The Second Italian Campaign continued into 1801, during which the French armies of Massenat and Soult managed to obtain from the Austrian forces of Otto Melas the control of a vast region of Italy ranging from Genoa to Naples.
The following year, Austria affirmed in the Treaty of Luneville the French gains from Campoformio five years earlier. “In 1802 the English and German states were tired of fighting and signed the Peace Treaty of Amiens. It was the first time since 1792 that France was at peace with the whole world.” (“A Paper on Napoleon.” Norfolk Academy, VA, 3).
The First Consul was now free to concentrate on bringing about an era of prosperity that would affect the world for ages to come. According to H. A. L. Fisher, “It was Napoleon’s function in history to fuse the old France with the new.” The First Consul wished “to cement peace at home by anything that could bring the French together and provide tranquility within families.”
Tom Holmberg writes that “like Mirabeau, Napoleon didn’t see an incompatibility between the Revolution and monarchy. Napoleon did what the Bourbon King could not– reconcile the elements of the monarchy with the elements of the Revolution– which was the failed goal of Mirabeau in 1790. Napoleon was largely successful in attracting men from all parties– from ex-Jacobins to ci-devant nobles– to his government. Signing the Concordat (15 July 1801) allowed Napoleon to reconcile the religious differences which had torn France apart during the Revolution. (At the same time the Concordat insured religious freedom. It recognized Catholicism as the religion of the majority of the French, but it did not make it an ‘established’ religion as the Church of England was in Britain. Protestants and Jews were allowed to practice their religions and retain their civic rights.) A general amnesty signed by Napoleon (26 April 1802) allowed all but one thousand of the most notorious émigrés to return to France. These two actions helped to bring relative tranquility to those areas of France which had long been at war with the Revolution.” (Holmberg, 4).
Napoleon also abolished slavery in all territories under French control as a result of a slave rebellion in Haiti, which threatened French possessions in the Caribbean. However, even when the rebels were granted the civil rights of French citizens, a radical clique, led by the power-hungry Haitian governor, Toussaint L’Ouverture, refused to lay down their arms. L’Ouverture did not care that Napoleon had abolished slavery; he wished to conclusively break away from French rule.
Napoleon was forced to send a military expedition to the island that captured the subversive and imprisoned him (which was rather lenient, considering the atrocities that L’Ouverture committed against white Frenchmen who resided in Haiti). L’Ouverture died behind bars in 1804, this episode having concluded the last internal resistance to Napoleon’s abolition of slavery.
Napoleon detested civil inequalities and pledged to ban forced servitude in any nation that came under his control. The Ancien Regime (i.e., the old order) in the remainder of Continental Europe had bound millions of peasants to their land in intolerable servitude to a wealthy luxury class whose members were born into their positions.
Of Napoleon Tom Holmberg writes, “…he promoted equality and opened all careers to those with talent. ‘Risen to the throne,’ Chateaubriand wrote, ‘he seated the people there beside him. A proletarian king, he humiliated kings and nobles in his antechamber. He leveled ranks not by lowering but by raising them.'”
This Napoleon wished to occur in all European nations. Although he was a pragmatist, he used his realistic insight to materialize goals outlined for him by the writings of his philosophical role model, Voltaire, and the ideals of the Jacobin centralized authority. Voltaire’s love of freedom and the Jacobins’ insistence on concentrated power were diametrically opposite ideas, however, and thus produced contradictions in some of Napoleon’s policies.