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15 - Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis

(1746–1807)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2019

Olivier Descamps
Affiliation:
Pantheon-Assas University, Paris
Rafael Domingo
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

Lawyer, consultant, thinker, and legislator, Jean-Étienne-Marie Portalis (1746–1807) has often been presented as a leading jurist, in a vein similar to that of Domat and Pothier. After receiving an eclectic education under the Ancien Régime, which mixed philosophy and Romano-canon law, the lawyer from Aix shone under the Consulate and the Empire in the role of state counsel tasked with drafting the Civil Code, before rising to become minister for religion. Recognized as the father of the Civil Code, Portalis left his mark with a series of compromises between revolution and reaction. Furthermore, as the constructor of religious peace, he was responsible for implementing the Concordat and ensuring that the future emperor had the support of both the Holy See and French Catholics alike. Portalis’s career paved the way for civil and religious peace in the aftermath of the Revolution. A man of the Enlightenment and a traditionalist, conservative, and a sociologist, Portalis showed himself to be a liberal Catholic, yet deeply rooted in the traditions of Old France, despite being much more orientated towards progress in a changing society.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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References

Recommended Reading

Beaubrun, Marcel, et al., eds. Le discours et le Code. Portalis, deux siècles après le Code Napoléon. Paris: LITEC, 2004.Google Scholar
Bloquet, Sylvain. “Le mariage, un ‘contrat perpétuel par sa destination’ (Portalis),” Napoléonica. La Revue 14, no. 2 (2012): 74110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chartier, Jean-Luc. Portalis: le père du Code civil. Paris: Fayard, 2004.Google Scholar
D’Onorio, Joël-Benoît. “L’esprit du Code civil selon Portalis. D’un siècle à l’autre…,” Droits 42, no. 2 (2005): 7592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
D’Onorio, Joël-Benoît. Portalis l’esprit des siècles. Paris: Dalloz, 2005.Google Scholar
D’Onorio, Joël-Benoît. Portalis le Juste. Aix-en-Provence: Presses universitaires d’Aix-Marseille, 2004.Google Scholar
Gasparini, Éric. “Regards de Portalis sur le droit révolutionnaire: la quête du juste milieu,” Révolutionnaire française 328 (2002): 121–33.Google Scholar
Niort, Jean-François. “Les Portalis et l’esprit du XIXe siècle,” Droits 42, no. 2 (2005): 93118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Niort, Jean-François. “Portalis, père du Code civil?,” Revue de la recherche juridique-Droit prospectif 1 (2005): 479490.Google Scholar
Niort, Jean-François. “Retour sur ‘l’esprit’ du Code civil des Français,” Histoire de la justice 19, no. 1 (2009) [Les penseurs du Code civil]: 137.Google Scholar

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