French Revolution

The History of Homosexuality: The Napoleonic Code

Code Civil 1804

Wikimedia Commons

The Napoleonic Code is the name for a new code of law introduced in France under Napoleon I in 1804, the purpose of which was to replace the patchwork of feudal laws which had previously existed and unify the French legal system under a more democratic form of rule. Most notably, the code prohibited birthright privileges, specified that government jobs should go to the most qualified candidates, and established freedom of religion.

The code wasn’t the first of its kind in civil-ruled European nations, but it was the most widely emulated. It wasn’t, either, the result of one sweeping overhaul of the existing laws, as we often assume today, but part of a broader restructuring of the French penal system. Additional codes governing the military, civil procedures, and commerce were introduced in subsequent years. Continue reading →

Posted by Kate Aaron in History, Queer Blogging