Faculty Seminar Advisor

Patricia Goldsworthy-Bishop

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2017

Abstract

In 1789, the advent of the French Revolution led to the shift in political power as the Catholic Church and French Monarchy ruled Pre-Revolutionary, or Ancien Regime France was replaced by a new, revolutionary government. The fall of Catholicism as the official religion of France, however, did not stop religion as an central component for political power. The creation of new religious groups and thought produced a secularized revolutionary religion, theCult of the Supreme Being,” Which increased political power by using liturgical rites and festivals to gain popularity with the French public. With Napoleon’s rise to power in a coup d'etat in 1799 , the Napoleonic Empire continued the political trend of using religion for power with Napoleon’s alliance with the Catholic Church, which politically validated his claim to power. Despite the existence of three very different and distinct political entities from pre-revolutionary France through the Napoleonic Empire, the French state depended upon religion and its liturgical structures for the consolidation of political power through the use of religious ceremonies and language.

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