What is a Napoleanic Code?

By Shivank Goel|Updated : September 6th, 2022

The Napoleanic Code is the concept of equality before the law and the secured right to property. It is also called the French Civil Code of 1804. This code was created to organise and standardise all of the laws into a single document. The areas governed by France began to adopt this Code. Napoleon's streamlined administrative vision was also embraced by states in Germany, the Italian Republic, the Swiss Confederation, and the Dutch Republic.

The Napoleanic Code

The Napoleonic Code is officially known as the French Civil Code. It was created by the French Consulate in 1804 and is still in use today despite being often revised. On March 21, 1804, it came into effect after being created by a panel of four distinguished jurists.

The Code was a significant step in replacing the jumble of feudal laws because it placed an emphasis on plain, understandable language in the law. According to historian Robert Holtman, it is one of the few texts that has had a global impact.

The three French Revolutionary values served as the foundation for the Napoleonic code.

  1. Laws ought to be founded on logic and common sense.
  2. People should be afforded some liberties.
  3. All people should be treated equally under the law.

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  • The three main principles of the Napoleanic Code were the principles of civil liberty, equality before the law, and the secular character of the state.

  • The Napoleanic Code was significant because it codified several branches of law, including commercial and criminal law, and divided civil law into categories of property and family. The Napoleonic Code made the authority of men over their families stronger, deprived women of any individual rights, and reduced the rights of illegitimate children.

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