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European Universities from the Enlightenment to 1914$
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R. D. Anderson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206606

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206606.001.0001

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France from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic University

France from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic University

(p.39) 3 France from the Enlightenment to the Napoleonic University
European Universities from the Enlightenment to 1914

R. D. Anderson

Oxford University Press

Efforts to reform the French universities were cut short by the 1789 revolution, and they were abolished in 1793. Higher education began to revive only in 1795, with schools of law and medicine, but real reform had to await Napoleon. The Napoleonic ‘University’ of 1808 was a centralized, secular, national body, with separate faculties which were not reconstituted as individual universities. The features of the Napoleonic system were its emphasis on professional education, the relegation of general literary and scientific education to secondary schools, the separation of teaching and research, and a separate system of elite grandes écoles, notably the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Ecole Polytechnique. Both grandes écoles and research institutes were concentrated in Paris. This model of highly centralized state education was applied in the European territories conquered by Napoleon, and remained influential after 1815.

Keywords:   France, French revolution, Napoleon, grandes écoles, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Ecole Polytechnique, Paris

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