The ‘Brumaire Coup’

I)The Consulate

  • I. 25 December 1799 Constitution: Napoleon Bonaparte as First Consul
  • A. The constitution was approved in the Dec 1799 plebiscite
  • B.1802- Napoleon becomes “consul for life”
  • C. 2 Dec 1804- Crowned ‘Emperor of France”

II) The Napoleonic Years

  • A Firm Rule
  • Centralism and Growth of Powers by the State
  • Reconciliation
  • Balancing Revolutionary Legacy and Social Conservatism.

By 1799 Napoleon was already immensely popular- conspirators against the Directory thought that by getting his support they would be able to have the support of the army. They saw his role as limited to brute force and raw resources, and not the major political role that he ended up playing.  The deputies were not given choice as to their being deposed/changed, but by no means as bloody a coup as ones preceding them. Three men (including Napoleon) were in charge of drafting a new Constitution. The electoral process would be restricted to ‘notables’ a selected few. The role of elections was very much reduced. Power was instead directed into the hands of the three consuls. The consuls are given 10 year mandate….but Napoleon changed legislation that made him ‘consul for life’…and then subsequently crowned emperor of France. Napoleon maintained popularity for a long time, despite destructive tendencies and a thirst for power….conquests, ect. Napoleon became a symbol and instigator of nationalism. Napoleon’s greatest contribution was his ability to bring back order and stability to France.

Centralization and Uniformity of Government…Napoleon picked the head of les departments

Used the military to restore order and as a policing power….controlled bandits and criminals

Careful to imprison his political opponents to reduce threat of being overthrown

Napoleon closed down political arena, gave himself a monopoly of gov’t

Rewarded those who were cooperative and supportive….used people of influence and skill to his advantage.

Napoleon controlled his image and impressions upon the French people….somewhat like a celebrity or governor. Built legitimacy through propaganda

Napoleon and Catholic church ‘struck a deal’…they regained a certain level of their former autonomy and power, but had to remain tolerant and had  lesser levels of power that they did  pre-1789. Émigrés were allowed to return to the country, but not to regain their former properties

COMPROMISES A MAJOR THEME- an alternative to extremist, black and white perspectives of the revolution preceding

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