Napoleonic Europe

During the French Revolution, the people of France had witnessed many different forms of government- absolute monarchy, constitutional monarchy and a republic. Thus, as a key phase in any revolution, a dictatorship will arise who says he will meet the people's desperate needs. This was Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon rescued France from the toils of the revolution. He was also a child of the Enlightenment and used many of its ideals during his rule. Ideas such as establishing a national bank, organizing public education and employing natural rights upon the people give Napoleon the title of last enlightened despot.
For hundreds of years before Napoleon's reign, the economy of France was in shambles. The largest populated country in Europe was ironically the biggest country in poverty and debt. This was due to the French government's overspending in the royal court and military improvements. Napoleon would be thefirst leader to make lasting improvements in finance. He used human reasoning, an essential concept in enlightened thinking, and established the Banque Nationale de Paris. He reestablishes old taxes and pays back old debts. He also settled the problem of inflating food prices. He would put France back at a strong financial hold.
Keeping in mind that education will create the smartest man, Napoleon improves France's education system. He organizes government- operated secondary schools, lycees and a number of vocational and technical schools such as Ecole Polytechnique. To make sure that schools were operating properly, a sort of checks and balances system, he organizes the University of Paris in 1808 to safeguard the quality of his schools. These schools were free and higher education was opened to all who qualified, regardless of class or religion. Every Napoleonic State had an academy for the arts and sciences. Lastly, he provided income to the men who brought along this enlightened


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