March 21–Napoleonic Code approved!

March 21--Napoleonic Code approved!

Written by Matthew Mendez, Journalist

March 21, 1804 C.E.

A starry-eyed Napoleon Bonaparte gazes out across the night sky, a slight smile crossing his face upon the realization that he had just dismantled the feudal foundations of France’s Ancien Régime

Drafted by a commission of jurists, the Napoleonic Code, with its clear and easily accessible set of laws, proved to be a major step towards the dismantling of France’s unjust and outdated federal laws. Instead of reforming earlier French law, Napoleon and his commission drew upon the law codes of Rome as inspiration. Thus, instead of the confusing patchwork of local laws that dominated France prior to the Revolution, Napoleonic Code divided French law into four sections: persons, property, acquisition of property, civil procedure. However, the Napoleonic Code retained, if not decreased, the status of women at the time, revoking the right a mutual consented divorce and relegating women fewer rights than even children. The code would eventually spread across Europe, influencing the law codes of various countries across the continent.