The Legal system in France in the XIXth Century

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In 1804, Napoleón Bonaparte decided to unify the legal system in France.

The legal system was based on the principle that every man was equal in the eyes of the law: it forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion and defined that government jobs should go to the most qualified.

However, Napoleon's legal system was still very harsh. Murder was still punishable by death and the police could arrest people very easily. Judges could send people to prison for minor crimes.

Prisons were places for punishment and hard labour; they were dirty and overcrowded.

Prisoners didn't get enough food or water and many of them were kept in chains. 80% of prisoners were male, and those women who were in jail were mostly prostitutes.