The Directory

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What steps would you take to end the
Terror and restore order in France?
Abolish
Revolutionary
Tribunal
Law of Prairial
Repealed
Jacobin Club
closed
25% of Deputies of CPS
and CGS had to be
changed each month
Abolish Paris
Commune
No longer recognise
Cult of Supreme
Being
Establish freedom
of religion
Abolish price
controls
Quickly categorise these into political,
economic and social.
Match the event to the description
Germinal
This imposed strict separation of powers with a bicameral legislature (Council of 500 and Council of Ancients) and a
executive of 5 called the Directory. Although all men over 21 could vote in primary assemblies, the electors (chosen in
primary assemblies) had to pay taxes equivalent to 100-200 days labour. Elections would be held every year and one
member of the Directory would change every year. This new system caused instability and paralysis in the French
government. It decreed that 2/3 of the deputies in the Councils had to be chosen from the Convention, which outraged
different groups in society.
Prairial
This was an attack on the former terrorists (Jacobins) by returned emigres. Many took their vengeance on those that had
been part of the watch committees and inflicted terror. It was confined to areas like the Loire, and more violent in the
Vendee. There was a movement called Chouan opposed to conscription in the countryside, but this was stopped with
140,000 troops from the French Army. All was not peaceful though and there continued to be prison massacres in Lyon and
murders by youth gangs through to 1797.
White
Terror
The King’s brother, Louis XVIII issued the Verona Declaration in October 1795, which promised to restore the ancient
constitution of France and ‘stolen properties’. Rebellion broke out in Paris and 25,000 marched on the Convention. The
Convention was again defended by the army with cannons and led by Napoleon Bonaparte – 300 were killed.
Constitutio This was a demonstration in which 10,000 unarmed people marched on the Convention demanding bread. The winter of
n of Year
1794-5 had been the worst and the abolition of the Law of Maximum had meant that the assignats had further fallen in
III
value. By May 1795, they were 4% of their 1790 value. The demonstrators did not receive any support from the National
Guards and so they withdrew without resistance.
Rising of
Vendemiai
re
This was an armed hunger rising of house wives who invaded the National Convention. There was some support from
National Guards and chaos for 3 hours until the Convention agreed to a Food Commission. The Convention sent the real
army to surround the suburbs of Paris and forced the sans culottes to give up their weapons. There were 6 executions after
this and 40 arrests, but importantly, this event marked the end of the sans culottes.
Germinal
This was a demonstration in which 10,000 unarmed people marched on the Convention demanding bread. The winter of
1794-5 had been the worst and the abolition of the Law of Maximum had meant that the assignats had further fallen in
value. By May 1795, they were 4% of their 1790 value. The demonstrators did not receive any support from the National
Guards and so they withdrew without resistance.
Prairial
This was an armed hunger rising of house wives who invaded the National Convention. There was some support from
National Guards and chaos for 3 hours until the Convention agreed to a Food Commission. The Convention sent the real
army to surround the suburbs of Paris and forced the sans culottes to give up their weapons. There were 6 executions after
this and 40 arrests, but importantly, this event marked the end of the sans culottes.
White
Terror
This was an attack on the former terrorists (Jacobins) by returned emigres. Many took their vengeance on those that had
been part of the watch committees and inflicted terror. It was confined to areas like the Loire, and more violent in the
Vendee. There was a movement called Chouan opposed to conscription in the countryside, but this was stopped with
140,000 troops from the French Army. All was not peaceful though and there continued to be prison massacres in Lyon and
murders by youth gangs through to 1797.
Constitutio This imposed strict separation of powers with a bicameral legislature (Council of 500 and Council of Ancients) and a
n of Year
executive of 5 called the Directory. Although all men over 21 could vote in primary assemblies, the electors (chosen in
III
primary assemblies) had to pay taxes equivalent to 100-200 days labour. Elections would be held every year and one
member of the Directory would change every year. This new system caused instability and paralysis in the French
government. It decreed that 2/3 of the deputies in the Councils had to be chosen from the Convention, which outraged
different groups in society.
Rising of
Vendemiai
re
The King’s brother, Louis XVIII issued the Verona Declaration in October 1795, which promised to restore the ancient
constitution of France and ‘stolen properties’. Rebellion broke out in Paris and 25,000 marched on the Convention. The
Convention was again defended by the army with cannons and led by Napoleon Bonaparte – 300 were killed.
In the revolutionary chaos of the past 6 years, nobody
expected the Directory to last for very long, but it had a few
factors that helped it survive…
• It had the support of the Army – this defended it against attack from
different groups. It was also the only body that could really bring down the
Directory.
• Apathy – the people of France had become tired of 6 years of revolution
and 2 years of Terror and wanted some stability.
• The opponents of the Directory had been discredited – Robespierre had
caused the downfall of the Jacobins; the Girondins had gone with Brissot;
the sans culottes had been undermined by the CPS; there was still a good
buffer against the royalists and the Verona Declaration, plus the royalists
were divided.
• The Directory was committed to the rule of law – many wanted this
stability and consistency in France. They were willing to accept a
compromise.
The Babeuf Plot, 1796
Brumaire
Revival of Jacobinism
War 1794-9
The Coup d’Etat of Fructidor
Why did the Directory face
problems?
Financial Reform
Summarise the main problems faced
by the Directory in one sentence for
each box.
The Babeuf Plot, 1796
First communist? Wanted no private
property – disagreed with elitist Year
III constitution.
Wanted to persuade the police and
army to overthrow the Directory.
His plot was uncovered and he was
arrested – he had no support from the
sans culottes.
The Coup d’Etat of Fructidor, 1797
Elections of 1797 brought in large
amount of monarchists in provincial
departments and in the Councils e.g.
Carnot.
Only 2 Directors were republican and
they called on the Army for help –
Bonaparte seizes strong points in
Paris.
53 Royalist deputies arrested and 2
Directors incl. Carnot.
Elections annulled and deportations
to Guinea. Local government
appointments made by Directors –
end of Year III Constitution.
Directory took action against emigres
and refractory priests. Priests had to
swear an oath of hatred to royalty.
The coup secured the Directory but
made Catholic enemies too.
Brumaire
Napoleon to join Sieyes in coup – 3 Consuls with new
constitution – St Cloud safer due to Jacobins in Paris
Napoleon addressed both Councils and was attacked by
Jacobin Deputies – brother came to rescue and told
troops that deputies were trying to kill their general –
the Army then cleared the meeting hall.
Remaining Councils agreed to abolish Directory and
replace with executive committee of 3 incl. Sieyes and
Napoleon.
There was no popular outrage to this – people were
apathetic and tired of the Directory.
Why did the Directory face
problems?
Financial Reform
Mandats territoriaux – new currency – soon lost value
and disappeared.
Metal coins now the only legal tender – deflation.
Ramel, Minister for Finance, balanced the budget for
the first time in 1797. There was bankruptcy of 2/3 as
he tried to convert 2/3 of the national debt into bonds.
He was helped by the smaller military expenditure that
came from peace with Austria.
Increased revenue by 4 forms of direct taxation – land,
windows/doors, movable property, trading – lasting
success.
Central commissioners collected taxes.
Revenue from plunder of foreign states invaded – Italy
and Germany.
Revival of Jacobinism
1798 conscription reintroduced – very unpopular
especially in Belgium.
1799 military situation desperate – 50 Jacobins elected
who influence a new levee en masse and a forced loan of
100 million livres on the rich.
Law of Hostages applied to relatives of emigres. Terror
again?
BUT – only 10m livres raised, 60% army uptake and LOH
not enforced – collapse of government in the provinces.
Chaos.
Sieyes looks to the Army for a coup to restore order.
War 1794-9
Prussians and Dutch made peace with France in 1795.
Carnot – main focus Austria.
Secondary campaign – Napoleon in Italy, but he marched
successfully through Italy to Austria first (winning loyalty
of his men).
Napoleon negotiated the peace treaty at Leoben with
Austria on his own, without listening to the Directory.
War with Britain continued – needed strong navy. Irish?
Territory in Belgium, Switzerland and the Papal States –
Pope fled.
1797 – height of French power.
1798 – try to get to Britain by attacking Egypt – French
defeated at the Battle of the Nile.
Encourages Second Coalition with Russia.
French had to withdraw from Italy and the Russians moved
into Switzerland. But Russians withdrew in 1799 due to
quarrels with Austria.
What are the successes and failures of the
Directory?
Go over your information sheet and highlight any successes and any
failures in different colours.
Annual elections produced undesirable
outcomes so the election results were
manipulated
Own Contradictions
Reliant on the Army for
Support
There were coups from within
the Directory – Fructidor and
Brumaire
Vendemiaire and Prairial
risings put down by force.
Directory still relied on terror
when it needed to e.g. 1798
Constitution Year III (annual
elections) meant deputies were
not as attached to the Directory
and willing to accept the changes
proposed by Sieyes
77% of Deputies go into
Consulate
Why was the Directory
overthrown?
Conventional Support Bases
Alienated
100m livres attack on wealthy
alienated notables
People had become tired of
the war
Refused to participate in the
Directory = apathy
Needed victories for
propaganda
Directory needed to keep
ambitious generals and
soldiers out of France
The Directory was reliant on
the War
Needed to plunder foreign
lands to offset the national
debt and help economy
Military defeats from 1798
and Second Coalition brought
Jacobin revival – this turned
many against the Directory
for renewed fear of the Terror
Was it Napoleon’s own merits that brought him to
power or was he in the right place at the right time?
Make a quick plan for this with arguments on both sides.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeNYDw
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