One Action Napoleon Took That Showed He Supported Some Enlightenment Ideals Was To

The Enlightenment was a period of intellectual and philosophical advancements that took place in the 18th century. It brought about significant changes in various aspects of society, including politics, governance, and individual rights. One prominent figure who emerged during this time was Napoleon Bonaparte, a military and political leader who played a crucial role in shaping Europe’s history. Let’s explore one action Napoleon took that demonstrated his support for some Enlightenment ideals:

The Napoleonic Code

One action that showcased Napoleon’s endorsement of certain Enlightenment principles was the creation of the Napoleonic Code, also known as the Civil Code of 1804. This legal framework aimed to consolidate and reform the diverse and often contradictory laws that existed in France at the time.

The Napoleonic Code emphasized the principles of equality before the law, meritocracy, and protection of individual rights. It guaranteed religious freedom, abolished feudalism, and established a merit-based system for public employment. The code also recognized the right to property and provided a legal framework for contracts, inheritance, and civil liberties.

By implementing the Napoleonic Code, Napoleon sought to create a unified and modern legal system that would apply equally to all citizens. This action aligned with Enlightenment ideals of reason, equality, and the rule of law, which were central to the intellectual movement of the time.

Impact and Legacy

The Napoleonic Code had a far-reaching impact, not only in France but also in the territories under Napoleon’s control. It served as a model for legal reforms in many European countries and influenced subsequent legal systems worldwide.

While the Napoleonic Code demonstrated Napoleon’s support for certain Enlightenment ideals, it is essential to recognize that his rule was also marked by authoritarian tendencies and a consolidation of power. Napoleon’s actions cannot be seen as a complete embodiment of Enlightenment principles, as he often prioritized his own political ambitions.


Napoleon’s creation of the Napoleonic Code stands as one action that showcased his support for some Enlightenment ideals. By implementing this comprehensive legal framework, he aimed to promote equality, meritocracy, and individual rights within the legal system. However, it is important to approach Napoleon’s legacy with nuance and recognize the complexities of his rule.