November 9, 1799 — Napoleon Bonaparte became the first dictator of France today, and soon after began instituting a number of government reforms including the famous Napoleonic Code.
It said that government positions would not be appointed based on a person’s birth or religion, but on their qualifications and ability. Previously, high positions were given to aristocrats by the king in return for favors. This often led to incompetent people in important positions.
Napoleon also helped to improve the French economy by building new roads and encouraging business. He reestablished the Catholic Church as the official state religion, but at the same time allowed for freedom of religion to those who weren’t Catholic. Napoleon also set up non-religious schools, so anyone could get an education.
Napoleon’s power and control continued to grow with his reforms. In 1804, he was crowned the first Emperor France. At the coronation, he did not allow the Pope to place the crown on his head, but instead crowned himself.
Words of Wisdom
Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.