How Did Napoleon Change France?

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Napoleon changed France by creating the Napoleonic Code, negotiating a long-term agreement with the Roman Catholic Church and reforming the tax and education systems. Though Napoleon’s reign ended in 1815, his reforms lasted well beyond his time in office.

The Napoleonic Code is still the basis of law in France and many former French colonies. This law stressed uniformity, harmonizing the patchwork of legal regimes that existed in France before the French Revolution into one logical whole. He also negotiated the Concordat of 1801 with the Pope, mending the rift that the Revolution had torn between the Catholic Church and the nation of France. These changes, in addition to his other reforms, helped heal the national fractures that absolute monarchy, revolution and terror had caused over the previous half-century.