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The major reforms of the Consulate and the Empire (August 2010)
Many of the reforms introduced during the Consulate and Empire periods survive today in their respective modern-day French institutions. All the answers can be found in the numerous articles and timelines located in our History of the Two Empires section (I.D., tr. H.D.W.).
1. When was the Code Civil promulgated?
21 March, 1800
21 March, 1802
21 March, 1804
2. The Code Civil, drawn up by Portalis, Tronchet, Maleville and Bigot de Préameneu, is famous for its concision and clarity. It was made up of:
28 laws and 1,996 articles, organised into three parts (individuals, assets and property).
36 laws and 2,281 articles, organised into three parts (individuals, assets and property).
42 laws and 3,152 articles, organised into three parts (individuals, assets and property).
3. Which of these phrases is (or are) correct?
The Code Civil served as the inspiration for a number of other European codes, some of which are still in vigour.
The Code Civil served as the inspiration for codes introduced on the American continent, in countries such as Argentina, Chile and Louisiana.
The Code Civil served as the inspiration for codes introduced in countries on the Asian continent (for example China).
4. Created on 19 May, 1802, the Order of the Legion of Honour is presented to:
soldiers and civilians alike, but only those of the male persuasion.
soldiers and civilians alike, both male and female.
5. The law of 14 April, 1803 awarded the Banque de France (created on 18 February, 1800) the monopoly to:
print paper money for a period of fifteen years.
lend money to the State.
6. The Germinal Franc, named after the law of 7 Gérminal An XI (27 March, 1803), brought great economic stability to the means of exchange in France. Why?
The weights of gold and silver in the various coins in circulation were clearly fixed by the State and were applicable in all territory under French influence.
The law placed a limit on the number of pieces in circulation at any one time.
7. In 1806, the Finance Minister, Martin Michel Charles Gaudin, requested that the canons captured during the Battle of Austerlitz be melted down to be made into the machines needed to mint the Germinal Franc. Napoleon:
refused, preferring to reuse the canons.
agreed, and the resulting machines were operational for the next 150 years.
8. The Conseil d'Etat, re-established by the 13 December 1799 constitution, was composed of thirty to forty councillors charged with:
overseeing state expenditure.
drawing up projects for laws and the regulation of public administration.
judging and pronouncing on opponents of the regime.
9. A decree issued on 19 Germinal An XI (9 April, 1803) created the post of Conseil d'Etat auditor, charged with the preparation of projects in order to assist the council in its work. During the Empire, one of France's great writers was present in their ranks. Who was it?
Beyle, whose pen name was Stendhal.
10. The Université impériale held a monopoly over public (i.e. state) secular education. It was created on:
10 May, 1803
10 May, 1804
10 May, 1806
11. Up until their abolition in 1789, intendants held far-reaching powers concerning "justice, police and finance" in the "généralités" (domains) that they controlled. Napoleon's law of 28 Pluviôse An VIII created the post of prefect, charged with the application of law in the département to which he was named. Napoleon nicknamed them:
"mes petits sosies" ("my little doubles")
"des empereurs au petit pied" ("the petty emperors")
"mes petits aigles" ("my little eagles")
12. The post of prefect covered a large number of duties, including:
organising the conscription process and war requisitions.
organising the collection of taxes.
maintaining order in his district and ensuring the population's loyalty to the regime.