top of page

Code Napoléon and The Dogma of Will

Updated: Feb 6

Arila from Vision Factory

Author: Arila Baja

Date of Publication: 24/05/2023

Code Napoléon


The French Civil Code, or Code Napoleon, was created in 1804 under the reign of Emperor Napoleon. It is specifically regarded as the earliest illustration of a true codification of law. The Justinian model served as the basis for the organization of civil law rules into articles. Therefore, it is related to the law of things, the law of people, and the law of deeds.

The French Revolution and the necessity for a fresh, well-organized system of laws both contributed to this codification. On this basis, the issue of judicial and legal particularism might be resolved throughout Europe, not only in France. As a result, Code Napoleon came to represent 19th-century codification experiences. In addition, it had an impact on

all current legislative initiatives.

Napoleon and French Revolution

Napoleon set out to overhaul the French judicial system in the spirit of the French Revolution. Prior to the Napoleonic Code, France lacked a unified body of laws. In reality, legislation was mostly made up of local conventions, which were occasionally codified in "Customals." Exemptions, privileges, and special characters were also granted by monarchs or other feudal lords.

The Code expanded quickly throughout Europe and the world, ushering at the end of feudalism and the freedom of serfs wherever it was implemented. Furthermore, it acknowledged the ideas of civic liberty. Also included is equality before the law (albeit not in the same way for women as it is for males) and the state's secular nature.

The Impact of Napoleonic Code

In addition to not being the first civil code, the Napoleonic Code did not apply to the whole Napoleonic realm. In actuality, during the Napoleonic Wars, it was one of the most influential, and it was implemented in other nations that the French had taken over. In the majority of continental Europe, it served as the foundation for the legal systems.

Code de Napoleon

Additionally, it has had a long-lasting influence on other nations' civil law systems. Of course, this also applies to the Middle East, where it has been merged with Islamic law.

The creation of the Napoleonic Code marked a significant shift in the civil law system's makeup. In reality, it improved the accessibility and clarity of the legislation.

Additionally, it replaced the prior struggle over royal legislative power. Particularly in the final years before the Revolution, judges spoke out in support of the rights and viewpoints of the social classes to which they belonged.

The Dogma of Will

After the Napoleonic Civil Code of 1804 went into effect, this system was developed. This brought a significant breakthrough in real estate law and property transfer as well as contract law. Namely, the "solo consensus" principle, which is the concept of the consent's consequential implications.

The "pure will of man" was said to be expressed in this idea. It was meant to be a component of the alleged "dogma of the will." A complete defense based on the free will of a man is emphasized in the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

Law terminology

→ The concept of "solo consensus" refers to the transfer of property that results immediately from the agreement, i.e., without the actual material transfer of ownership.

→ The concept of “pure will of the man”, the free man's will: The owner's will is sufficient to alter the law.


You can also read about:


Reference List

123 views0 comments


bottom of page