He did everything he could to assure that the Jews were treated on an equal basis as Catholics and Protestants.
The French Revolution in 1789 was to change all the various restrictions that Jews had to face in France.
It was on the 27th of September 1791 that France adopted a decree, which accorded the Jews of France full citizenship.
Following in the wake of the Napoleon Wars (1804-1815) in which Napoleon conquered much of Europe, came the emancipation of the Jews of Western Europe.For hundreds of years the Jews had been economically and politically marginalized and physically confined to the ghettoes of Europe.After Napoleon, the Ghetto walls came down and the Jews of Western Europe were free to enter European society for the first time.For better and for worse, this represented one of the greatest periods of transformation for these Jewish communities. Ben Weider, the president of the International Napoleonic Society ,gives us much food for thought about anti-Semitism, assimilation and Jewish identity in the world today.He was amazed when he saw some people wearing yellow bonnets and arm bands on which was the "Star of David." He asked some of his officers why these people were wearing the bonnet and arm bands and what was its purpose.
When he was told they were Jews and they had to be identified so they could return to the ghetto in the evening, he immediately gave an order that they should remove the yellow bonnet and armbands. On the 12th of June 1798 when the French occupied Malta, he learned that the Jews were not permitted to practice their religion in a synagogue.
However, the answer could be discovered in a private conversation that Napoleon had with Dr. O'Meara (who was Napoleon's personal physician at the time) asked the Emperor point blank as to why he was encouraging and supporting the Jews.
Barry O'Meara, which took place on the Island of St. The Emperor Napoleon replied, and I quote, "My primary desire was to liberate the Jews and make them full citizens.
The new law dated the 8th of April 1802, which dealt with the organization of various religions, the principle leader of this law was Jean-Etienne Portalis who said: "Jews should participate as equals, like all other religions as permitted by our laws." Although there was tremendous opposition by the anti-Semites, Isaac Cerf-Berr, one of the leading Jewish citizens, presented to Minister of Religion Portalis a specific plan that would ensure Jewish integration into the population.
The plan was brought to Napoleon at his camp in Boulogne in 1805.
The Civil Code of 1804 was to grant religious freedom to all of them.