The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution

The National Bureau of Economic Research, America’s leading nonprofit economic research organization, has released a paper about the effects of Napoleon’s “invasions” into the other European countries. It sounds interesting:

—- Abstract —–

The French Revolution of 1789 had a momentous impact on neighboring countries. The French Revolutionary armies during the 1790s and later under Napoleon invaded and controlled large parts of Europe. Together with invasion came various radical institutional changes. French invasion removed the legal and economic barriers that had protected the nobility, clergy, guilds, and urban oligarchies and established the principle of equality before the law. The evidence suggests that areas that were occupied by the French and that underwent radical institutional reform experienced more rapid urbanization and economic growth, especially after 1850. There is no evidence of a negative effect of French invasion. Our interpretation is that the Revolution destroyed (the institutional underpinnings of) the power of oligarchies and elites opposed to economic change; combined with the arrival of new economic and industrial opportunities in the second half of the 19th century, this helped pave the way for future economic growth. The evidence does not provide any support for several other views, most notably, that evolved institutions are inherently superior to those ‘designed’; that institutions must be ‘appropriate’ and cannot be ‘transplanted’; and that the civil code and other French institutions have adverse economic effects.

It’s available for download for $5.

American Appointed Légion d’Honneur

William Powers Jr., president of The University of Texas at Austin, was appointed to the rank of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, the prestigious order created by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1804, for his work in establishing the French Judicial Visiting Fellowship program at the university.


Inside a First Empire Style Mansion

Remember our recent guest Michael Kroger who told us about his Melbourne mansion decorated in 1st Empire style? Well he emailed us today to say he has put it up for sale and if you are quick you can see some amazing photos of the interior here. It is truly amazing and I’m sure it will make David sick to his stomach with jealousy. Speaking of David, I’d like to congratulate him and Barbara on their 26th wedding anniversary which I believe they are celebrating this Thursday! 26 years… wow. All the more amazing when you realize they are both only in their early 30s…..

Napoleon’s Fictional Romance Novel Published In English!

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Now the man the world knows as emperor, war hero and bogeyman, the ruthlessly ambitious Little Corporal who rose from provincial obscurity in Corsica to become the terror or ruler of half the world, will be revealed in a surprising new guise: Napoleon the failed romantic novelist.

I’ve been waiting to read Clisson and Eugénie for 20 years! This is very exciting news! Click on the link above to read more!

Where To Buy A Napoleon Hat

From the time I became obsessed with Napoleon I have wanted to own a Napoleonic-style bicorn. But I’ve never found a place that sells them – I mean, high quality ones, not the cheesy costume style.

In the comments section of an old post, Captain Flunky has pointed me to this site which seems to make a perfect replica (scroll down to the bottom of the page). The company is based in Philadelphia and their Web site is pretty old (Nicholas Stark – perhaps you can pay them a visit and see if they still exist!).

napoleon bicorn hat

The Napoleon Bonaparte Podcast #52 – Alex Mikaberidze on The Russian Generals

Alexander Mikaberidze joins us again on this episode to share deep biographical details about the major Russian Generals around the war of 1812 – Kutusov, Bagration, Barclay de Tolly, Tolstoy – the men who defeated Napoleon with a highly unusual strategy.



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