Essay by mouldy1A-, March 2005

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'I wished to found a European system, a European Code of Laws, a European judiciary: there would be but one people in Europe,'

Napoleon himself has many critics some call him a wicked dictator and others just remember him for the battle of Waterloo, against the British Admiral Nelson. Nevertheless, Napoleon was a very clever man and was the first to come up with the idea of a united Europe, an idea that we are still trying to live by today.

Napoleon had this idea over 200 years before Europe finally became the European Union.

Napoleon's idea for Europe was that the French, Spanish, Italians, and Germans would live together in peace and share laws and trade.

But why did Napoleon want to unite Europe, and was this for a better life for everyone?

Before the French revolution, the laws in France were set by the monarchy and this was the same for most of Europe.

At that time, all the areas of France had over 14,000 different laws and so did the other countries in Europe. These laws varied from state to state in France. Napoleon wanted his Empire to have one unified code of laws and he introduced this in the early 19th century. This was known as the Code Napoleon. However, as the French had controlled or influenced most of Europe at that time it was a clever way of enforcing his ideas not only over France but over Europe too.

The code Napoleon consisted of a more simple set of rules, and concentrated on the rights of man but was still very biased against women, the code made men more powerful and women and children their property. Before the code was introduced, the church had the greatest influence over the way people lived. The code concentrated...