Napoleon’s Enigmatic Legacy: A Complex Portrait in the Eyes of the French

Napoleon's Enigmatic Legacy: A Complex Portrait in the Eyes of the French

Napoleon's Enigmatic Legacy: A Complex Portrait in the Eyes of the French. Image: Jimj0will /

A recent survey conducted by Ifop-Fiducial for Sud Radio has unveiled a nuanced perspective on Napoleon’s legacy among the French population.

Surprisingly, 74 per cent of respondents view Napoleon’s actions as having a positive impact on France, showcasing an increase from 1969 when only 70 per cent held this opinion.

One of Napoleon’s enduring legacies, the Civil Code, stands out as a beacon of admiration among the French.

A significant 40 per cent of respondents believe that the creation of the Civil Code represents Napoleon’s most commendable achievement, marking an increase from 34 per cent in 1969.

Napoleon’s contributions to education have also garnered praise, with 20 per cent of respondents highlighting the creation of high schools and the overall progress in education as major successes.

This marks a substantial increase from the 5 per cent recorded in 1969, reflecting the lasting impact of Napoleon’s initiatives on the educational landscape of France.

While Napoleon’s military triumphs were celebrated by previous generations, contemporary French citizens display a more measured response.

Military victories, once a source of national pride, have seen a 2 per cent decrease in support since 1969.

War and violence, in general, rank as one of the least popular themes, with only 31 per cent of spontaneous mentions, compared to 50 per cent in 1969.

When considering modern political figures, 25 per cent of French respondents believe that both Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen are closest to Napoleon’s ideas.

This insight adds a contemporary dimension to the survey, illustrating how Napoleon’s legacy continues to influence perceptions of political figures in France.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.


    • Jane Fraser Brown

      26 November 2023 • 16:32

      Interesting change in French opinion

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