From 1800-1815 one man held the center of the European stage. Coming to thehead of affairs in a France stirred to its depths by tremendous upheaval ofthe Revolution, Napolean Bonaparte was able for fifteen years to directFrance back to its feet. For about ten years he met with continual successand displayed combinations of military and adminisrative which has probablynever been equalled. In the end he was destroyed by the same force that hadbrought him into his high power (the force of national patriotism), that from1800-1808 made the armies of France unstoppable, but from 1808-1815 raisedup, first in Spain, then in Austria, Russia, and finally in Germany.
Napolean was the first Consul of France. The Constitution of the Year 1800provided for three consuls and a tribunate and legislative body designated bythe Senate from the general election list. The first Consul ran theadministrative and foreign policies, was in charge of the army, and proposedall the laws. This Consul was the real power. Napoleon was this Consul.
Napoleon immediately gave all his attention to the foreign problem of theSecond Coalition. Napoleon got Russia to withdraw and revive an ArmedNeutrality against Great Britain. Napolean's win at Marengo in Italy andMoreau's win at Hohenlinden in Germany forced Austria to sue for peace. TheTreaty of Luneville in 1801 strengthened Campo Formio. Even though GreatBritain had won the Battle of the Nile in 1798 and had broken up the AmedNeutrality in 1801, she couldn't conquer France, so she signed the Treaty ofAmiens in 1801, which was really only a truce.
With the foreign problems settled for now, Napoleon turned his attention tointernal reforms. The reforms under the Consulate are the most permanent ofall Napoleon's contributions.
Napoleon guarenteed equal rights, equal justice, equal opportunity, and thecontinued abolition of privilege. It was only in the political sphere thatNapoleon dinied liberty.
The government was completely centralized with its division of departments,arrondissements, and prefects making its officials directly responsible tothe central government at Paris.