University of France

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The University of France (French: Université de France; originally the Imperial University of France) was a highly centralized educational state organization founded by Napoleon I in 1808 and given authority not only over the individual (previously independent) universities but also over primary and secondary education. The former individual universities were henceforth to be known as "academies" (such as the Académie de Paris), but each still retained a rector and local board of its own.


On 15 September 1793, petitioned by the Department of Paris and several departmental groups, the National Convention decided that independently of the primary schools,

"there shall be established in the Republic three progressive degrees of instruction; the first for the knowledge indispensable to artisans and workmen of all kinds; the second for further knowledge necessary to those intending to embrace the other professions of society; and the third for those branches of instruction the study of which is not within the reach of all men".

The Decree of March 17, 1808 sets the operation of the University. The University provides all levels of education, and no one can teach without the permission of the Grand Master, and provided to be part of the University. The text provides six schools managed: the faculties ( theology , law, medicine, humanities, sciences ); the schools the colleges the institutions residential schools "small schools" (primary).

Schools of law and medicine created at the end of the Revolutions are integrated into the University, as well as theological education, literature and science. The decree establishes the general organization of these teachings, diplomas (with the trio: bachelor, license , and PhD) and tests to pass. As for schools, the text establishes several rows of education officials, fourteen rows of directors and five rows of teaching. In particular, it sets the qualifications that must be held to be part of different ranks. According to the Imperial Decree of 17 March 1808 , which determines the organization of the university, it must be established in Paris as a normal boarding school (now the Ecole Normale Superieure in the rue d'Ulm) for receiving up to 300 young people who will be trained in the art of teaching the humanities and sciences. The number of students was set at one hundred for the first year. They must be under seventeen years of age, and be allowed by their father or guardian to follow the career of the University. They can not be received at school and pledging to stay at least ten years in the teaching profession. They are chosen, according to tests by the inspectors general of the University. A first appointment of students to the number of 54, selected from the departments, is made by Mgr. the Grand Master of the Imperial University.

Administratively, the University is entrusted to a grand master ( Jean- Pierre Louis de Fontanes),appointed and dismissed by the Emperor, who is assisted by a treasurer and a Chancellor (John Chrysostom Villaret). The decree also provides for the University Council, composed of thirty members divided into five sections, and composed entirely of executives of the University. The decree establishes an academy within the jurisdiction of each Court of Appeal, headed an academy rector assisted by an academic board. The University enjoys a considerable amount of autonomy in relation to the other jurisdictions even if it is closely related to the Emperor. Although the text does not expressly granted him legal personality , he is considered a legal person, which has its own particular budget

Measures were to be taken immediately: "For means of execution, the department and the municipality of Paris are authorized to consult with the Committee of Public Instruction of the National Convention, in order that these establishments shall be put in action by 1 November, and consequently colleges now in operation and the faculties of theology, medicine, arts, and law are suppressed throughout the Republic".

All the faculties were replaced by the University of France. After a century, people recognized that the new system was less favourable to study. The University of France was disbanded in 1896, when the universities regained a relative independence (but still within a centralized national system with the Ministry of Education as the highest authority).

University After Napoleon[edit]

In the first years of the Restoration, the name of the University tends to lapse because of its imperial origin. The council of the University takes the name from the Board of Education (1815-1820) then the Royal Education Council (1820-1822). If the title of Grand Master is removed, the president of the committee responsible is made the figure of Grand Master.

The latter name is moreover restored in 1822. The creation of a Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs and Public Instruction did not affect the University, but the functions of the Ministry of Public Instruction and the Grand Master are indistinguishable from 1828. During the years after, and in particular the July Monarchy, the University symbolizes public education, centralized and judged by its critics as not catholic enough (although it is not strictly secular), as opposed to private education, especially denominational. The supporters of the freedom of education show the opposition of the University. They partially get satisfaction within the two royal regimes, but won a victory at the time of the Second Republic, with two important changes in 1850. The Falloux Act, promulgated on March 15, grants a significant portion to the freedom of education (except for the top) and tends to decentralize and weaken public education: “This is not the University multiplied by 86, this is the University divided by 86”. The act also mentioned that in the University’s past and then substituted the name of the Supreme Council of Public Instruction to that of the University Council. As for the Finance Act of 1851, it operates the transfer of assets of the State University, which tended to suppress the University without official declaration. With the arrival of the Second Empire, the University term reappears to apply it before the link between the Napoleon III’s Empire and it’s predecessor. Even so, the term is more often involved in the University of France (and not imperial). However, the Third Republic greatly contributes to the declining term, when the act of July 10 1896 (said the Louis Liard law) assigns legal personality to the “bodily faculties” made in each academy by the Act of April 28 1893, and gives them the name of universities. Therefore there’s a university in each academy and the term of the “University of France” as a unified whole makes little sense. The term nevertheless remains, especially in decree No. 48-1108 of July 10 1948 bearing ranking of the state of civilians and military personnel, where there was a topic called “University of France”.

The Formal Suits and ranks of the members of the Education[edit]

(According the decree of December 24, 1852)

   Rector: Dress and gown in black silk lace flap, the shoe is purple silk with three rows of ermine, a purple ribbon belt with two silver tassels, a black velvet hat with two straps and two silver loops. 
  Academy of Inspectors: Even costume rectors with two purple silk tassels at the waist with a single braid, and two silver loops in the cap. 
   The Deans and Faculty of professors and graduate Schools: The Shape of the is the same for all the levels of abilities, but the color varies according to the order of each faculty. Deans have two gold stripes on the bonnet. 
   The theological faculties: Dress in a black silk gown, the shoe is purple silk with three rows of ermine, has a purple ribbon belt with two purple silk pensies, has a black velvet cap with a gold braid. 
  For law schools: Casimier red dress gown with a black silk batiste flap, has a red casimier shoe with three rows of ermine, has a black ribbon belt with black silk fringes and cables with a gold braid. 
   Small costume elamine black dress with red lapels and a merino gown with black silk. 
  For medical schools: A crimson satin dress and a black silk robe, flap batiste, with crimson satin shoes with three rows of ermine 
   small costume elimine black dress with crimson satin lapels and a black silk rope.
   for faculties of science: silk black gown with a flap batiste, with silk shoes with three rows of ermine, ribbon belt with fringes and with a silk hat with a gold braid. 
  Small suit: a small cheesecloth dress with a black silk lapel 
 For arts faculties: orange silk dress, black silk gown, flap batiste, shoe in orange silk with three rows of ermine, orange ribbon belt with fringe and twisted orange silk hat in orange silk braid gold;

Small Suit: black cheesecloth dress with orange silk lapels and black silk robe. Principals of schools: Dress in black bunting with black silk gown and setbacks in orange or crimson silk, according to grade in letters and science, flap batiste, shoe in orange or crimson silk with a rank of ermine, belt orange or crimson ribbon with fringes and twists in orange or crimson silk hat in orange or amaranth silk with a gold stripe.

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