Primary Source

Oath as Consul for Life (4 August 1802)


The oath that Bonaparte took on becoming consul for life gives a good idea of the image that he tried to project: protector of the gains of the Revolution and insurer of order. In retrospect, his claims about not wishing to make war ring hollow.

This source is a part of the The Napoleonic Experience teaching module.

“Oath as Consul for Life (4 August 1802),” 1802, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity


“I swear to maintain the constitution, to respect liberty of conscience, to oppose a return to feudal institutions, never to make war except for the defense and glory of the Republic, and to employ the authority with which I shall be invested only for the good of the people, from whom and for whom I shall have received it."


Frank M. Anderson, ed., The Constitutions and Other Illustrative Documents of the History of France, 2nd ed., revised (New York: Russell and Russell, 1908), p. 331.

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Oath as Consul for Life (4 August 1802) in World History Commons,