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Encyclopedia > 18 Brumaire
Napoléon Bonaparte in the "coup d'état" of 18 brumaire.
Napoléon Bonaparte in the "coup d'état" of 18 brumaire.

18 Brumaire, the coup of 18 Brumaire or sometimes simply Brumaire refers to the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the government of the Directory to replace it by the Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire in the year VIII under the French Republican Calendar. Image File history File links Napoléon Bonaparte in the coup détat of the 18 brumaire. ... Image File history File links Napoléon Bonaparte in the coup détat of the 18 brumaire. ... A coup détat (pronounced ), or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government against the volonté générale formed by the majority of the citizenry, usually done by a smaller supposedly weaker body that just replaces the top power figures. ... Napoleon I of France, by Jacques-Louis David. ... Executive Directory (in French Directoire exécutif), commonly known as the Directory (or Directoire) held executive power in France from November 2, 1795 until November 10, 1799: from the end of the Convention to the beginning of the Consulate. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... November 9 is the 313th day of the year (314th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 52 days remaining. ... 1799 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... The French Republican Calendar or French Revolutionary Calendar is a calendar proposed during the French Revolution, and used by the French government for about twelve years from late 1793. ...


The name, already well-established in common use, was reinforced by the title of Karl Marx's The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte, 1852), an account of 2 December 1851 coup by Napoleon's nephew which begins with the much-quoted "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883 London) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary organizer of the International Workingmens Association. ... The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte is Karl Marxs analysis of Napoleon Bonaparte IIIs coup detat of December 1851, in which he elucidates the social forces and mechanisms at work during the political crisis. ... 1852 was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... December 2 is the 336th day (337th in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1851 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (April 20, 1808 - January 9, 1873) was the son of King Louis Bonaparte and Queen Hortense de Beauharnais; both monarchs of the French puppet state, the Kingdom of Holland. ...

Contents


Context

Ironically, the ground for Bonaparte's coup may have been laid more by his few defeats than by his many victories. In November 1799, France was suffering the effects of military reverses brought on by Bonaparte's adventurism in the Middle East. The looming threat of opportunistic invasion by the Second Coalition had provoked internal unrest, with Bonaparte stuck in Egypt. A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... The name Second Coalition (1798 - 1800) designates the second major concerted effort of multiple European powers to contain Revolutionary France. ...


The coup was first prepared not by Bonaparte, but by the Abbé Sieyès, then one of the five Directors, attempting to head off a return to Jacobinism. Dazzled by Bonaparte's victories in the East, the public ignored the impending calamitous ending of the Egyptian expedition, and received Bonaparte with an ardour which convinced Sieyès that he had found the general indispensable to his coup. Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, 1817, by Jacques-Louis David Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès (May 3, 1748 – June 20, 1836) was a French abbé and statesman, one of the chief theorists of the revolutionary and Napoleonic era. ... In the context of the French Revolution, a Jacobin originally meant a member of the Jacobin Club (1789-1794). ...


However, beginning with his return from Egypt in September 1799, Bonaparte began a coup within the coup. Ultimately, the coup brought Bonaparte, not Sieyès, to power.


Perhaps the gravest potential obstacles to a coup came from the army. Some generals, like Jean-Baptiste Jourdan, honestly believed in republicanism; others, like Bernadotte, believed themselves capable of governing France. With perfect subtlety, Bonaparte worked on the feelings of all and kept his own intentions secret. Jean-Baptiste Jourdan Jean-Baptiste, comte Jourdan (April 29, 1762 – November 23, 1833), was a marshal of France. ... King Charles XIV of Sweden, Charles III of Norway, or domestically Karl XIV Johan and Carl III Johan respectively, Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte (January 26, 1763 – March 8, 1844) was born at Pau, France, the son of Henri Bernadotte (1711–1780), procurator at Pau, and Jeanne St. ...


An army contractor named Collot advanced two million francs to finance the coup. The plan was, through the use of troops conveniently arrayed around Paris, first to persuade the Directors (see French Directory) to resign, then to persuade the two Councils to appoint a pliant commission to draw up a new constitution. The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world Paris is Frances capital and largest city, straddling the river Seine in the northern centre of its country. ... Executive Directory (in French Directoire exécutif), commonly known as the Directory (or Directoire) held executive power in France from November 2, 1795 until November 10, 1799: from the end of the Convention to the beginning of the Consulate. ...


The events of 18 Brumaire in the year VIII

On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of the Council of Elders sympathetic to the coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin conspiracy and persuaded them to remove to Saint-Cloud, west of Paris. Bonaparte was charged with the safety of the two Councils. Later that morning Sieyès and Roger Ducos resigned as Directors; Talleyrand persuaded Barras to do the same. (The presence of troops in the garden outside was, no doubt, rather persuasive.) The Council of Elders is the name given by several organizations to a group of people entrusted in some way with the organizations direction. ... Saint Cloud or St. ... French politician (1747–1816) - Homme politique, philosophe, etc. ... Charles Maurice de Talleyrand Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (February 2, 1754 - May 17, 1838) was a French diplomat. ... Barras may mean: Paul François Jean Nicolas Barras (1755-1829), a French revolutionary and the main executive leader of the Directory regime of 1795 - 1799 Inhabitant of Ovifat, a Belgian town. ...


The resignation of three Directors was sufficient to destroy the quorum, but the two Jacobin Directors, Gohier and Moulin, refused to resign. Moulin escaped; Gohier was taken prisoner. However, the two Councils were not immediately intimidated and continued to meet. Moulins or Moulin (French for mill) is the name or part of the name of several communes in France. ...


The events of 19 Brumaire

By the following day, the deputies had, for the most part, worked out that they were facing an attempted coup rather than being protected from a Jacobin rebellion. Faced with their recalcitrance, Bonaparte stormed into the chambers accompanied by a small escort of grenadiers. While perhaps unplanned, this proved to be the coup within the coup: from this point, this was a military affair.


Accounts of Bonaparte's confrontation with the councils differ; the following two paragraphs might be improved by resort to more sources.


Bonaparte met with heckling as he addressed the Council of Ancients with such "home truths" as, "the Republic has no government" and, most likely, "the Revolution is over." One deputy called out, "And the Constitution?" Bonaparte replied, referring to earlier parliamentary coups, "The Constitution! You yourselves have destroyed it. You violated it on 18 Fructidor; you violated it on 22 Floreal; you violated it on 30 Prairial. It no longer has the respect of anyone." The Council of Ancients or Council of Elders (French: Conseil des Anciens) was the upper house of the Directory (French: Directoire), the legislature of France from August 22, 1795 until November 9, 1799, roughly the second half of the period generally referred to as the French Revolution. ... Executive Directory (in French Directoire exécutif), commonly known as the Directory (or Directoire) held executive power in France from November 2, 1795 until November 10, 1799: from the end of the Convention to the beginning of the Consulate. ...


Bonaparte withdrew to the Orangerie, where the Council of Five Hundred was meeting. His reception here was even more hostile: Napoleon and the grenadiers entered just as the legality of Barras' resignation was being challenged by the Jacobins in the chamber. Upon entering, Napoleon was first jostled, then outright assaulted. Depending on whose account is accepted, he may or may not have come close to fainting. Not Napoleon himself, but his brother Lucien, President of the Council, called upon the grenadiers to defend their leader. Napoleon escaped, but only through the use of military force. Categories: Stub ... The Council of Five Hundred (Conseil des Cinq-Cents), or simply the Five Hundred was the lower house of the legislature of France during the period commonly known (from the name of the executive branch during this time) as the Directory (Directoire), from August 22, 1795 until November 9, 1799... Lucien Bonaparte, painted by François-Xavier Fabre, after 1800. ...


A motion was raised in the Council of Five Hundred to declare Napoleon Bonaparte an outlaw. At this point, Lucien Bonaparte apparently slipped out of the chamber and told the soldiers guarding the parliament that the majority of the Five Hundred were being terrorised by a group of deputies brandishing daggers. Then, according to Michael Rapport, "He pointed to Napoleon's bloody, pallid face as proof. Then, in a theatrical gesture, he seized a sword and promised to plunge it through his own brother's heart if he were a traitor."


Lucien ordered the troops to expel the violent deputies from the chamber. Grenadiers under the command of General Murat marched into the Orangerie and dispersed the Council. This was, effectively the end of the Directory. Joachim Murat, King of Naples, Marshal of France Murat portrait, by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, c. ...


The Ancients passed a decree which adjourned the Councils for three months, appointed Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Ducos provisional consuls, and named the Legislative Commission. Some tractable members of the Five Hundred, swept up afterwards, served to give these measures the confirmation of their House. Thus the Directory and the Councils came to an end.


Aftermath

The Directory was crushed, but the coup within the coup was not yet complete. The necessity to use military force had certainly strengthened Bonaparte's hand vis a vis Sieyès and the other plotters. With the Council routed, the plotters convened two commissions, each consisting of twenty-five deputies from the two Councils and essentially intimidated them into declaring a provisional government, the first form of the consulate with Bonaparte, Sieyès, and Roger-Ducos as consuls, and then into drawing up what Malcolm Crook refers to as the "short and obscure Constitution of the Year VIII" [1], the first of the constitutions since the Revolution without a Declaration of Rights. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Constitution of the Year VIII, was a national constitution of France adopted December 24, 1799 (during the Year VIII of the French Revolutionary Calendar) established a form of government known as the Consulate. ...


The lack of reaction from the streets proved that the revolution was, indeed, over. In the words of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, "A shabby compound of brute force and imposture, the 18th Brumaire was nevertheless condoned, nay applauded, by the French nation. Weary of revolution, men sought no more than to be wisely and firmly governed." Resistance by Jacobin officeholders in the provinces was quickly crushed, twenty Jacobin legislators were exiled, and others were arrested. Supporters contend that the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1910-1911) represents the sum of human knowledge at the beginning of the 20th century; indeed, it was advertised as such. ...


Bonaparte completed his coup within a coup by the adoption of a constitution under which the First Consul, a position he was sure to hold, had greater power than the other two. In particular, he appointed the Senate and the Senate interpreted the constitution. The Bonapartist Senate allowed him to rule by decree, so the more independent State Council and Tribunate degenerated into the status of window dressing.


See also

This is a glossary of the French Revolution. ...

External references

  • "The Myth of the 18 Brumaire", Malcolm Crook, Keele University, UK
  • Several of the direct quotations in the article come from "Napoleon's rise to power", Michael Rapport History Today Jan, 1998. Currently, this text is online only through a paid site.
  • This article also draws on material from the article "French Revolution" in the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.

  Results from FactBites:
 
18 Brumaire - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1144 words)
Napoléon Bonaparte in the "coup d'état" of 18 brumaire.
On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of the Council of Elders sympathetic to the coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin conspiracy and persuaded them to remove to Saint-Cloud, west of Paris.
You violated it on 18 Fructidor; you violated it on 22 Floreal; you violated it on 30 Prairial.
French Directory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3556 words)
This occurred on November 9, 1799, which was 18 Brumaire in the year VIII under the French Revolutionary Calendar.
On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of the Council of Ancients sympathetic to the coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin conspiracy and persuaded them to remove to Saint-Cloud, west of Paris.
In the words of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, "A shabby compound of brute force and imposture, the 18th Brumaire was nevertheless condoned, nay applauded, by the French nation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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