They saw that the vote in favor of the new Constitution was hardly overwhelming. Paris voters were particularly hostile to the idea of keeping two-thirds of the old members of the Convention in the new Councils. A central committee was formed, with members from the wealthier neighborhoods of Paris, and they began planning a march on the center of the city and on the Tuileries, where the Convention still met.
The members of the Convention, very much experienced with conspiracies, were well aware that the planning was underway. A group of five republican deputies, led by Paul Barras , had already formed an unofficial directory, in anticipation of the creation of the real one. They were concerned about the national guard members from western Paris, and were unsure about the military commander of Paris, General Menou.
Barras decided to turn to military commanders in his entourage who were known republicans, particularly Bonaparte , whom he had known when Bonaparte was successfully fighting the British in Toulon. Bonaparte, at this point a general of second rank in the Army of the Interior, was ordered to defend the government buildings on the right bank. The armed royalist insurgents planned a march in two columns along both the right bank and left bank of the Seine toward the Tuileries.
There on October 5, , the royalists were met by the artillery of General Joachim Murat at the Sablons and by Bonaparte's soldiers and artillery in front of the church of Saint-Roch. The whiff of grapeshot of Bonaparte's cannons and gunfire of his soldiers brutally mowed down advancing columns, killing some four hundred insurgents, and ended the rebellion. It was the last uprising to take place in Paris during the French Revolution. Between 12 and 21 October , immediately after the suppression of royalist uprising in Paris, the elections for the new Councils decreed by the new Constitution took place.
Three-hundred seventy nine members of the old Convention, for the most part moderate republicans, were elected to the new legislature. To assure that the Directory did not abandon the Revolution entirely, the Council required that all of the members of the Directory be former members of the Convention and regicides , those who had voted for the execution of Louis XVI. Due to the rules established by the Convention, a majority of members of the new legislature, of deputies, had served in the Convention and were ardent republicans, but a large part of the new deputies elected were royalists, versus 11 from the left.
The members of the upper house, the Council of Ancients, were chosen by lot from among all of the deputies. On 31 October , the Council of Ancients chose the first Directory from a list of candidates submitted by the Council of Five Hundred. A new member, Lazare Carnot , was elected in his place. The following day, the members of the new government took over their offices in the Luxembourg Palace, which had previously been occupied by the Committee of Public Safety.
Nothing had been prepared, and the rooms had no furniture: they managed to find firewood to heat the room, and a table in order to work. One of the early decisions of the new parliament was to designate uniforms for both houses: the Five Hundred wore long white robes with a blue belt, a scarlet cloak and a hat of blue velour, while members of the Ancients wore a robe of blue-violet, a scarlet sash, a white mantle, and a violet hat.
Paul Barras here in the ceremonial dress of a Director was a master of political intrigue. Lazare Carnot , a brilliant organizer and mathematician but poor intriguer, was the enemy of Barras. The assignats were almost worthless; the little value which remained drained away each day with accelerated speed. One could not print enough money in one night to meet the most pressing needs of the next day The public revenues were nonexistent; citizens had lost the habit of paying taxes. The drop in value in the money was accompanied by extraordinary inflation.
The Louis d'or gold coin , which was worth livres in paper money at the beginning of the Directory, increased to and then livres. The price of a liter of wine increased from 50 sous in October to ten francs and then thirty francs. A measure of flour worth two livres in was worth livres in October The new government continued to print assignats , which were based on the value of property confiscated from the Church and the aristocracy, but it could not print them fast enough; even when it printed one hundred million in a day, it covered only one-third of the government's needs.
To fill the treasury, the Directory resorted in December to a forced loan of million livres from wealthy citizens, who were required to pay between 50 and livres each. To fight inflation, the government began minting more coins of gold and silver, which had real value; the government had little gold but large silver reserves, largely in the form of silverware, candlesticks and other objects confiscated from the churches and the nobility.
Bonaparte demanded gold or silver from each city he conquered, threatening to destroy the cities if they did not pay. These measures reduced the rate of inflation. This success produced a new problem: the country was still flooded with more than two billion four hundred million 2. Speculation became rampant, and property in Paris and other cities could change hands several times a day. Another major problem faced by the Directory was the enormous public debt, the same problem that had led to the Revolution in the first place.
In September—December , the Directory attacked this problem by declaring bankruptcy on two-thirds of the debt, but assured payment on the other third. This resulted in the ruin of those who held large quantities of government bonds, but stabilized the currency. To keep the treasury full, the Directory also imposed new taxes on property owners, based on the number of fireplaces and chimneys, and later on the number of windows, of their residences.
A Crime Called Freedom: The Writings of Os Cangaceiros (Volume One) | The Anarchist Library
It refrained from adding more taxes on wine and salt, which had helped cause the revolution, but added new taxes on gold and silver objects, playing cards, tobacco, and other luxury products. Through these means, the Directory brought about a relative stability of finances which continued through the Directory and Consulate.
The food supply for the population, and particularly for the Parisians, was a major economic and political problem before and during the Revolution; it had led to food riots in Paris and attacks on the Convention. To assure the supply of food to the sans-culottes in Paris, the base of support of the Jacobins , the Convention had strictly regulated grain distribution and set maximum prices for bread and other essential products. As the value of the currency dropped, the fixed prices soon did not cover the cost of production, and supplies dropped. The Convention was forced to abolish the maximum on 24 December , but it continued to buy huge quantities of bread and meat which it distributed at low prices to the Parisians.
This Paris food distribution cost a large part of the national budget, and was resented by the rest of the country, which did not have that benefit. By early , the grain supply was supplemented by deliveries from Italy and even from Algeria. Despite the increased imports, the grain supply to Paris was not enough. The Ministry of the Interior reported on 23 March that there was only enough wheat to make bread for five days, and there were shortages of meat and firewood. The Directory was forced to resume deliveries of subsidized food to the very poor, the elderly, the sick, and government employees.
The food shortages and high prices were one factor in the growth of discontent and the Gracchus Babeuf 's uprising, the Conspiracy of the Equals , in The harvests were good in the following years and the food supplies improved considerably, but the supply was still precarious in the north, the west, the southeast, and the valley of the Seine. Babeuf had, since , been drawn to the Agrarian Law, an agrarian reform preconized by the ancient Roman brothers, Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus , of sharing goods in common, as means of achieving economic equality.
By the time of the fall of Robespierre , he had abandoned this as an impractical scheme and was moving towards a more complex plan. Babeuf did not believe that the mass of French citizens was ready for self-government; accordingly, he proposed a dictatorship under his leadership until the people were educated enough to take charge. Your tribune presents himself with confidence. At first, Babeuf's following was small; the readers of his newspaper, Le Tribun du peuple "The Tribune of the People" , were mostly middle-class far-left Jacobins who had been excluded from the new government.
However, his popularity increased in the working-class of the capital with the drop in value of the assignats , which rapidly resulted in the decrease of wages and the rise of food prices. The Conspiracy of Equals was organized in a novel way: in the center was Babeuf and the Secret Directory, who hid their identities, and shared information with other members of the Conspiracy only via trusted intermediaries. This conspiratorial structure was later adopted by Marxist movements.
Despite his precautions, the Directory infiltrated an agent into the conspiracy, and was fully informed of what he was doing. Before Babeuf and his conspiracy could strike, he was betrayed by a police spy and arrested in his hiding place on 10 May Though he was a talented agitator, he was a very poor conspirator; with him in his hiding place were the complete records of the conspiracy, with all of the names of the conspirators. Despite this setback, the conspiracy went ahead with its plans.
At the same time a column of militants was formed in the working-class neighborhoods of Paris to march on the Luxembourg Palace, headquarters of the Directory. Director Carnot had been informed the night before by the commander of the camp, and a unit of dragoons was ready. When the attack began at about ten o'clock, the dragoons appeared suddenly and charged. About twenty Jacobins were killed, and the others arrested.
The column of militants, learning what had happened, disbanded in confusion. The widespread arrest of Babeuf's militants and Jacobins followed. The practice of arresting suspects at their homes at night, stopped after the downfall of Robespierre, was resumed on this occasion. Despite his arrest, Babeuf, in jail, still felt he could negotiate with the government.
He wrote to the Directory: "Citizen Directors, why don't you look above yourselves and treat with me as with an equal power? You have seen now the vast confidence of which I am the center The Directory did not tremble. The accused Jacobins were tried by military courts between 19 September and 27 October. Thirty Jacobins, including three former deputies of the Convention, were convicted and guillotined. They both attempted suicide, but failed and were guillotined on 27 May However, in the following months, the Directory and Councils gradually turned away from the royalist right and tried to find new allies on the left.
The major preoccupation of the Directory during its existence was the war against the coalition of Britain and Austria. The military objective set by the Convention in October was to enlarge France to what were declared its natural limits: the Pyrenees , the Rhine and the Alps , the borders of Gaul at the time of the Roman Empire. Beside Britain and Austria, the only enemies remaining for France were the kingdom of Sardinia and several small Italian states.
Austria proposed a European congress to settle borders, but the Directory refused, demanding direct negotiations with Austria instead. Under British pressure, Austria agreed to continue the war against France. A third army, the Army of Italy under General Bonaparte, who had risen in rank with spectacular speed due to his defense of the government from a royalist uprising, would carry out a diversionary operation against Austria in northern Italy.
General Moreau, without the support of Jourdan, was also forced to retreat. The story was much different in Italy. Bonaparte, though he was only twenty-eight years old, was named commander of the Army of Italy on 2 March , through the influence of Barras, his patron in the Directory. Bonaparte faced the combined armies of Austria and Sardinia, which numbered seventy thousand men. Bonaparte slipped his army between them and defeated them in a series of battles, culminating at the Battle of Mondovi where he defeated the Sardinians on 22 April , and the Battle of Lodi , where he defeated the Austrians on 10 May.
At the end of , Austria sent two new armies to Italy to expel Bonaparte, but Bonaparte outmaneuvered them both, winning a first victory at the Battle of Arcole on 17 November , then at the Battle of Rivoli on 14 January He forced Austria to sign the Treaty of Campo Formio October , whereby the emperor ceded Lombardy and the Austrian Netherlands to the French Republic in exchange for Venice and urged the Diet to surrender the lands beyond the Rhine. The Directory was eager to form a coalition with Spain to block British commerce with the continent and to close the Mediterranean Sea to British ships.
The British fleet under Admiral Jervis defeated the Spanish fleet at the Cape St Vincent , keeping the Mediterranean open to British ships, but the United Kingdom was brought into such extreme peril by the mutinies in its fleet that it offered to acknowledge the French conquest of the Netherlands and to restore the French colonies.
The Directory also sought a new way to strike British interests and to repay the Kingdom of Great Britain for the support it gave to royalist insurgents in Brittany , France. A French fleet of 44 vessels departed Brest on 15 December , carrying an expeditionary force of 14, soldiers, led by General Hoche to Ireland , where they hoped to join forces with Irish rebels to expel the British from the Kingdom of Ireland. However, the fleet was separated by storms off the Irish coast and, being unable to land on Ireland, had to return to home port with only 31 vessels and 12, surviving soldiers.
The first elections held after the formation of the Directory were held in March and April , in order to replace one-third of the members of the Councils. The elections were a crushing defeat for the old members of the Convention; of the were defeated. Only eleven former deputies from the Convention were reelected, several of whom were royalists. In Paris and other large cities, the candidates of the left dominated.
General Jean-Charles Pichegru , a former Jacobin and ordinary soldier who had become one of the most successful generals of the Revolution, was elected president of the new Council of Five Hundred. Royalism was not strictly legal, and deputies could not announce themselves as such, but royalist newspapers and pamphlets soon appeared, there were pro-monarchy demonstrations in theaters, and royalists wore identifying clothing items, such as black velvet collars, in show of mourning for the execution of Louis XVI.
The parliamentary royalists demanded changes in the government fiscal policies, and a more tolerant position toward religion. During the Convention, churches had been closed and priests required to take an oath to the government. Priests who had refused to take the oath were expelled from the country, on pain of the death penalty if they returned. Under the Directory, many priests had quietly returned, and many churches around the country had re-opened and were discreetly holding services.
Descartes' ashes were not moved. Parallel with the parliamentary royalists, but not directly connected with them, a clandestine network of royalists existed, whose objective was to place Louis XVIII , then in exile in Germany , on the French throne. They were funded largely by Britain, through the offices of William Wickham , the British spymaster who had his headquarters in Switzerland. These networks were too divided and too closely watched by the police to have much effect on politics. However, Wickham did make one contact that proved to have a decisive effect on French politics: through an intermediary, he had held negotiations with General Pichegru, then commander of the Army of the Rhine.
The Directory itself was divided. Though Carnot himself had been a member of the Committee of Public Safety led by Robespierre, he declared that the Jacobins were ungovernable, that the Revolution could not go on forever, and that it was time to end it. The royalists in the Councils immediately began to demand more power over the government and particularly over the finances, threatening the position of Barras.
From letters taken from a captured royalist agent, he was aware of the contacts that General Pichegru made with the British and that he had been in contact with the exiled Louis XVIII. He presented this information to Carnot, and Carnot agreed to support his action against the Councils. General Hoche , the new Minister of War, was directed to march the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse through Paris on its way to Brest, on the pretext that they would be embarked for a new expedition to Ireland.
Hoche himself resigned as Minister of War on 22 July. General Pierre Augereau , a close subordinate and ally of Bonaparte, and his troops arrived in Paris on 7 August, though it was a violation of the Constitution for soldiers to be within twelve leagues of the city without permission of the Councils. The royalist members of the Councils protested, but could do nothing to send them away.
The next day, the Directory annulled the elections of about two hundred deputies in 53 departments. Carnot went into exile in Switzerland; he later returned and became, for a time, Bonaparte's minister of war. In June , they both escaped, and went first to the United States and then to England. During the Consulate , Pichegru returned secretly to Paris, where he was captured on 28 February He died in prison on 6 April , either strangled or having committed suicide. The coup was followed by a scattering of uprisings by royalists in Aix-en-Provence , Tarascon and other towns, particularly in the southwest and west.
A commissioner of the Directory was assassinated in Lyon , and on 22 October counter-revolutionaries seized the city government of Carpentras for twenty-four hours. These brief uprisings served only to justify a wave of repression from the new government. Eight of the twelve Directors and ministers of the new government were regicides, who as deputies of the Convention had voted for the execution of Louis XVI, and were now determined to continue the Revolution.
The central administration and city governments were quickly purged of suspected royalists. If they did not, they were to be judged by a military commission, and, on simple proof of their identity, were to be executed within twenty-four hours. Between 4 September and the end of the Directory in , persons were condemned to death by the military tribunals, including 41 priests and several women.
On 16 October , the Council of Five Hundred considered a new law which banned political activities by nobles, who were to be considered as foreigners, and had to apply for naturalization in order to take part in politics. A certain number, listed by names, were to be banned permanently from political activity, were to have their property confiscated, and were to be required to leave immediately. The law called for certain exemptions for those in the government and military Director Barras and General Bonaparte were both from minor noble families.
In the end, resistance to the law was so great that it was not adopted. The Jacobin-dominated councils also demanded the deportation of priests who refused to take an oath to the government, and an oath declaring their hatred of royalty and anarchy. Several churches, including the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris and the church of Saint-Sulpice , were converted Theophilanthropic temples, a new religion based on the belief in the existence of God and the immortality of the human spirit.
The National Guard was mobilized to search rural areas and forests for priests and nobles in hiding. As during the Reign of Terror, lists were prepared of suspects, who would be arrested in the event of attempted uprisings. The new Jacobin-dominated Directory and government also targeted the press.
Newspaper publishers were required to submit copies of their publications to the police for official approval. On 17 December , seventeen Paris newspapers were closed by order of the Directory. The Directory also imposed a substantial tax on all newspapers or magazines distributed by mail, although Jacobin publications, as well as scientific and art publications, were excluded.
The Directory also authorized the opening and reading of letters coming from outside of France. Despite all these security measures, there was a great increase in brigandage and robbery in the French countryside; travelers were frequently stopped on roads and robbed; the robberies were often blamed on royalist bands. On 18 January , the Councils passed a new law against highwaymen and bandits.
The political repression and terror under the Directory were real, but they were on a much smaller scale than the Reign of Terror under the Robespierre and the Convention, and the numbers of those repressed declined during the course of the Directory. After , no further political prisoners were sent to French Guiana, and, in the final year of the Directory, only one person was executed for a political offense.
In the spring of , not only a new third of the legislature had to be chosen, but the places of the members expelled by the revolution of Fructidor had to be filled. The elections took place between 9 and 18 April. The royalists had been disqualified, and the moderates were in disarray, while the radical Jacobins made a strong showing.
Before the new deputies could take their seats, Barras and the other Directors, more moderate than the new Jacobins, organized a commission to review the elections, and disqualified many of the more extreme Jacobin candidates, replacing them with moderates.
They sent the list of candidates for Director to the Councils, excluding any radicals. These political maneuvers secured the power of the Directory, but widened further the gap between the moderate Directory and the radical Jacobin majority in the Councils. It was a triumph for France. France received the left bank of the Rhine as far south of Cologne , Belgium , and the islands in the Ionian Sea that had belonged to Venice. Austria in compensation was given the territories of Venice up to the Aegean Sea. He was then summoned back to Paris to take charge of an even more ambitious project, the invasion of Britain, which had been proposed by Director Carnot and General Hoche.
But an eight-day inspection of the ports where the invasion fleet was being prepared convinced Bonaparte that the invasion had little chance of success: the ships were in poor condition, the crews poorly trained, and funds and logistics were lacking. He privately told his associate Marmont his view of the Directory: "Nothing can be done with these people. They don't understand anything of greatness. We need to go back to our projects for the East.
It is only there that great results can be achieved. The grand plan of the Directory in , with the assistance of its armies, was the creation of "Sister Republics" in Europe which would share the same revolutionary values and same goals, and would be natural allies of France. In Milan , the Cisalpine Republic was created, which was governed jointly by a Directory and Councils and by the French army.
General Berthier , who had replaced Bonaparte as the commander of the Army of Italy , imitated the actions of the Directory in Paris, purging the new republic's legislature of members whom he considered too radical. The Ligurian Republic was formed in Genoa. Piedmont was also turned by the French army into a sister republic, the Piedmontese Republic.
In Savoy , General Joubert did not bother to form a sister republic, he simply made the province a department of France. Shortly after Christmas on 28 December , anti-French riots took place in Rome, and a French Army brigadier general, Duphot , was assassinated. Pope Pius VI moved quickly and formally apologized to the Directory on 29 December , but the Directory refused his apology.
Instead, Berthier's troops entered Rome and occupied the city on 10 February Thus the Roman Republic was also proclaimed on 10 February The Vatican treasury of thirty million francs was sent to Paris, where it helped finance Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt, and five hundred cases of paintings, statues, and other art objects were sent to France and added to the collections of the Louvre. The Helvetian Republic was proclaimed on 12 April On 26 August , Geneva was detached from the new republic and made part of France.
The treasury of Bern was seized, and, like the treasury of the Vatican, was used to finance Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt. The new military campaigns required thousands of additional soldiers. The Directory approved the first permanent law of conscription , which was unpopular in the countryside, and particularly in Belgium, which had formally become part of France.
Riots and peasant uprisings took place in the Belgian countryside. Blaming the unrest on Belgian priests, French authorities ordered the arrest and deportation of several thousands of them. The idea of a French military expedition to Egypt had been proposed by Talleyrand in a memoir to the French Institute as early as 3 July , and in a letter the following month from Talleyrand to Bonaparte. The Egyptian expedition had three objectives: to cut the shortest route from England to British India by occupying he Isthmus of Suez ; to found a colony which could produce cotton and sugar cane, which were in short supply in France due to the British blockade; and to provide a base for a future French attack on British India.
It also had several personal advantages for Bonaparte: it allowed him to keep a distance from the unpopular Directory, while at the same time staying in the public eye. The Directory itself was not enthusiastic about the idea, which would take its most successful general and his army far from Europe just at the time that a major new war was brewing.
The ambition and pride of Bonaparte could no longer support the idea of not being visible, and of being under the orders of the Directory. The idea presented two other problems: Republican French policy was opposed to colonization, and France was not at war with the Ottoman Empire, to which Egypt belonged. Therefore, the expedition was given an additional scientific purpose: "to enlighten the world and to obtain new treasures for science. The British fleet under Nelson , expecting a French expedition toward Constantinople , was not in position to stop them.
The French fleet stopped briefly at Malta , capturing the island, the government of which offered little resistance.
L'imaginaire historique de François Hollande
Bonaparte's army landed in the bay of Alexandria on 1 July, and captured that city on 2 July, with little opposition. He wrote a letter to the Pascha of Egypt, claiming that his purpose was to liberate Egypt from the tyranny of the Mamluks. His army marched across the desert, despite extreme heat, and defeated the Mameluks at the Battle of the Pyramids on 21 July A few days later, however, on 1 August, the British fleet under Admiral Nelson arrived off the coast; the French fleet was taken by surprise and destroyed in the Battle of the Nile.
Only four French ships escaped. Bonaparte and his army were prisoners in Egypt. Another attempt to support an Irish uprising was made on 7 August The attack was intended to support an uprising of Irish nationalists led by Wolfe Tone. Tone had several meetings with Bonaparte in France to coordinate the timing, but the uprising within the Kingdom of Ireland began early and was suppressed on 14 July before the French fleet arrived.
The French force landed at Killala , in northwest Ireland, on 22 August. It defeated British troops in two small engagements on 24 and 27 August, and Humbert declared the formation of an Irish Republic at Castlebar on 27 August, but the French forces were defeated at the Battle of Ballinamuck on 8 September by the troops of Lord Cornwallis , British Commander-in-chief in Ireland. A second part of the French expeditionary force, not knowing that the first had surrendered, left Brest on 16 September. It was intercepted by the British Navy in the bay of Donegal , and six of the French warships were captured.
Tensions between the United States and France developed into the Quasi-War , an undeclared naval war. The United States insisted on taking a neutral stance in the war between France and Britain. After the Jay Treaty with Britain went into effect in , France began to side against the United States and by had seized over American merchant ships. Federalists favored Britain while Jeffersonian Republicans favored France.
Federalist President John Adams built up the United States Navy , finishing three frigates, approving funds to build three more and sending diplomats to Paris to negotiate. They were insulted by Foreign Minister Talleyrand who demanded bribes before talking. The war was fought almost entirely at sea, mostly between privateers and merchant ships. In , the Convention of Treaty of Mortefontaine ended the conflict.
Britain and Austria had been alarmed by the French creation of Sister Republics. Austria first demanded that France hand over a share of the territory of the new Republics to it. When the Directory refused, Austria began searching for partners for a new military alliance against France. The Czar offered an army of 20, men, sent by sea to Holland on his Baltic fleet. He sent another army of 60, men, veterans of fighting in Poland and Turkey, under his best general, Alexander Suvorov , to join the Austrian forces in northern Italy.
Frederick William maintained his neutrality, refusing to support either side, a setback for France. By the end of , the coalition could count on , soldiers, and would be able to increase the number to , The best French army, headed by Bonaparte, was stranded in Egypt. General Brune had 12, men in Holland; Bernadotte , 10, men on the Rhine; Jourdan, 40, men in the army of the Danube; Massena, 30, soldiers in Switzerland; Scherer, 40, men on the Adige river in northern Italy; and 27, men under Macdonald were based in Naples: a total of , men.
To try to match the coalition forces, the Directory ordered a new call up of young men between the ages of twenty and twenty five to the army, seeking to add two hundred thousand new soldiers. On 10 November , the British and Austrian governments had agreed on a common goal of suppressing the five new sister republics and forcing France back into its borders. Then on 29 November , on the first day of the War of the Second Coalition , the King of Naples launched an attack on Rome, which was lightly defended by French soldiers. A British fleet landed three thousand Neapolitan soldiers in Tuscany.
The next day, 6 December , French soldiers also forced the King of Sardinia to remove his soldiers from Piedmont and to retreat to his island of Sardinia , his last possession. Naples was then occupied on 23 January , and a new Neapolitan republic, the so-called Parthenopean Republic , the sixth under French protection, was proclaimed on 26 January. Peace negotiations with Austria went nowhere in the spring of , and the Directory decided to launch a new offensive into Germany , but the arrival of a Russian army under Alexander Suvorov and fresh Austrian forces under the Archduke Charles for a time changed the balance of power.
Jourdan's army withdrew while Jourdan himself returned to Paris to plea for more soldiers. The forces of the Second Coalition invaded French-occupied Italy, and after five earlier battles, a joint Russian-Austrian army under Suvorov's command defeated Moreau at the Battle of Cassano on 27 April and thus occupied Turin and Milan and thereby took back the Cisalpine Republic from France. Suvorov then defeated the French Army on the Terrivva. To redress the situation, Joubert was named the new head of the Army of Italy on 5 July, but his army suffered defeat by the Russians at the Battle of Novi , on 15 August; Joubert himself was shot through the heart when the battle began, and his army was routed.
In August, the Russians and British opened a new front in the Netherlands. A British army was landed at Helder on 27 August, and was joined by a Russian army. He explained in a letter to the Directory that Egyptian venture was just the beginning of a broader campaign "to create a formidable diversion in the campaign of Republican France versus monarchic Europe. Egypt would be the base of something much larger than the original project, and at the same time a lever which will aid in the creation of a general uprising of the Muslim world.
His long siege and attempts to storm the city were a failure; his army was ravaged by disease, it was down to 11, men, and he learned that an Ottoman army was to be embarked by the British fleet to sail to Cairo to recapture the city. On 17 May, he abandoned the siege and was back in Cairo by 4 June. The British fleet landed the Ottoman army, but as soon as they were ashore they were decisively defeated by Bonaparte at the Battle of Aboukir on 25 July Due to the British blockade of Egypt, Bonaparte had received no news from France for six months.
He sent one of his military aides to meet with Turkish government officials and to try to get news from France, but the officer was intercepted by the British navy. The British admiral and naval commander in the eastern Mediterranean, Sir Sidney Smith , who had lived in Paris and knew France well, gave the officer a packet of recent French newspapers and sent him back to Bonaparte.
Bonaparte spent the night reading the newspapers, learning about the political and military troubles in France. His orders permitted him to return home any time he chose. The next day he decided to return to France immediately. He escaped the British blockade but did not reach France until 9 October. The military position of France, which seemed disastrous during the summer, improved greatly in September. In Switzerland, a Russian Empire Army had split into two. Suvorov was furious at the Austrians, blaming them for not supporting his troops, and he urged the Czar to withdraw his forces from the war.
The royalist uprising in the west of France, planned to accompany the British-Russian-Austrian offensive, was also a failure. The Chouans briefly seized Le Mans on 14 October and Nantes on 19 October, but they were quickly driven out by the French Army, and the rebellion had collapsed by 29 October. Since the beginning of the Revolution, the nation suffered from rampant inflation.
By the time of the Directory, the paper money, the assignat , based on the value of goods confiscated from the church and nobility, had already lost most of its value. Prices had soared, and the government could not print money fast enough to meet its expenses. The value of the assignat had dropped drastically against the value of the livre, a coin from the old regime which contained silver. In , at the beginning the Revolution, an assignat with a face value of livres could be exchanged for nine hundred real livres containing silver. In January, , The Convention decided to issue assignats worth thirty billion livres, without any additional backing by gold.
By March , an assignat with a value of one thousand livres could buy only eighty livres containing metal. In February , the Directory decided to abolish the assignat, and held a public ceremony to destroy the printing plates. The assignat was replaced by a new note, the Mandat territorial. But since this new paper money also lacked any substantial backing, its value also plummeted; by February the Mandat was worth only one percent of its original value.
The Directory decided to return to the use of gold or silver coins, which kept their value. One hundred livres of Mandats was exchanged for twenty sous of metallic money. The difficulty was that the Directory had only enough gold and silver to produce three hundred million livres.
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The result of the shortage of money in circulation was a drastic deflation and drop in prices, which was accompanied by a drop in investment, and a drop in wages. It led to a drop in economic activity, and unemployment. New elections to elect members of the Councils were held between 21 March — 9 April The royalists had been discredited and were gone; the major winners were the neo-Jacobins, who wanted to continue and strengthen the Revolution. The new members of the Council included Lucien Bonaparte , the younger brother of Napoleon, just twenty-four years old. On the strength of his name, he was elected the President of the Council of Five Hundred.
This time the Directors did not try to disqualify the Jacobins but looked for other ways to keep control of the government. It was time to elect a new member of the Directory, as Rewbell had been designated by the drawing of lots to step down. Under the Constitution, the selection of a new member of the Directory was voted by the old members of the Councils, not the newly elected ones.
His idea was to adopt a new Constitution with a supreme court, on the American model, to protect individual rights. He privately saw his primary mission as preventing a return of Reign of Terror of , a new constitution, and bringing the Revolution to a close as soon as possible, by whatever means. Once the elections were complete, the Jacobin majority immediately demanded that the Directory be made more revolutionary. The Councils began meeting on 20 May, and on 5 June they began their offensive to turn the Directors to the left.
The Jacobins in the Council then went a step further and demanded the resignation of two moderate Directors, La Revelliere and Merlin. The Jacobin members immediately began proposing laws that were largely favorable to the sans-culottes and working class, but which alarmed the upper and middle classes.
The Councils imposed a forced loan of one hundred million francs, to be paid immediately according to a graduated scale by all who paid a property tax of over three hundred francs. The Councils also passed a new law that called for making hostages of the fathers, mothers and grandparents of emigre nobles whose children had emigrated or were serving in rebel bands or armies.
These hostages were subject to large fines or deportation in the event of assassinations or property damage caused by royalist soldiers or bandits. This would be the first draft since The new Jacobins opened a new political club, the Club du Manege, on the model of Jacobin clubs of the Convention. One prominent member, General Jourdan, greeted the members at the club's banquet of July 14 with the toast, "to a return of the pikes'", referring to the weapons used by the sans-culottes to parade the heads of executed nobles. The club members also were not afraid to attack the Directory itself, complaining of its lavish furnishings and the luxurious coaches used by Directory members.
His victory over the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Aboukir had been widely reported, and overshadowed the other French victories at the Second Battle of Zurich and the Battle of Bergen. Between Avignon and Paris, he was welcomed by large, enthusiastic crowds, who saw him as a saviour of the Republic from foreign enemies and the corruption of the Directory. Upon his arrival in Paris he was elected to the Institut de France for the scientific accomplishments of his expedition to Egypt. His brother Lucien, though only twenty-four years old, became a prominent figure in the Council of Five Hundred because of his name.
Bonaparte's first ambition was to be appointed to the Directory, but he was not yet forty years old, the minimum age set by the Constitution, and the Director Gohier , a strict legalist, blocked that avenue. He then approached General Moreau , but Moreau was not interested. Nonetheless, they had a strong common interest and, on 6 November , they formalized their plan. The plan called for three Directors to suddenly resign, leaving the country without an Executive. Bonaparte would be named head of government to defend the Republic against the conspiracy; the Councils would be dissolved, and a new Constitution would be written.
If the coup went well, it was simply a parliamentary maneuver; it would be perfectly legal. Bonaparte would provide security and take the part of convincing the Deputies. They did not all support it, but agreed not to stand in his way. The president of the Council of Ancients was also brought into the coup, so he could play his part, and Bonaparte's brother Lucien would manage the Council of Five Hundred.
On the evening of 6 November, the Councils held a banquet at the former church of Saint-Sulpice. Bonaparte attended, but seemed cold and distracted, and departed early. Early in the morning of 9 November, army units began taking positions in Paris, and the members of the Council of Ancients were awakened and instructed to come to the Tuileries Palace for an emergency meeting.
The members were asked to approve a decree to move the meeting site, and to appoint Bonaparte as commander of troops in Paris to assure their security. Alarmed, they quickly approved the decree. Bonaparte himself appeared with his staff and told them, "Citizen representatives, the Republic was about to perish. You learned of it and your decree has just saved it". They agreed to move their meeting the following day to Saint-Cloud. Talleyrand was assigned to win the resignation of Barras. Talleyrand was supplied with a large amount of money to offer Barras to quit; historians differ on whether he gave the money to Barras or kept it for himself.
Barras, seeing the movements of soldiers outside and being assured that he could keep the great wealth he had acquired as a Director, readily agreed to leave the Directory. With three members gone, the Directory could not legally meet. The first day of the coup had gone exactly as planned. On 10 November, the members of both councils were taken in a procession of carriages with a strong military escort to Saint-Cloud. Bonaparte spoke first to the Council of the Ancients, assembled in the Orangerie of the domain of Saint-Cloud, and explained that the Directory was no more.
Bonaparte was received coldly, but the Council did not offer any opposition. He then moved to the Council of Five Hundred, which was already meeting under the presidency of his brother Lucien. Here he received a far more hostile reception from the Jacobin deputies. He was questioned, jeered, insulted, shouted down, and jostled. His brother was unable to restore calm, and some of the Jacobin deputies began to demand that Bonaparte be declared outside the law, as Robespierre had been.
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If the Council voted him outside the law, Bonaparte could be arrested and executed immediately without trial. While the deputies raged and argued, Bonaparte and his brother, escorted by a handful of soldiers, left the Orangerie , approached the unit of grenadiers of General Murat waiting impatiently outside, and told them that the deputies had tried to assassinate Bonaparte with their pens.
The grenadiers charged into the hall and quickly emptied it of deputies. Bonaparte wrote his own official version of what happened, which was published in all newspapers and posted on placards on walls all over France; it vividly described how he had narrowly escaped death from the hands of "twenty Jacobin assassins" and concluded: "The majority returned freely and peacefully to the meeting hall, listened to the propositions which had been made for assuring the public safety, deliberated and prepared a beneficial resolution which should become the new law and basis of the Republic.
With that event, the Directory was finished. A new government, the Consulate , was founded. According to most historians, the French Revolution was over. Despite wars and social turmoil, the population of France continued to grow during the Directory. It was 27,, in , before the Directory, and had grown to 27,, by Annual population growth had dropped from 16 percent in , before the Revolution, to zero in ; but it then rebounded to 36 percent in , then down to 12 percent in Part of the drop in birthrate during the Directory is attributed to the simplification of divorce, and the change in inheritance laws, which granted equal shares to all descendants.
The number of young men killed in the wars during the Directory numbered , between and By the time of the Directory, French society had been dramatically restructured. Nobles and clergy, the two classes which had held most of the power before the Revolution, had disappeared. An estimated one percent of the population, mostly nobles and priests, but also many members of the upper middle class who had supported the monarchy , had emigrated.
The number was even higher in border regions, such as Bas-Rhin , where 4. Under the Directory the middle and upper classes took a dominant position in Paris society, replacing the nobility. Enormous fortunes were made, often by providing supplies to the army or by speculation on real estate. Some parts of the middle and upper classes suffered: the abolition of the old professional guilds of lawyers and doctors brought the ruin of many members, who faced competition from anyone who wanted to use those titles. The merchants and shipowners in Bordeaux, Nantes, Marseille and other ports were ruined by the British naval blockade.
Bankers took on a more prominent role, when investment was scarce. Two new groups gained importance during the Directory. The number of government officials of all levels increased dramatically.
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New has the bureaucracy been carried to a point so so exaggerated, so costly, to exhausting. Generals and other military officers also grew greatly in importance during the Directory and became a caste independent of the political structure. The Directory had abolished the Jacobin system of political commissioners who supervised and could overrule the military commanders. Generals like Bonaparte in Italy, Hoche in Germany and Pichegru in Alsace directed entire provinces according to their own ideas and wishes, with little interference from Paris. The working class and poor in Paris and other large cities suffered particularly from the high inflation during the first part of the Directory, which brought higher prices for bread, meat, wine, firewood and other basic commodities.
In the last two years of the Directory, the problem was the opposite: with the suppression of the assignats , the money became scarce, the economy slowed, and unemployment grew. The Directory distributed scarce food items, such as cooking oil, butter and eggs, to government employees and to members of the Councils. Before the Revolution, taking care of the poor had been the responsibility of the Church. During the Directory, the government, particularly in Paris and other large cities, was forced to take over this role.
To feed the Parisians and prevent food riots, the government bought flour in the countryside at market prices with its silver coins, then gave it to the bakeries, which sold it at the traditional market price of four sous a pound, which was virtually nothing. The subsidies were reduced in the last years of the Directory, paying only for bread, but they were an enormous expense for the Directory. At the beginning, the government tried to provide the standard minimum of one pound of bread a day per person, but the shortage of money reduced the daily ration to sixty grams of bread a day.
The government also tried giving rice as a substitute for bread, but the poor lacked firewood to cook it. Economic problems led to a large increase in crime under The Directory, particularly in the countryside. Bands of the unemployed became beggars and turned to robbery, and brigands robbed travelers along the highways.
Some of the brigands were former royalists turned highwaymen. The government did not have the money to hire more police, and the great majority of the army was occupied fighting in Italy, Switzerland and Egypt. Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Act. Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act. Copyright Act. Subsection 5 1. Paragraph Cultural Property Export and Import Act.
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