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The French Revolution was more successful in improving French society, economics and politics than was Napoleon's rule over France.
The Revolution saw the issuance of the Declaration of the Rights of Man; adopted the metric system, and established religious tolerance for Jews and Protestants. Although women did not gain the right to vote, they did gain the right to seek divorce, own property, and seek support from the fathers of children born out of wedlock.
The Napoleonic Empire did little for the French people other than institute the Code Napoleon and give them stability after the uncertain days of the Revolution; however there was a price for this stability. Women lost most of their rights gained under the Revolution; freedom of the press was severely limited, such that only four newspapers remained in publication in Paris, all of which were propaganda machines for Napoleon. A ruthless police state was instituted under one Joseph Fouche, since Napoleon himself was often away at war.
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