Franz Gall's ideas on brain localization offended church leaders and scientists alike. Church leaders were upset that Gall would consider the mind, which was created by God, to be based somehow in the physiological body. Scientists didn't like Gall's theories both because he couldn't prove them and because phrenology was rapidly adopted by quacks and widely considered a money making scam. Because of this, Gall was forced to leave Vienna, where he worked and lectured and move to France. There too he ran into troubles as Napoleon Bonaparte, the ruling emperor, and the scientific establishment, led by the Institute of France, pronounced his science as invalid. Part of Napoleon's ire at Gall could have been caused by the fact that Gall had found Napoleon to be a less-than-suitable phrenological subject due to the small circumference of his head. Gall's theory was that larger skull size accounted for more developed brain function. Gall's theories were, however, widely accepted in England, where the ruling class used his ideas to justify the belief that the colonial subjects, including the Irish were inferior. Phrenology was also very popular in the United States from 1820 to 1850.
Many of Gall's ideas were indeed, proved false, but he did discover that the gray matter of the brain contained cell bodies (neurons) and the white matter contained fibers (axons). His theories that brain functions were localized also proved to be true, however not in the way that was implied in phrenology. He also established the belief that some character traits and mental aberrations are organic and inborn
Gall died of a stroke in 1828 and his own head was added to his massive collection of over 300 human skulls, brain casts, and skull casts.