Code Civil

Code Civil

The Napoleonic code, or in French the Code civil des Français, is today remembered as one of Napoleon's greatest achievements. The Napoleonic code was adopted throughout much of Europe, though only in the lands he conquered, and remained in force after Napoleon's defeat. Napoleon said: "My true glory is not to have won 40 battles...Waterloo will erase the memory of so many victories....but...what will live forever, is my Civil Code."

The Code still has importance today in a quarter of the world's jurisdictions including in Europe, the Americas and Africa. Dieter Langewiesche described the code as a "revolutionary project" which spurred the development of bourgeois society in Germany by the extension of the right to own property and an acceleration towards the end of feudalism. Napoleon reorganised what had been the Holy Roman Empire, made up of more than a thousand entities, into a more streamlined forty-state Confederation of the Rhine; this provided the basis for the German Confederation and the unification of Germany in 1871. The movement toward national unification in Italy was similarly precipitated by Napoleonic rule These changes contributed to the development of nationalism and the nation state.

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