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|Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès|
|Second Consul of France|
12 December 1799 –18 May 1804
Servingwith Napoléon Bonaparte and Charles-François Lebrun, duc de Plaisance
|Preceded by||Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès|
|Succeeded by||Republic abolished|
|Born|| 18 October 1753|
|Died|| 8 March 1824 70) (aged|
Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès, duc de Parme (18 October 1753 –8 March 1824), was a French nobleman, lawyer and statesman during the French Revolution and the First Empire. He is best remembered as one of the authors of the Napoleonic Code, which still forms the basis of French civil law and French-inspired civil law in many countries.
The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.
The First French Empire, officially the French Empire, was the empire of Napoleon Bonaparte of France and the dominant power in much of continental Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. Although France had already established an overseas colonial empire beginning in the 17th century, the French state had remained a kingdom under the Bourbons and a republic after the Revolution. Historians refer to Napoleon's regime as the First Empire to distinguish it from the restorationist Second Empire (1852–1870) ruled by his nephew as Napoleon III.
The Napoleonic Code (French: Code Napoléon; officially Code civil des Français, referred to as Code civil) is the French civil code established under Napoleon I in 1804.
Cambacérès was born in Montpellier, into a poor family of the legal nobility.(His brother, Étienne Hubert de Cambacérès, later became a cardinal.) In 1774, he graduated in law from the college d'Aix and succeeded his father (who later became mayor of Montepellier) as Councillor in the court of accounts and finances in Toulouse. He was a supporter of the French Revolution of 1789, and was elected as an extra deputy to represent the nobility of Montpellier (in case the government doubled the nobility's delegation) at the meeting of the Estates-General at Versailles. However, since the delegation was not increased, he never took his seat. In 1792, he represented the department of Hérault at the National Convention which assembled and proclaimed the First French Republic in September 1792.
Montpellier is a city near the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea. It is the capital of the Hérault department. It is located in the Occitanie region. In 2016, 607,896 people lived in the urban area and 281,613 in the city itself. Nearly one third of the population are students from three universities and from three higher education institutions that are outside the university framework in the city.
The French nobility was a privileged social class in France during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period to the revolution in 1790. The nobility was revived in 1805 with limited rights as a titled elite class from the First Empire to the fall of the July Monarchy in 1848, when all privileges were abolished for good. Hereditary titles, without privileges, continued to be granted until the Second Empire fell in 1870. They survive among their descendants as a social convention and as part of the legal name of the corresponding individuals.
Étienne-Hubert de Cambacérès was archbishop of Rouen in 1802, cardinal in 1803 and senator from 1805. He was the younger brother of the jurist, Jean Jacques Régis de Cambacérès the Duke of Parma.
In revolutionary terms, Cambacérès was a moderate republican and sat left of center during the National Convention.During the trial of Louis XVI he protested that the Convention did not have the power to sit as a court and demanded that the king should have due facilities for his defence. Nevertheless, when the trial proceeded, Cambacérès voted with the majority that declared Louis to be guilty, but recommended that the penalty should be postponed until it could be ratified by a legislative body. This would later save him from being executed for regicide. During the Convention, many of his decisions (like the latter) were well thought out and calculated. Cambacérès made sure that he never committed himself to a certain faction. His legal expertise made him useful to all parties; he was a friend to all and an enemy to none. However, due to this, his fellow representatives at the convention did criticize him for sometimes fluctuating on some positions.
Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.
Cambacérès was a member of the Committee of General Defence from 1793 until the end of 1794, and later became a member of its infamous successor, the Committee of Public Safety after the fall of Robespierre.In the meantime he worked on much of the legislation of the revolutionary period. During 1795, he was employed as a diplomat and negotiated peace with Spain, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Kingdom of Prussia and the Batavian Republic. His remarkable debating skills gave him a spot as a councilor of the Five Hundred from 1795-1799.
The Committee of Public Safety, created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), a stage of the French Revolution. The Committee of Public Safety succeeded the previous Committee of General Defence and assumed its role of protecting the newly established republic against foreign attacks and internal rebellion. As a wartime measure, the Committee—composed at first of nine and later of twelve members—was given broad supervisory powers over military, judicial and legislative efforts. It was formed as an administrative body to supervise and expedite the work of the executive bodies of the Convention and of the government ministers appointed by the Convention. As the Committee tried to meet the dangers of a coalition of European nations and counter-revolutionary forces within the country, it became more and more powerful.
The Grand Duchy of Tuscany was a central Italian monarchy that existed, with interruptions, from 1569 to 1859, replacing the Duchy of Florence. The grand duchy's capital was Florence. Tuscany was nominally a state of the Holy Roman Empire until the Treaty of Campo Formio in 1797.
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.
Cambacérès was considered too conservative to be one of the five Directors who took power in the coup of 1795 and, finding himself in opposition to the Executive Directory, he retired from politics. In 1799, however, as the Revolution entered a more moderate phase, he became Minister of Justice. He supported the coup of 18 Brumaire (in November 1799) that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul, a new regime designed to establish a stable constitutional republic.
The Directory or Directorate was a five-member committee that governed France from 2 November 1795, when it replaced the Committee of Public Safety, until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and replaced by the French Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution.
In December 1799, Cambacérès was appointed Second Consul under Bonaparte. He owed this appointment to his vast legal knowledge and his reputation as a moderate republican. His most important work during this period, and arguably during his entire political career, was the drawing up of a new Civil Law Code (later called the Napoleonic Code; France's first modern legal code).The Code was promulgated by Bonaparte (as Emperor Napoleon) in 1804. In the end, the Napoleonic Code was the work of Cambacérès and a commission of four lawyers.
Republicanism is a representative form of government organization. It is a political ideology centered on citizenship in a state organized as a republic. Historically, it ranges from the rule of a representative minority or oligarchy to popular sovereignty. It has had different definitions and interpretations which vary significantly based on historical context and methodological approach.
The Code was a revised form of Roman law, with some modifications drawn from the laws of the Franks still current in northern France (Coutume de Paris). The Code was later extended by Napoleon's conquests to Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, western Germany and Spain, and indirectly to the Spanish colonies in Latin America. Cambacérès' work has thus been enormously influential in European and American legal history. Versions of the Code are still in force in Quebec and Louisiana.
The Napoleonic Code dealt with Civil Law; other codes ensued for Penal Law, criminal procedure, and civil procedure.
Cambacérès disapproved of Bonaparte's accumulation of power into his own hands (culminating in the proclamation of the First French Empire on 18 May 1804) but retained high office under Napoleon: Arch-Chancellor of the Empire and President of the House of Peers from 2 June, to 7 July 1815. He also became a prince of the Empire and in 1808 was made Duke of Parma (French: duc de Parme).His duchy was one of the twenty created as a duché grand-fief (among 2200 noble titles created by Napoleon)—a rare hereditary honor, extinguished upon Cambacérès' death in 1824. He was essentially second in command of France during the Napoleonic era.
Under Napoleon, he was a force for moderation and reason, opposing adventures such as the Spanish affairs in 1808 and the invasion of Russia in 1812. Nevertheless, Cambacérès was extremely trusted by Napoleon and was constantly consulted for advice; Cambacérès even sat as Council of State when Bonaparte was involved in other affairs.As Napoleon became increasingly obsessed with military affairs, Cambacérès became the de facto domestic head of government of France, a position which inevitably made him increasingly unpopular as France's economic situation grew worse. As more and more of Napoleon's ministers proved themselves untrustworthy, Cambacérès' power continued to grow. His taste for high living also attracted hostile comments. Nevertheless, he was given credit for the justice and moderation of his government, although the enforcement of conscription was increasingly resented towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
When the Empire fell in 1814, Cambacérès retired to private life but was later called upon during Napoléon's brief return to power in 1815. During the Hundred Days, the short period of time when Napoleon returned from exile, Cambacérès served as the minister of justice. XVI counted in his favor, and in May 1818 his civil rights as a citizen of France were restored. From 1815 and on, Cambacérès used the title of Duke of Cambacérès (on the fall of the Empire, the Duchy of Parma passed to former Empress Marie Louise). He was a member of the Académie française and lived quietly in Paris until his death in 1824.After the restoration of the monarchy, he was in danger of arrest for his revolutionary activities, and he was exiled from France in 1816. The fact that he had opposed the execution of Louis
The common belief that Cambacérès is responsible for decriminalizing homosexuality in France is in error.
Before the French Revolution, sodomy had been a capital crime under royal legislation. The penalty was burning at the stake. Very few men, however, were ever actually prosecuted and executed for consensual sodomy (no more than five in the entire eighteenth century). Sodomites arrested by the police were more usually released with a warning or held in prison for, at most, a few weeks or months. The National Constituent Assembly revised French criminal law in 1791 and got rid of a variety of offenses inspired by religion, including blasphemy. Sodomy was not specifically mentioned but was covered under the umbrella of 'religious crimes'. Since there was no public debate, its motives remain unknown (a similar state of affairs occurred during the early years of the Russian Revolution).
Cambacérès was a homosexual, his sexual orientation was well-known, and he does not seem to have made any effort to conceal it. He remained unmarried, and kept to the company of other bachelors. Napoleon is recorded as making a number of jokes on the subject.Upon hearing that Cambacérès had recruited a woman for a mission, Napoleon responded with, "my compliments, so you have come closer to women?". Robert Badinter once mentioned in a speech to the French National Assembly, during debates on reforming the homosexual age of consent, that Cambacérès was known in the gardens of the Palais-Royal as "Tante Urlurette".
In fact, however, Cambacérès was not responsible for ending the legal prosecution of homosexuals. He did play a key role in drafting the Code Napoléon, but this was a civil law code. He had nothing to do with the Penal Code of 1810, which covered sexual crimes.
The authors of the Penal Code of 1810 had the option of reintroducing a law against male homosexuality (as was eventually done in the Soviet Union), but there is no evidence that they even considered doing so. This had nothing to do with the influence of Cambacérès, as recent research has shown. However, Napoleonic officials could and did repress public expressions of homosexuality using other laws, such as "offenses against public decency". Nevertheless, despite police surveillance and harassment, the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era was a time of relative freedom for homosexuals and opened the modern era of legal toleration for homosexuality in Europe. Napoleonic conquests imposed the principles of Napoleon's Penal Code (including the decriminalization of homosexuality) on many other parts of Europe, including Belgium, the Netherlands, the Rhineland, and Italy. Other states freely followed the French example, including Bavaria in 1813 and Spain in 1822.
Cambacérès' colleagues also didn't fail to poke fun at his gluttony. When he met with the Council while Napoleon was away, everyone knew that the meeting would be over before lunch.He was known for having the best dinners in France and for his extravagant lifestyle. According to him, "a country is governed by good dinner parties". His estate was worth around 7.3 million francs (around €50 million in 2015 euros) upon his death in 1824. His body now lies in the cemetery of Père Lachaise where he was buried with military honors.
Cambaceres was admitted to the lodge of "Les Amis Fidèles" in Montpellier in 1775. During Napoleon's reign, he was charged by the Emperor to monitor Freemasonry in France. From 1805 to 1815, he was the assistant of Joseph Bonaparte, Grand Master of Grand Orient de France, and managed the post-revolutionary rebirth of French freemasonry. During his term, more than 1200 lodges were created.
Joseph-Napoléon Bonaparte, born Giuseppe di Buonaparte was a French diplomat and nobleman, the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made him King of Naples and Sicily, and later King of Spain. After the fall of Napoleon, Joseph styled himself Comte de Survilliers.
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Three Provisional Consuls
| Head of State of France|
Second Consul, along with:
Napoleon Bonaparte (First Consul)
Charles-François Lebrun (Third Consul)
(as Emperor of the French)