PISKUNOVA E.P. Establishment of the University System in France During the Reign of Napoleon I: Goals and the Results

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.1 

Elena P. Piskunova

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor,

Department of Russian and General History, Archaeology, Volgograd State University,

Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4520-8094 


Abstract. Introduction. In the Napoleonic era, political power set itself two tasks: to continue the traditions of the revolution in the formation of a new system of people and to make these changes correlate with the requirements of the new political system associated with the formation of the Empire. Historians have not paid enough attention to Napoleon’s educational policy and the relation of these events to his political goals.

Analysis. The Great French Bourgeois Revolution completely destroyed the old educational system. All universities and academies were closed. Secondary and primary schools sought to eliminate the influence of the Church. The revolutionary government proclaimed an equal right for all citizens to receive education, and the goal of education was to form a new personality in the spirit of the Republican morality. The main problems were the lack of a unified structure and the lack of teaching staff. Only during the reign of Napoleon a coherent and effective system of education was created, which included the interrelated stages of primary, secondary and higher education, the top of which was the University. All educational institutions in France were subject to it. The goal of the University was not only to train teachers, but also to establish a new imperial ideology based on the idea of national unity. Though the creation of the educational system was certainly successful for Napoleon, his main function, according to the Emperor, was ideological education, and he could not implement it.

Results. The Imperial University remained ideologically independent from the political system of the Empire, since a significant part of the teaching staff held liberal views and was in hidden opposition to the Napoleonic regime. However, the structure of education created in this era lasted until the end of the 19th century, which indicates its success in terms of organizational principles and practical implementation.

Key words: Imperial University, French Revolution, First Empire, Napoleon, educational system, state ideology, liberal opposition.

Citation. Piskunova E.P. Establishment of the University System in France During the Reign of Napoleon I: Goals and Results. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2020, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 8-26. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2020.2.1.

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