris to the distant parts of the Empire. The quality of
the roads should not be exaggerated. Many people only travelled on foot. Napoleon inspired by the
Romans, imposed a common legislation on his Empire. The Civil Code was introduced in all annexed
territories and in all dependent kingdoms. A new society was to be born in which the peasant would
be liberated from seigneurial rights and in which the bourgeoisie would be the economically powerful
class. Napoleon saw the Civil Code as an instrument of war against feudalism. Except for annexed
territories he was careful not to impose the Civil Code everywhere. He was a reformer who knew how
to advance by stages. This can be seen from the language used. The administration was bi-lingual.
Responsible posts were given in preference to Frenchmen, but Italians, Belgians and Dutchmen had
seats in the Senate. In annexed territories teaching was allowed to keep its own identity; France did
not become an obligatory second language; there was no attempt to destroy the soul of conquered
provinces. Besides, conscription was an important factor in the integration of peoples with a different
language. Unification was also economic. The Empire represented a market of 80 million consumers.
The key to the Napoleonic system was the fact that the market was reserved for French industry. My
principle, Napoleon said, is France before everything!
From: Jean Tulard, Napoleon, the Myth of the Saviour, published in 1977