Articles on France, section History 1789-1815 - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries



Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1885-1892


Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Revolution von Frankreich
Revolution of France. Undoubtedly the foremost topic of political interest in our days.
The limitation in space which the concept of this publication establishes, permits us barely to deal with the main features of this great event. A short description of the most consequentious appearances, a summaric description of the most conspicuous and decisive results and the most probable outcomes, this is all one is justified in expecting from us. In order to make easier the overview, we will separate the proper events of the revolution from the military events.
When listing the main caused for this great event, we mainly have to guard against bias, to which so many, who described the event, fell victim. So, not the ruin of the finances and the burden of debt, which pressed France, not the excess in taxes, not the pressure of ministerial and aristocratic despotism, not the North American War (the school of the spirit of freedom), not he greed for rank, the ambition and btterness of the House Orleans, not the generally spread enlightenment, not the influence of political free spirits, none of these causes. isolated and alone, would have been capable to cause such a complete reorganization, but all had to meet and to function with innumerably small or hidden driving wheels in order to have this great work see the light of day.
Louis XIV., by the love of luxury and by his wars had exhausted his kingdom, and left behind a debt of 4,600 million livres. Louis XV., without a sense for state economy and the dignity of a regent, had an experienced adviser in the modest Fleury, but stock manoeuvres, usury and subsidized grain trade belonged to the tools he knew and used. With favourable prejudices, under good omina Louis XVI. ascended the defiled throne in 1774, a benevolent, simple, open, religious prince, a friend of the people, full of eagerness for truth and justice, a model of domestic virtues, but too malleable, without autonomy and determination, a game of alien inspirations and intrigues, careless, clumsy, stubborn against weak and honest opposition, shy and clumsy when it came to public speech and action, unable to defend the dignity of kingship and to uphold the glory of the highest throne.
A contrast to Louis XIV. His spouse, inebriated with the greatness of rule, luxury-loving and vain, an enemy of strict decency, passionate in pleasure, unaware of the spirit and condition of the French nation, and disconcerning in her judgment. The immense burden of debt had turned the taxes into an unaffordable burden for the lower nobility and the peasants, the misery of whom was worse as in the districts where serfdom still prevailed. The tax farmers exploited the provinces, while the higher nobiliy and the grand prelates lived a life of luxury in the capital. Paris was the gullet which devoured the prosperity of the emaciated country. The wantonness of the courtiers outraged the simple nobleman who lived misjudged and poor in the countryside and who found himself discriminated against everywhere. Proud the higher clergy, to a large part without religion and morals, looked down upon the useful priest, who suffered in poverty and disdain and who shared the fate of the people, whom only he could consolate. Instead tolerance through her greatest protagonist, Voltaire, had won the old trial against irrationality and fanaticism, and won a few rights for the Protestants, which came late and were but a shadow of their former and legal possessions. Everything pointed at the minority of the people approaching its end. Voltaire, Rousseau and others had brought into circulation new ideas in regard to the rights of subjects and the obligations of the rulers, and a public opinion had formed, which criticized the attitude of the court party.
Which pillars could uphold the shaking throne ? The old Maurepas, a shallow courtier, laboriously moved the state machinery on on the trodden path. The great financial expert Türgot, in whom Sully's spirit continued, and the Count de Saint-Germain, one of the greatest masters of the new art of war, where to temporary appearances on the stage of state administration, too isolated in order to implement their plans which were focussed on order and economy. Necker perhaps had Turgot's integrity, but not his spirit and self denial; vain, limited, in his arsenal of trade knowledge, the science of loans and of stock manoeuvres he only found methods to cover up the crisis, not to overcome it. His successor, the dishonest Calonne, completed the disorganisation of state finances. Vergennes, the successor of Maurepas, might have delayed the fall of the monarchy by a generation, if he would have been the predecessor of the former. In the meantime, the war with England [!] over the independence of the American Colonies certainly was not a masterstroke of high policy. Under Washington's flag, La Fayette developed into a defender of liberty, became the hero of his nation, and carried the seed of Republicanism in him to France, where, planted in the army, it quickly grew roots. What the wisdom of the ministry could not accomplish, to fill the large financial gap, national reason in form of the Assembly of Notables (1787) was to accomplish. The new financial director, de Brienne, a shrewd courtier and clever profiteur, was the soul which was to inspire this weak and semi-paralyzed body. But also his measures were single-sided palliatives, and they caused indignation because of their arbitraryness and injustice. Corvee labour was abolished and converted into a tax. The stubborn parliament which refused to sign a loan of 450 million livres in its register, was referred by the king to Troyes; it protested against despotism. Orleans took he helm of the opposition, and the necessity of the convocation of an assembly of the Estates General, which had not met since 1614, a prospect which filled the court with fear, but which was the wish and hope of the nation, became, by the parliament (its only organ), soon a pressing necessity. The court had to destroy this organ in order to suffocate the voice of the people; it was to be annihilated, or to be turned into supreme court. This long-prepared and feared event occurred on May 8th 1788, when all parliaments of the realm were abolished by edict, to give way to a Cour Pleniere, which opened its sessions immediately. The parliaments protested, and loud indignation echoed from all regions of the kingdom, the last, powerless bristling of an institution, in which the nation saw the only defensive wall against despotism, in which the nobility saw the guarantor and protagonist of her rights. Bretagne and Dauphine were the first to raise the flag of rebellion. The authorities and the military, themselves disloyal to the interests of the court, responded lackluser in quelling a rebellion they regarded sacred. For three months fermenation took place in the kingdom's interior. The court party trembled, and decided to give in. On August 8th an edict was published which called for the general convention of the Estates General in 1789, a great step in the direction of a reconciliation with the people, which created not much of a sensation as it occurred too late, as it seemed too much to be caused by necessity, and it was only to appease to public sentiment in order to obtain approval for despotic measures which were to follow. Because soon after the payments of the royal treasury faltered, a royal edict reduced them to 3/5, or in other words declared a bankrupcy of 40 %.
Still the nation faithfully longed for Necker. He was recalled, with him returned credit and courage.
Necker first had the parliaments restored and given back their rights, and the payments were resumed because he guaranteed credit. The diligence of the minister of finances was nourished by the hope that he might be able to control the National Assembly in the same way as he did with the Assembly of Notables. A general frenzy inebriated France, a thousand voices praised the return of a golden age, but innumeral obstacles held back the rise of national spirit. The estate of the burghers, dispirited by long humiliation and by distance from the general interest, in timid narrow-mindedness was stuck to formalities, and a paltry conflict about ranks was the prelude to the sublime struggle for liberty and equality. The newly conquered provinces deserves an equal share in representation, their just claims triggered the jealousy of the old privileged regions. To this added in most provinces the old aristocratic spirit of the nobility, to whom any sacrifice seemed a crime. The nobility of Dauphine, instead, gave the first example of patriotic selflessness, and in its assembly it decided to limit the number of their deputees, gave up their exemption from taxation and declared its willingness of having all three chambers merged into one single chamber. Not so gentle did the princes of the royal family proceed. By proud claims, arrogant statements and by daring insistance on inherited privileges they inflamed the people, who began to sense power and rights. In the meantime in November the Assembly of the Notables took the stage with modest decency. The Third Estate only demanded to provide half of the delegates, so that it would provide 600 delegates, the nobility 300 and the clergy 300, a modest suggestion by 19/20 of the population.
In January 1789 the edict of convocation was published, which ordered the Estates to assemble on April 2nd. The king wisely was advised to move the assembly to Blois or to another provincial city. But Necker, who was the main voice, did not have a clear plan, did not have insight in the organization of a large diet; he confidently believed in his own reputation, and remained inactive in the circumstances, which he was as unable to predict as he was in controlling them. Still the decision had not yet been made how the Three Estates were to vote, either by curia or by the number of heads. The Dauphine Assembly already had opted for a vote by the number of heads. If this proposal was accepted, the superiority of the Third Estate was decided beforehand. But a considerable part of the nobility had been sufficiently noble, already in 1787, to recommend this form of voting, which brought with it so much danger for its interest. All provinces had given instructions to their delegates, which are called Cahiers, and the contents of of almost all of them, in a strange contradiction, aimed at a thorough reorganization of France without giving up any outdated privilege of an individual region or corporation. The assembly now met on the great stage of politics, a colourful mixture of youth and of the aged, of dukes and peasants, of prelates and village priests, of merchants and advocates; a living contrast of court etiquette and rural simplicity, of insight into human nature and lack of experience, of insistance in status and innocence, of imposant pride and of shyness. The Third Estate, excluded from the business of state for almost 200 years, while having the greates talents, showed a lack in confidence, in skills which are the fruit of experience and of business. But a few spirits gave them decisive superiority. Count Mirabeau, expelled by the nobility, dedidacted to the Third Estate his eloquence, and became the terror of his caste. Sieyes, a cold thinker, knowledgable of all political writings, in modest obscurity took control of the levers with which he has controlled the great machine until now. Aber Mounier from Grenoble, by the thorough knowledge of constiutions and governments determined to be the eye of the assembly and the former of a new state, wore down his energy in fighting the resistance which was met by stubborn preference for the British constitution. All, as much as they differed in their principles, felt the necessity of a thorough reform. The Third Estae was joined, in part because of bitterness toward the court, in part out of desparation, which only searched a way out in violent revolutions, in part because of noble enthusiasm, by several members of the highest nobility, the notorious Duke of Orleans who would have been a blemish for any estate, the Dukes of Aiguillon, of Aumont, of Rochefoucaud, the brothers Lameth, Noailles, Montmorency, and the most diligent and talented defenders of the court and of the old morbid constitution, a Cazales, a Malouct, an abbot Moucy, were either of lower nobility or of the Third Estate.
Almost a months was lost over deisputes over rank and formalities. Finally on May 5th certificates of authority were exchanged. The majoriy of the nobility determinedly rejected a merger with the Third Estate. The clergy did join the Third Estate, and the combined assembly of both on June 17th declared itself to be the National Assembly. But already on June 20th a royal edict dissolved the assembly. The courageous deputees assembled in the ball house at Versailles, lead by the noble Bailly, and swore not to disband, but to live free or to die. Now a royal session was announced, and again the Third Estate was bitterly humiliated by, while waiting for the king, being left to stand in the rain, while the First and Second Estate were inside the palace. The monarch, in the spirit of unrestricted omnipotence, annulled the decision of June 17th, and ordered the vote to be taken by curia and not by heads. Not a word of the constitution, of liberty, of the responsibility of ministers, merely expressions of despotism worthy of Louis XI. This powerless despotism provoked the resistance of the assembly which sensed its strength. It held its session. The king's master of ceremonies appeared, demanding them to disband, but the president declared that he would only take orders from the assembly. Orleans and a large group of the First Estate now publicly joined he Third Estate; persuaded by the Count of Artois, now the remainder of the nobility decided to join in; now the Constituent Assembly was organized.
A force of 50,000 men under the command of Broglio was held between Paris and Versailles, to keep the people under control, and only caused anger and displeasure. Necker, cursed by the court party, but burdened with the longing expectations of the people, had to leave Paris and the minisry on July 12th.
On July 14th the Bastille was stormed, the first energetic act by the people, the first occurrance of wild revenge. A National Guard of 30,000 men forms under la Fayette. The king comes to Paris and confirms la Fayette as commander of the Natuional Guard and Bailly as mayor of Paris. General jubilation sanctifies this decision. The Count of Artois and other nobles now emigrate to Koblenz. Necker is recalled. On August 4th the National Assembly ceremoniously proclaims the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, and in consequence abolishes the feudal system and the privileges of the nobility and of the clergy. Emigration becomes a more frequent occurrance, but the party of Orleans raises her head more boldly. On October 4th to 5th a party of licentious women and of good-for-nothings, Orleans' mercenaries, moved to Versailles, broke into the palace, without the reputation of la Fayete being able to steer the rabble. The life of the queen was threatened, her guards became victims of the fury of the mob, blood was spilled in the halls of the palace. The king, deprived of his liberty, and the assembly, lead by the rabble, moved to Paris, and the rule of the unenlightened mob had been decided upon. The National Assembly, to expurge all memory of the old privileges, divided France in 83 departements, and these into cantons, districts and municipalities, France now had been reorganized. Liege merged with the new state. On February 4th 1790, Louis XVI., in order to end mistrust, confirmed the new constitution, which is by far not completed yet. The royal domains are declared property of the state (in April); the king only retains palaces and forests. In order to pay off the national debt, at the suggestion of Talleyrand and Mirabeau, the lands of the clergy are confiscated by the state, and 1400 million Assignats issued, to which these lands serve as security. The king's civil list is fixed at 25 million, the apanage of the royal princes at 1 million (on June 9th). Of the rights of the nobles only hollow symbols were left. Even these they had to give up, as on the suggestion of Noaille on June 19th all titles and coats of arms were abolished. Necker gave account in front of the assembly, and left his post, the hopes invested in him unrealized, not capable, to take thorough measures to cover the deficit. The civil oath which the clergy is to take because of a decision of November 27th causes more unrest, and the pope forbids the oath on pain of ban. The factions which emerge in the National Assembly divide all of France. The Jacobins and Cordeliers to not find a sufficient counterweight in the party of the friends of the king, who call themselves Feuillans. Mirabeau, who strives with all his energy for order and a monarchic constitution, dies on April 2nd 1791, and leaves the shaking throne without support. Now the wishes of the secret republicans become louder and louder. The king, a slave in his palace, pressed by all parties, decides to flee to the border. In the night of June 20th to 21st the plan is set into action. He escapes with wife and children through an unguarded door of the palace, and already is close to the border, where Bouille had established a camp near Montmedy (near Luxemburg) to cover the flight. The Count of Provence, the king's brother, escaped at the same time and happily reached the German border. But the king's plan failed. Drouet, postmaster at St. Menehould, recognized him, overtook him at Varennes, and the king was accompanied back to Paris under a strong guard. Here the wildest srggle between the Jacobins and the Feuillans began. The former pressed for the deposition of the faithless monarch. But the moderate party prevailed, and Louis XVI. was confirmed on his throne. On September 14th he took an oath on the cmpleted constitution, was declared the head of army and navy, was given a council of 6 ministers, which were responsible only to the nation, but the monarch was to be inviolable. How badly was this oath repaid to him !
The quick progress of the French deputees long had caused the concern and displeasure of the rulers, and the loss German princes suffered because of the decision of the French National Assembly sped up the spread of dissatisfaction. On August 18th 1791 the Diet of Regensburg declared that German princes who own land in the Alsace had been affected by by the abolition of the feudal system, of corvee labour and of feudal jurisdiction twi years earlier, acts which violated their rights, rights which had been guaranteed by the treaties of Münster, Rijswijk and Nijmegen, and calls on the German Empire to protect the violated constitution. At the same time, Emperor Leopold II., Friedrich Wilhelm II., King of Prussia, and other princes and Count Artois met at Pillnitz near Dresden and formed an alliance with the goal to uphold the monarchic constitution in France, to liberate the king and to maintain Germany's integrity.
Under hese prospects the first National Assembly concluded her sessions, after a wise law had been passed, according to which none of her members was to be elected to the second. The new assembly called the Legislative Assembly, convened and opened its session on October 1st. The most excellent heads in this assembly were deternmined republicans, and the monarchist party, except for Vaubane, had little to counter them. There was no lack of young men without experience and knowledge of the world, tending to quick decisions, full of arrogance, impatient to play great roles as reformers and legislators. The completed constitution left little room for grandiose reforms. Improvement of police and of internal administration was too difficult regarding their lack of insight, and too boring for their firy eagerness. They wanted to be creative, and this they only could be if they infringed upon the constitution, returned to chaos. The king repeatedly had invited the emigres to return, but in vain. Now the Legislative Assebly moved to confiscate their belongings, reserving the rights of their heirs (February 9th 1792). Louis XVI. refused to sanction this harsh decree. He also refused to give his approval to the decision to ban the obstinate priests (who refused to take the oath of a citizen). His usage of the veto right caused ill will. Doubts were raised regarding the honesty of the monarch, he was blamed of being in understanding with the emigres and with the foreign powers. Along the borders, troops under Luckner, Fayette and Rochambeau were concentrated. When news arrived of an alliance being concluded between Prussia and Austria on February 7th, Louis XVI. inquired by his minister at the Viennese court in regard to the intentions of Leopold II., and repeated the protest against the praparations for war by the emigres assembled in Koblenz, against which the Emperor did not take sufficient measures. Leopold II. gave a resolute response : he did not regard Louis XVI. a free person, and as a monarch it was his obligation to save the honour of the monarchies, and as Emperor, to stand in for the honour of the German princes. In this manifesto, Kaunitz poured the most bitter gall over the Jacobins. Leopold II. died on March 6th, but his deah did not alter the ruling system, so France declared war on him on April 20th. Rochambeau opened hostilities in the Netherlands, and his successor Luckner took several places. (the course of the war see in the following article). Intercepted letters by the emigres, the threatening Manifesto of the Duke of Braunschweig [in English often referred to as Brunswick], who spoke in the name of Louis, the refusal of the latter to approve the establishment of a large army camp near the capital, heated up the fanaticism of the Jacobins to the state of rage. Petion, the new mayor of Paris, was fully devoted to them. He permitted it to happen that the people on August 9th-10th stormed the Tuileries, murdered the Swiss guards and all court servants they met, and caused the royal family to seek refuge in the National Assembly, from where Louis XVI. with wife and children were led away as prisoners, into the temple. Soon the king was informed of the decision which deposed him from the throne. The murder of he prisoners and of the loyal servants of the court on September 2nd to 3rd - one of the most shameful stains in the annals of the world - was only a prelude to inhuman atrocities which later were committed in the name of the authority of the law.
The National Assembly, after deposing Louis XVI., declared their task to be fulfilled, and called for September 20th for a National Convent to convene, and to put together a new constitution. The Convent was opened on September 21st, and the most irate Jacobins, among them Orleans and his supporters, took their seats therein. Its first decision : France were a republic. Next it declares the French people to offer all peoples willing to become free fraernity and armed support, but wouls treat those who wanted to remain slaves as their enemies and as the enemies of humanity. The tumultuary trial against Louis XVI. was orchestrated, conducted with unvbending harshness, with disregard to all juridical forms. State attorney and judge were one and the same person, the law which had declared the king for inviolable had to be silent.
In terms of revolutionary atrocities, the year 1793 was the worst. On January 1st, Louis XVI.'s head fell under the guillotine. The division of the Convent into two factions became deeper. The constitution suggested by the Moderate Party under Condorcet in February was rejected. The party of the Gironde, suppressed in the Convent and hated by the people, became herself the target. On May 31st part of them were arrested, part expelled. Now Jacobinism was dominant in all of France. A terrible triumvirate rose in the National Convent : Danton, Marat, Robespierre; from the Committee of Public Safety they terrorised the people, to whom they had described Louis XVI. to have been a bloodthirsty tyrant, and 40,000 revolutionary committees all over France, turned terror and judicial murder into a daily event. The sustem of terror triggers a civil war which breaks out in the western provinces; the Vendee is the center of this civil war, kingdom and Catholic religion the rallying cry of the rebellion - plunder, murder and devastation are their fate and their revenge. Incapable leaders, whose understanding of war was murder, theft and cowardry, a Santerre, Ronsin, Westermann, increased the fire they were to extinguish. A constitution, good or bad, seemed to the men in power the appropriate tool to restore order. It was conceived in a hurry, on June 24th completed, on August 18th proclaimed, a system of anarchy and rule of the mob. The expulsion of the best deputees from the Convent caused a rebellion in the south as well as in the north, and almost turned the ghost of federalism into obscure reality.
The regiments, who are sent from the rebellious provinces to the capital to protect the Convent soon are won over by the Anarchists for their frightful system, but from Calvados emerges Charlotte Corday and murders the monster Marat on July 13th.
The fortune of war within the country and on its borders requires the desparae measure of the levee en masse (August 16th), and the pressing conscription became a new whip in the hand of tyranny. Lyon was devastated and half destroyed in October, everywhere, as in Paris, the guillotine cuts down everything which stands out by wealth, talent, public spirit, or which earns the hatred of he rulers by a moderate position. The executions of the queen (October 16th) and of the 22 arrested Girondists did not conclude the year's murder scenes, and the deserved death of the despicable Philippe of Orleans, even for the service of vices worn-out (November 6th) could non reconcile the souls of the noble victims. The recapture of Toulon (December 19th) provided the republican desire for revenge with new fuel. At the begin of 1794 Robespierre publishes an irate manifesto against all monarchs, on March 24th he has the Ultrarevolutionaries executed (the priest of reason Hebert, the speaker of humanity Cloots), soon after Danton, Camille-Desmoulins and their supporters (April 5th), and the outcasts of mankind elevates himself to the revenger of a desecrated deity. Fear and torturing suspicion frive him and his hord between immature concepts and desparate measures, until their fall and execution (July 27th) pays off an old debt. With them ended the system of terror, he tyrrany of the Jacobines, and the spirit of moderation softly began to breeze over France. But the Convent was not purged yet. Amnesty recalled the banished deputees and those who had fled, but only in December did they retake their seats in the Convent. On December 4th Merlin from Douay first talks of peace, but he hints on separate peace and on the non-negotiable condition that the Rhine, the Pyrenees, the Alps and the sea had to remain France's borders. Carrier, one of the worst monsters of Robespierre's horde, on December 16th in Nantes paid for the tyranny he had exercised under the guillotine. Moderate principles in the following year 1795 showed their influence in political negotiations. Peace with Tuscany restored the old amiable relations (February 9th). Barere, Collot d'Herbois and other hitherto unpunished co-culprits of terrorism were deported to Cayenne (March 2nd). The Jacobins tried their aging forces against the better part of Convent (April 1st), but the coup failed, and the main instigator, Baboeuf, and others, were incarcerated. Since the fall of Robespierre the second constitution was not in force. On the suggestion of Cambacere (April 18th) a commission of 11 members was formed to prepare a new constitution. Before it could conclude its work, agonizing Jacobinism made one moe convulsive move to disperse Convent. Infamy and scorn covered the undertaking of the powerless. On June 23rd Boissy d'Anglas presented the plan for an improved constitution, which found general applause, it was proclaimed on September 23rd, and accepted by the people wih joy. A Council of 500 which was to suggest laws, a Council of Elders (250 in number) which was to decide over these proposals, a directory of 5 persons which was to unite all branches of executive power, full equality of all classes of citizens, but limited passive voting right, those were the basic points of the constitution of year three. On October 1st the National Convent holds its last session. A Jacobin rebellion against Convent lead by royalists (October 5th) fails to achieve its goal. On October 28th the new National Assembly, divided in two chambers, holds its first session; the executive directory is installed on November 5th. It has 7 ministers as subordinates.
The revolution now seemed to have ended, the government confirmed by order, moderation and general trust, with the Jacobines anarchy and terrorism seemed to have been crushed; many separate peace treaties and the fortune of French arms abroad as well as in the country gave the incentive for the hope for the return of peace and prosperity (1796), but the state was pressed by a huge lack of money. The Assignats, printed in infinite multitudes, were worthless, the immense sums squeezed out of the occupied lands did not suffice to finance the armies.
Already on December 22nd 1795 the maximum of Assignats was reduced to 40 milliard Franc; this was still more than 5 times the amount of cash used in all of Europe. On February 19th 1796 the machines of the Asignat factory were destroyed publicly; their lace was taken by mandates, which, based on specific national assets, had a certain value and could be realized immediately. By March 18th, such mandates for a value of 2 1/2 milliard had been stamped, by the end of the year already 1300 million of them were destroyed. Hoche terminated, or at least calmed down, the war in the Vendee in the summer of the year, which passed comparatively quiet, a few powerless, soon suppressed moves of the Jacobins and Royalists disregarded.
The more eventful miliary history becomes in the following years, the less frequent are revolutionary events in France. The year 1797 provides nothin else in the latter respect than Fructidor 18th (September 4th), when the majoriy of the Directory had the minority (including Barthelemy) and many members of both councils (including Pichegrü) arrested and sentenced to be deported to Cayenne, because they were said to be involved in a Royalist conspiracy; one of the most severe blows which hit the supporters of the monarchy. The infamous Baböf finally on May 27th was sentenced to death by tha national court in Vendome, and executed.
The year 1798 contains little of importance for the history of the revolution, except for the replacement of a third of both councils of legislation, the crusade to Egypt, and Treilhard leaving the Directory (all in May), the rekindling of the rebellion in he Vendee and on this side on the Loire. But all the more eventful was the year 1799. Ahile the new republics, which had been created or transformed by French military success, almost all are given a form very similar to the French, and are in fact under French guardianship, the constitution of 1796 is in visible decay. The lack of money, a consequence of military expenses, of taxes failing to flow, of trade being interrupted, of lack of confidence and courage, also created by uninterrupted misfortune in the war with the Germans and Russians, the decline in Republican spirit, evident in the assassination of the emissary in Rastatt, all these omina seemed to point at the end of the Republic, at yet another revolution. The change in the Directory, where Lareveilleire, Lepaux and Merlin resigned and were succeeded by Dücos and Moulins, were only indicators of greater change to come. The main blow was prepared in Egypt. On October 9th Buonaparte, who earlier had been believed to have been lost in the Arab desert, lands, to Europe's astonishment, in Frejus, already on the 12th is in Lyon, on the 16th in Paris. Before a month has passed, the constitution of the year 3 is no longer. The new Caesar tears down the old, shaking edifice (November 8th), establishes a new provisional government headed by three consuls (November 10th), and with Sieyes gives a new, 4th constitution (December 15th). It consists of 7 titles and 95 articles; its main elements are : a) a Consulate of three persons, elected for a period of 10 years; the first consul is called supreme consul and holds almost all powers of a constitutional king. b) the legislative body, consisting of 300 members, c) a Tribunate of 100 members, d) a Conservative Senate of 80, e) a Council of State or ministry of 30 - 40 members, f) the prefects of the individual departments. he number of municipalities is reduced from about 40,000 to a few hundred. Buonaparte is first consul, Cambaceres and le Brun are his colleagues. This constitution, in which the organization of elections seems to be a master stroke, on December 25th already was in full function. It both enlivened the national spirit and public confidence.
We now have reached the point from where we dare to look at the results of the revolutionary process and at the probable consequences. But how awkward, how unsafe is such an overview ! An event of such a nature must not only advice to modest restraint when it comes to prophecy and judgment. Regarded an explosion of physical forces, the consequences of the revolution are still rather eye-catching, but as an ethical phenomenon it still hides its effects behind a thick veil, which has to be lifted by the hand of time. Who did not believe that it had to reshape the character of the people, the political and ethical organs of which it shook up like a violent fever, but still, according to the judgment of keen observers, the French national spirit is largely unchanged. Frivolity, effervescent enthusiasm and cruel insensitivity are still part of the latter, they are recognizable under the most curious modifications, they glance through all stages of the French Revolution. One expected he subversion of all religion, when godless tyranny closed the temples, when disbelief and desperation planted their panel in front of the resting place of the dead as well as on the ruins of the altars, then in the center of depravity a small number of well-disposed men rose, which took up the smoldering spark of the worship of God and of morality, and who fed the holy fire. When the businesses halted, when thousands of branches of industry dried up, agriculture rose again, liberated from the fetters of corvee labour and from burdensome taxes, became a protecting and nourishing pillar of order and moral against the storms of intemperance and anarchy.
The sciences, pushed by the maelstrom of vandalism, fled onto infertile rocks, and here, from miserable driftwood, built an arch, which saved sacred wisdom from the deluge of barbarity. Who did not shudder, when the stream of the revolution crossed over our borders ? But its floods broke at the dam which was formed against it by German firmness and prudence. The rage of evil was its antidote. The people, whom the crusaders of freedom injected their enthusiasm, learned the folly and depravation of the new boodthirsty and greedy apostles, and recovered from the infectious disease.
Italy paid for the frenzy of ephemeric freedom with its antique treasures, and the trophies of taste and of the arts now decorate the battlefields of barbarization and the graves of the new Attilas.
America and the democratic cantons of Helvetia uncover the unfortunate system of equality, by which the New French treat their brothers, the free peoples as much as the despised hordes of slaves.
The rulers of nations, awoken from security by the excesses of popular rage, regard it advisable to tighten the strings of power, only a few attempt to reconcile the spirit of the time by popularity and compliance; their noblesse often is interpreted as weakness by their fellow rulers; unfortunately it is also derided by the scum among their subjects. Now the eyes of the thinking world are focussed on one man. His military fortune in Italy (in the year 1800) and his moderate policy have restored peace in Germany, and have caused England [!] to consider peace, which is announced by preliminaries. His existence seems to be the thread on which the fate of France, and of some other states hang. If he can hold on to his position, if his death or fall may lead to the resurrection of terrorism or the peaceful introduction of a legal government, to predict this even the wit of a Sieyes is hardly capable of. But one certain result is to be extracted from the course of the revolution : that thorough improvements do not thrive in the womb of rebellion and of general chaos, but they are the result of carefully forward moving reason, and of the time maturing and regenerating everything.
More detailed accounts one may find in the articles Constitution, Club, Jacobines, Fayette, Louis XVI., Necker, Danton, Chouans, Fronde, Petion, Hebert, Manuel, Directory etc. Who wants to study the phenomenn in more detail may consult the works of Girtanner, Eichhorn, Woltmann, Flatin des Odoards, Rabaut St. Etienne, Archenholz' Minerva,, the journal France, the Moniteur and other well-known publications.

source in German, posted by Zeno

Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Frankreich
France. ..........
History ........
As simple as Louis XVI. lived himself, the wasteful spending at France's court continued, the debt increased. The people began to complain, there was a general desire for change, the minister of finances no longer was able to give advice. In this situation, for the first time in 163, the notables were assembled in 1787. But as they rejected a general land tax, which alone could have saved, they only served to show the state's deficiencies. The demand for the convocation of he Estates General, which had not met since 1614, now became louder and louder. The king still resisted, but when Parliament refused to approve new taxes, and none of the ministers who followed another in quick succession could not help, the king finally, on the advice of minister Necker, finally agreed in their convocation.
On May 5th 1789 the Estates eneral assembled at Versailles. The decision forced through by the Third Estate that decisions should be made according to the number of heads resulted in the Third Estate gaining superiority over clergy and nobility, especially as the larger part of the former joined the Third Estate [by revoking their privileges]. In vain did the king order that decisions were to be taken by estate, and that the estates were to convene separately. According to the suggestion by Count Mirabeau the Third Estate declared it would not obey, and as now also a group of noblemen, lead by the Duke of Orleans, joined the Third Estate [by revoking their privileges], on June 17th 1789 the Third state proclaimed itself the National Assembly. and the daunted king gave in. With a quick, bold hand the National Assembly tore down the frail old building of the previous constitution, and if it was abuses which were attacked and abolished, so the haste with which was proceeded was unwise. The nation now split in two parties; one strove to preserve as much as possible of the old constitution, the aristocrats; the others, the friends of the revolution, strove to turn everything upside down. The king had 20,000 men brought together, perhaps to prevent the outbreak of unrest, but by doing so he only accelerated the process. In Paris a terrible rebellion broke out, the Bastille, used as state prison, was stormed and razed to the ground, and the king was forced to remove his troops. A national guard was created, under Lafayette. The removal of the soldiers calmed the people down, and the visit of city hall by the king on July 17th seemed to reconcile the king and the people. But the spirit of antagonism, of mutual mistrust, of hatred of the lower classes against the higher ones, once kindled, could not be banned, and the disorder spread across all of France. The publication of the declaration of he rights of man and of the citizen justified hopes for a lot of good, but the misinterpreted words : equality and liberty, and the intrigues of the evil-minded Duke of Orleans only increased the chaos. He and other evil-minded persons caused a new, even more dangerous tumult on October 5th and 6th 1789. Two armed groups moved to Versailles, committed murder and forced the royal family to take up residence in Paris, to where the National Assembly followed them. The initially good spirit soon darkened again. The exalted reformers gradually got the upper hand, they formed the infamous Jacobin club. All privileges by birth, also the nobility, were abolished; in legislation the king was given only a negating vote (veto); church property and a large part of the crown domain were confiscated, and because there was a lack of money, a large amount of paper money, the Assignats, were created, which later lost all value. All monasteries and ecclesiastic endowments were abolished, also the parliaments, trial by jury was introduced, the emancipation of the Jews, the abolition of all titles and coats of arms, the division of the country in 83 departements, the decision that the national representation was to consist of 747 deputees were taken. While these decisions partly gave reason for concern, the national festival which was enthusiastically celebrated on July 14th 1790 on the anniversary of the destruction of the Bastille, seemed to have brought about a reconciliation of the various parties. But the beautiful dream soon popped, the aristocrats could not overcome the memory of he "good old days" and thought of restoring them, on he other side the Friends of the Revolutiion did not rest to loosen the tis of obedience, and to stir up the mob against the laws. Already the Count of Artois, later to become King Charles X., and other members of the royal family had fled France; they were soon followed by many noblemen and clergymen (emigres), and the king recognized, when while taking a ride to St. Cloud on April 18th 1791, he was stopped by the mob, that he was only a prisoner. He wanted to escape this humiliating situation by flight. In the night of July 20th, together with his family he secretly travelled to Montmedy, but on the way he was recognized in Varennes and brought back to Paris. Only his brother, the Count of Provence, had escaped. The revolution meanwhile took on a more and more dangerous character. While Lafayette formed the Club of the Feuillants of the moderates, among the Jacobins the Club of the Cordeliers emerged, partially consisting of evildoers such as Marat and Robespierre, partially of exalted Republicans. The mob, excited by this party, began to rule, and the name "Sansculotte" (without trousers) became an honorific title.
On September 30th 1791 after completion of the new constitution the first (constituant) National Assembly dissolved, and the Legislative Assembly convened the following day. Because of Jacobin intrigues, mainty quixotic types, for the most part republic-minded, in part evil-doers who only wanted to increase the existing confusion, had been elected and immediately party strife broke out. The assembly of emigres under the Count of Artois in Koblenz and their attempts to move the European powers to a war against France provided the enemies of the king with a pretext do be suspicious of his intentions and to defame the monarchy. The most influential positions in Paris were occupied by Jacobins, the king's majesty debased, and as he refused o confirm he laws passed against the emigres and against those priests who refused the oath, on June 20th 1792 [misprint for January ?] a rebellion broke out. The mob invaded the Tuileries, insulted king and queen, and it came close to them being murdered by the excited mob. From now on any respect for the monarchy had disappeared, and as at this time the Emperor and the KIng of Prussia had declared war against France, and a Prussian army under the Duke of Braunschweig [in English usually called Duke of Brunswick] had invaded Lorraine, the hatred against a king who was suspected to side with the enemy increased even more. Voices were heard calling for his deposition. On May 10th 1792 finally the blow was struck. Lead by the most irate Jacobins, the mob stormed toward the Tuileries. The royal family, threatened with murder, went to the National Assembly, and as prisoners they were brought to the Temple's dungeon. The Assembly declared the deposition of the king, ordered the convocation of a National Convent, who was to govern in the name of the "sovereign nation". All ministerial posts were occupied with Jacobins. Mob rule with all its terror broke out, at the initiative of Danton, from September 2nd to 5th the houses were searched for aristocrats. In Paris a mob ruled, worse than the wildest beasts, not individuals, but masses were murdered; about 5,000 persons perished.
On September 21st 1792 the National Convent convened, largely composed of evil and quixotic men. France was declared a republic, everything reminiscent of the monarchy destroyed. From this day on the years were counted until Napoleon abolished this system of measuring time in 1806. In vain first Lafayete, then Dumouriez , at the helm of the army, had attempted to combat mob rule; the soldiers mutinied and forced them to flee. Also in vain were the efforts of the Prussian and Austrian army, the former had been defeated by the weather in the Champagne, the latter had been defeated at Jemappes on November 6th 1792. In the National Convent a conflict was fought out between the irate Party of the Mountain and the moderate Gironde, which ended with he defeat of the latter. The imprisoned king was sentenced to death by the Convent, and on January 21st 1793 decapitated by the guillotine. From now on the Convent not only persecuted friends of the king and of the old order, but even the better among their own. Robespierre took the lead of the Committee of Public Safety, which named the victims who were executed by the revolutionary tribunal by the means of the guillotine. Terror ruled unhappy France, instead of a benevolent, while weak king now it had gotten a bunch of bloodthirsty villains as rulers, of whom all were afraid. Even the Convent realised that it had to obey the mob and its leaders. Who opposed them or seemed dangerous to them was sentenced to death. This fate namely befell members of the Gironde. A few saved themselves by quick escape. The fury of the mob against perceived friends of the king was only exacerbated by the war against the allied powers, and it provided the revolutionary leaders with a pretext to stir up the people against the so-called enemies of liberty to the point of rage. This kindled enormous power in the people, which enabled the French armies, as miserable as they looked, to be victorious; both the hatred of the foreigners and the fear of the guillottine drove the French youth to extraordinary effort and courage.
The first successes of the French army were glorious. The general enthusiasm, the new style of warfare, without luggage, without magazines, under the leadership of inspired generals, gave them victory everywhere. Savoy and Nizza, Speier, Worms, Mainz and Frankfurt, all of Belgium were occupied, the Austrians repelled. Already at the end of 1792 the fortune of war changed. Dumouriez had switched sides, joined the Austrians; the commander of the latter, the Prince of Koburg, was victorious at Aldenhoven, Neerwinden and Leuven, and Belgium seemed to be lost to France. Also the Prussians again crossed the Rhine, ook Mainz and were victorious at Pirmasens, while the English [!] allied with Holland [!], Russia, Spain, Sardinia, Naples, Austria and Prussia against France, and subventioned this coalition with money, so that it seemed that France was to be squeezed by the number of her enemies. But already at the end of 1793 France again was victorious. The people were mobilized en masse, the generals who permitted themselves to be defeated, threatened with death, all of France seemed to be one garrison, all country roads were filled with soldiers rushing to the front, and suddenly one could observe French armies being victorious everywhere. They pushed the allies back to the Rhine, reoccupied Belgium, and under Pichegu even conquered Holland [!]. This deliverance was all the more unexpected and miraculous, as the country simultaneously fought a civil war. The inhabitants of the Vendee, stirred up by the clergy and the nobles, rose for the monarchy and for several years fought a stubborn struggle against the government in Paris. Simultaneously the cities in the south, Marseille, Toulon, Lyon and Bordeaux, stood up and refused obedience to the Jacobins. Still the men of terror in Paris surmounted all these obstacles and dangers, the opponents of the revolution, as even the guillotine was too slow, were shot in groups or drowned. With iron severity did Robespierre rule, at the head of the Committee for Public Safety; even his own supporters did not dare to object; everyone trembled in front of the all powerful man.
Robespierre in the beginning shared power with Danton and was supported by Marat, Collot d'Herbois, St. Just Couthon and Billaud de Varennes. Not satisfied with persecuting any man in Paris who stands out because of wealth, noblesse or scholarliness, and to remove by the guillotine, he also sent his commissioners into he provinces and there he had committees established similar to the Parisian one. With justification the period of his rule is thus described as Terror. Among the victims sacrificed in Paris were Queen Marie Antoinette (Oct. 16th 1793), and gentle Elizabeth, the sister of Louis XVI. (May 10th 1794). Finally the holders of power began to target each other. First the ignominious Orleans, who had given himself the name egalite, and who was despised even by his former friends, was executed (November 9th 1793). Then it was the turn of several Cordeliers, who as moderates had become suspicious to the most irate; among them was Danton, after Marat already had fallen victim to the knife of Charlotte Corday. Arts and sciences in those days were not only despised, but even persecuted, the Christian religion was abolished, a temple dedicated to reason instead, a new calendar introduced, and openly declared that all kings were to fall. But the more France trembled in front of Robespierre, the more precarious his situation became, because even his friends were no longer safe. On July 27th 1794 he was toppled by Tallien and Billaud de Varennes, and brought to the guillotine with several of his friends.
From now on the rule of terror ended. The guillotine was removed, after only a few evil-doers had blooded unter it, the Gironde was recalled, religious service permitted again, a few attempts by the Jacobins to retake power forcefully repelled, the Vendee finally pacified. On October 26th 1795 the National Convent was replaced by a Council of the 500, a Senate of the 250, and by 5 directors.
After the fall of Jacobin rule attention also was paid on the matter of the royal children, who, separated from another, had lingered in prisons. The young dauphin, because of the bad treatment given to him in prison, was in such a poor condition that he no longer could be saved; he died on June 8th 1795. His sister was exchanged with a number of prisoners held by the Austrians. In recent days a certain Nauendorf, who long lived in Prussia as a clockmaker, has claimed to be the son of Louis XVI., but he has been shown the door everywhere and been treated like an imbecile.
In the meantime, in part the military fortune of the French, in part the lack of unity among the commanding generals of the allies, finally the utter change of the situation in France, among the belligerent powers had created the desire for peace. First the Grand Duke of Tuscany signed peace, then Prussia (April 5th 1795), Hessen and Spain concluded the Peace of Basel with France. Only the Austrians and the southern German princes continued the war, with changing fortune. While the Austrian general Clairfait was victorious in Belgium in 1795, and the young Archduke Charles in 1797 pushed the generals Jourdan and Moreau, who had invaded Germany, back across the Rhine, in Italy under the young general Napoleon Bonaparte won decisively. In a number of skirmishes he conquered most of Northern Italy and forced Austria to conclude the disadvantageous Treaty of Campo Formio (Oct. 17th 1797) in which Austria ceded its claim on Belgium and on its Italian possessions, and was compensated by the former Republic of Venice and Dalmatia. Only the German Empire remained irreconciled with France. In order to restore peace here, a congress was convened at Rastatt, the negotiations of which, because of France's actions, took on and on. Also the war at sea continued, at the disadvantage of France, which lost most of its colonies and which suffered several defeats at sea.
Within France, the executions had ended, but the restoration of peace within the country was far from achieved. Rebellions in the Vendee and in the Bretagne rekindled, and only were suppressed with considerable effort. Both the Jacobins and the Royalists engaged in new conspiracies, the paper money created during the revolution, the Assignats, had lost all value, many thousands of families had lost their entire savings that way. The decision to declare national bankrupcy was made, but the state was saved that way. The paper money disappeared, the contributions the payment of which Napoleon had forced in Italy, returned coin to France. Some degree of calm returned by the deportation of a number of irritating persons, but the directors, by pursuing a lax government characterised by arbitrariness and injustice, lost the respect of the people. It was recognized that matters could not remain as they were. The new constitution had too many flaws which became ever more apparent, and the policy of France to surround herself with new republics (Holland [!] had been converted into a Batavian Republic, the larger part of Upper Italy in a Cisalpine Republic, Genoa in a Ligurian Republic) had to cause, earlier or later, new difficulties with the neighboring powers. Hereto have to be added the acts of force the directory committed against smaller states. Under trifling pretexts the French took control of Rome and the Papal State, abducted Pope Pius VI. to Valence in France, and created a Roman Republic. Switzerland was occupied and transformed into an undivided Helvetian Republic. Finally even Naples was occupied and transformed in a Parthenopean Republic, and as the lands of the King of Sardinia and of the Grand Duke of Tuscany interrupted the chain of conquered countries, without further reason the French also took control of these. It was recognized that France had concluded the Treaty of Campo Formio only in order to, under the protection of the peace, to take more land for herself.
While a French army assembled on the coast of the Channel and a fleet was prepared to ship it across to England, Bonaparte unexpectedly (May 20th 1798) departed from the port of Toulon with a large fleet, occupied the island of Malta and landed in Egypt under the pretext to fight the Mameluks. Perhaps the plan, from there to threaten English [!] rule in East India, was the intention of the operation. White the English [!] Admiral Lord Nelson destroyed the French fleet after successful disembarkation [of the invading army] the French fleet in the naval battle of Aboukir (August 1st 1798), but Napoleon made great progress in Egypt, defeated the Mameluks in the Battle of the Pyramids and occupied Cairo. But his attempt in 1799 to take the fortress of St. Jean d'Acre failed, and weakened he returned to Egypt.
In the meantime, England [!] had created a second coalition against France. Russia, Austria and a large part of Germany allied early in 1799 to fight a new war, caused by the reckless French acts of violence. In the meanime the Congress of Rastatt continued without achieving peace, a peace which under the present circumstances was not to be expected. On April 8th 1799 the Congress was, from the German side, declared dissolved.
The early phase of the war developed favorably for the allies. Archduke Charles pushed the French back across the Rhine, General Kray swept the French in front of him in Upper Italy. At the same time, Naples was liberated from French rule in part by the Austrian advance, in part by the Calabrian insurgents. As quickly did the Roman Republic collapse, and after the united Russians under Suvorov and the Austrians under Kray had won the Battle near Novi on August 15th 1799, the French in Italy only held on to the fortress of Genoa. But a victory of the French under Massena over the Russians at Zürich, and the failure of a Russo-English [!] naval expedition against Holland spoiled the mood of the Russian Czar; he recalled his armies and left the coalition. Simultaneously Bonaparte, returned from Egypt, appeared in France, on October 9th. He knew that there was dissatisfaction concerning the government of the directory. He left his army in Egypt on August 30th 1799 (which later, on August 30th 1801, was forced to surrender), landed in Frejus, hurried to Paris, dispersed both councils, not without danger to his person, and abolished the government of the directory. He introduced a new constitution, a Conservative Senate, a Tribunal (which later was abolished), a legislative corps and three consuls. By proclaiming himself first consul, he took control of government, and the republic factually ceased to exist. From now on the war took a turn. While he sent General Moreau to Germany, Napoleon himself in 1800 crosses the Great St. Bernhard into Italy, on June 14th he won the Great Battle of Marengo, and thus regained northern Italy. This, and Moreau's victory at Hohenlinden in Bavaria over Archduke Johann on December 3rd decided the fate of the war. The quick advance of Bonaparte and Moreau on Vienna caused Emperor Franz to sign the Peace of Luneville in the name of Austria and the German [!] Empire on February 9th 1801, in which France, in addition to the area between Po and Adige, won the Duchy of Modena and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, and which confirmed the Helvetian, Cisalpine, Ligurian and Batavian Republics. The left bank of the Rhine remained with France, the Duke of Modena was compensated with the Breisgau, the Grand Duke of Tuscany with Salzburg. So France again had gained in size and reputation, and left it to fragmented Germany to compensate the princes who were deprived of their lands. England [!] saw the coalition destroyed, it had conquered Malta and Egypt, but it regarded it expedient to conclude the Treaty of Amiens with France on March 27th 1802, according to which it promised to return most conquered Dutch colonies and Malta, the latter to the Maltese Knights.
Bonaparte now aimed to turn France into the most powerful state in Europe, and himself into the master of Europe. Most of all, order in the country was restored, the parties were appeased, the attempt by a party hostile to him to assassinate him by the means of a devilish machine was used to get rid of a number of persons dangerous to him. He reintroduced Catholic mass, gave an organization to the Catholic Church, restored the old calendar, cared for the establishment of schools, had streets, bridges, canals built, promoted he sciences and the arts, agriculture, crafts and trade, suppressed freedom of the press, granted the police more powers, and introduced a system of spies destroying all trust [in the system]. In order to create a new nobility, he created the Legion of Honour. A new law book, the Code Napoleon, regulated jurisdiction. As arbitrarily as he dealt with France, he also dealt with neighboring countries, which had been sacrificed to him in the Treaty of Luneville. Tuscany he turned into the Kingdom of Etruria, and gave it to the Duke of Parma, the land of whom he took under French administration. The possessions of the King of Sardinia on the mainland were annexed by France, the Cisalpine Republic was renamed Italian Republic, and he personally took the title of president of the latter, Helvetia and Holland [!] were given new constitutions. All these countries remained occupied by French troops, whom they had to supply with provisions, or at least were under French influence. On August 3rd 1802 Bonaparte had himself appointed consul for lifetime, and organized the constitution in such a way that all power fell to him.
It was predictable that peace was not to last long. It was impossible for the European powers to calmly observe Bonaparte's arbitrary actions, they recognized that he would go further and further. In May 1803 war with England [!] broke out, the cause was the refusal of England [!] to hand over Malta, and the commanding tone Bonaparte assumed in his dealing with England [!]. Frustration about the taking of French merchant vessels at sea by the English [!] caused him to assemble a fleet and army on the coast of the Channel, and to have General Mortier occupy Hannover. New conspiracies against Bonaparte caused him to have himself declared Emperor of France as Napoleon I. in 1804, and in the following year King of Italy (the previous Republic of Italy now being called Kingdom of Italy). His son-in-law, Eugene de Beauharnois, was named viceroy of Italy. Soon other countries dependent on France were handed out to relatives of Napoleon, and these countries underwent reorganization. The Duchy of Lucca was given to his brother-in-law Bacciocchi, who also got the Duchy of Piombino, he Ligurian Republic was dissolved and annexed to France, the Batavian Republic maintained her name, but by being given a grand pensionary, was given a monarchist constitution.
All these events brought about the Third Coalition. England [!], Sweden, Russia and Austria in 1805 united against Napoleon. But the latter quickly repelled the Austrian army which had moved on Ulm, he forced a large part of it under General Mack to surrender, occupied Vienna, gained a glorious victory at Austerlitz over the combined Ausrian and Russian armies which forced Emperor Franz on December 26th to sign the Treaty of Pressburg, in which he ceded Venice, which was united with the Kingdom of Italy, on Tyrol which fell to Bavaria, on his possessions in Swabia, which were partitioned by Baden, Bavaria and Württemberg. Thus Napoleon rewarded his friends with the property of others, because Bavaria, Baden and Württemberg were allied with him, the latter was elevated to an electorate, the oher two to kingdoms. Austria was compensated by Salzburg, while the former Grand Duke of Tuscany now was given Würzburg. The former Duke of Modena, who was deprived of the Breisgau, was promised a compensation. Since the countries dependent of France quickly went from one ruler to another, as it seemed convenient to the French ruler. Napoleon's fortune was perturbed only by one single event; the English [!] Admiral Nelson in the Naval Battle of Trafalgar on October 21st 1805 annihilated the united Spanish and French fleets. The Treaty of Pressburg soon was followed by further changes. Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, was sent to Naples which he conquered without meeting much resistance, the capital was occupied, and on May 30th 1806 Napoleon declared his brother King of Both Sicilies. In order to reward the French generals, a number of duchies were created, mostly in Upper Italy, Napoleon's brother-in-law, the Prince Borghese, was raised to Prince of Guastalla, his brother Louis Bonaparte to King of Holland, his brother-in-law, Joaquin Murat, to Duke of Berg. On July 12th 1806 Napoleon created the Confederation of the Rhine, in which he allied himself with 16 German princes, mostly from southern Germany, for the purpose of mutual military aid. He took on the title of Protector of the Confederation of the Rhine for himself; now the forces of this part of Germany were at his disposal.
Austria for the moment was paralyzed, but Prussia, outraged by many breaches of faith by Napoleon, allied with Russia, England [!], Sweden and Saxony, and declared war in the fall of 1806. Still the Russians had not yet arrived. Napoleon, with superior forces, attacked the Prussians and Saxons, dispersed their armies on October 14th 1806 in he Battles of Jena and Auerstädt, soon took most Prussian fortresses, proscribed the Duke of Braunschweig and the Landgrave of Hessen, the lands of which he declared booty, occupied Berlin and moved his army into Poland, which, upon his call, rose against Prussian rule. The bloody Battle of Eylau on February 7th and 8th against the Russians remained undecided, but after the fall of Danzig the Russian army suffered such a decisive defeat in the Battle of Friedland on June 14th, that Czar Alexander offered peace, which was concluded in Tilsit on July 7th with Russia and on July 9th with Prussia, and which cost the latter half of its territory. Poland, under the name Grand Duchy of Warsaw, was given to the Grand Duke of Saxony who was elevated to King of Saxony; the lands taken from Prussia, together with Braunschweig and Hessen, were combined to form the Kingdom of Westphalia, which was given to Napoleon's brother Jerome, the remainder of Prussia burdened with contributions so severe, and by the French occupation forces left behind exploited to such an extent, that it seemed almost impossible to maintain the oppressed state. Simultaneously the victor used his superior power to send a declaration of ban against still undefeated England [!]. By the decrees of Berlin November 21st 1806 and Milan on December 17th 1807 the state of blockade was declared against the British Isles, all English [!] goods on the mainland were declared forfeit, and the remainder of Europe was forbidden any communication with England [!].
Napoleon's next attack was directed against the Pyrenaic peninsula. Under the pretext that Portugal had not closed her ports to English ships, he had the country occupied by a French army under Junot. After the royal family had left for Brazil, Junot entered Lisbon on December 1st 1807, and Napoleon declared that the House of Bragança no longer would rule over Portugal. At the same time, without giving a reason, the Kingdom of Etruria was taken away. Then followed the attack on Spain. Napoleon used a conflict which had arisen between the weak king, Carlos IV., and his son Ferdinand, to take control of several Spanish fortresses. An insurrection which broke out in March 1808 in Aranjuez, and the subsequent abdication of the king in favour of Ferdinand VII. served him as a pretext to have a French army march into Madrid. Then he enticed both kings, father and son, to Bayonne, and persuaded the former to lay down his crown, thelatter to transfer his rights to him, and granted both pensions in France. He named his brother Joseph as King of Spain, transferred Naples to his brother-in-law Murat, and the Grand Duchy of Berg to he eldest son of the King of Holland. The Spanish nation, deeply resentful of this shameful treatment, rose against the invader, fought courageously against the Fench armies sent into Spain, and later was given support by England [!]. For five years a bloody war lasted, Spain became the grave of many Frenchmen and of many of their allies, at the same time Portugal was liberated by an English [!] army under Wellington, still in 1808. On the Pyrenaic peninsula, Napoleon's system of fortune failed first.
Soon after the begin of the war in Spain, Austria began to prepare for war. It had been too deeply hurt by France and had to suffer too serious losses to not to make use of every suited opportunity to resume the war. On April 4th 1809 war was declared, and this time the faithful Tyroleans rose against the enforced rule of the Bavarians and the French. Also on his occasion Napoleon again emerged victorious, and in the Treaty of Vienna (October 14th 1809) Austria again had to make great sacrifices. It ceded more than a fifth of its territory : Salzburg, the Innkreis, the present Kingdom of Illyria, a part of Croatia, Dalmatia and Western Galicia. Part was given to Bavaria, part to Russia, which only because it was forced to, and spiritless, had participated in the war against Austria. Western Galicia was given to the Duchy of Warsaw, the Kingdom of Illyria placed under a French administration, Tyrol again placed under Bavarian administration.
During the war another violent act had been committed. Napoleon's relation with Pope Pius VII. for some time had become tenser and tenser, because the latter refused to accept the former's demands which in part concerned the Papal State, in part the administration of the church. Also the Papal State may have appeared to the French Emperor, who ruled the remainder of Italy, as an obstacle. On February 2nd 1808 he suddenly had Rome occupied, as well as other cities in the Papal State, and now arbitrarily he annexed part of the Papal Sae into the Kingdom of Italy. On May 17th 1809 the remainder of the Papal State was annexed into France, and Rome declared to be the second capital of France. The pope protested formally and declared the ban against Nepoleon; the later had him arrested at night (July 6th) and deported to France, where he was held under guard. On this arbitrary act soon further acs followed. Louis, King of Holland, because he had been unable to completely suppress the trade of his people with England [!], had arrived at a disagreement with Napoleon. The latter in January 1810 sent his army into Holland, occupied the coast with French customs officials, and forced his brother to cede the Dutch fleet and the southern provinces. As soon new French troops arrived and Louis saw himself exposed to the arbitrary decisions of his brother, on July 1st 1810 he abdicated, and Holland was annexed into France. The same fate befall Valais on November 11th, on December 13th northwestern Germany, by which Germany was deprived of Hamburg, Bremen, Lübeck, Lauenburg, Oldenburg and of other districts.
Since the Treaty of Tilsit, relations between France and Russia in the beginning had been good.; Alexander not only hat promised Napoleon at the Congress of Erfurt in 1808 to cut trade with England [!], but also had sent an army to support France in the war against Austria in 1898. But in part the unilateral actions of France may have been repugnant to the Russian Czar, in part he no longer intended to forbid the trade with England [!] to the detriment of his country. This resulted in the emergence of a bitterness which finally resulted in a war in 1812, which first unsettled Napoleon's power and which finally brought about his fall. While Russia at first had only England [!] and Sweden as allies, Napoleon could mobilize all of the remainder of Europe, except for Denmark and Turkey, against Russia. Even abused Prussia and Austria had to supply him with troops. The immense army numbering almost 600,000 men, well-provided with any military provision, in June 1812 invaded Russia, at first with glorious success. The Battle of Smolensk (August 17th and 18th) was won, also the more bloody Battle on the Moskva (September 7th) could not halt the French in their advance on Moscow. But here the line was drawn, the terrible Moscow fire and Alexander's refusal to conclude peace caused Napoleon in October to retreat. But it was already too late. The already weakened army was surprised by a winter severe even under Russian conditions, hunger took over, the Russians pressed, and when the French crossed the Beresina, the defeat was completed. Only a few remnants of the Grande Armee, in the poorest condition, arrived at the German border.
The news of his defeat was received with rejoicing in oppressed Europe. Prussia was the first to recognize that it was the right ime to stand up against French despotism. The Prussian people rose in anger, to take up the fight for the liberation from French chains, and allied with Russia. Mecklenburg and Hamburg followed. Napoleon in 1813 had raised a new army, he defeated the Prussians and Russians at Grossgörschen and Lützen on May 2nd, and at Bautzen on May 20th and 21st, but the truce from June 4th to August 17th provided time to thorough preparations. Hamburg fell into the hands of the revengeful Frenchmen, but the alliance against France was joined by Austria and Sweden and thus was significantly strengthened. The victories of the allies near Gross Beeren on August 23rd, at Katzbach August 26th, at Culm August 30th and at Dennewitz September 6th compensated for the defeat in the Battle of Dresden August 26th and 27th and the death of noble Moreau, and the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig on October 16th, 18th and 19th finally terminated French rule. Now also Bavaria joined the allies, and in the Skirmish of Hanau on October 29th to 31st proved that it meant business. Soon the other princes of the now dissolved Confederation of the Rhine followed, the fortresses still held by the French surrendered one by one. A Prussian army under Bülow liberated the severely oppressed Holland, which now enthusiastically recalled the House of Orange. Napoleon himself gave up Spain and recalled his army.
In the meantime Napoleon had raised a new army to at least defend France. Here the allies in January 1814 invaded at several points. The victories at la Rothiere February 1st, at Laon on March 9th, and at Arcis sur l'Aube March 20th and 21st lead them to Paris. In vain Napoleon, with his usual prudence, fought against the overwhelming forces of Schwartzenberg and Blücher. he Skirkish of Paris on March 30th forced the capital to surrender, the victors entered on March 31st . Napoleon signed his own deposition a Fontainebleau, was banished to Elba. Louis XVIII. ascended to the throne of his fathers and on May 30th concluded the Forst Peace of Paris with the allies, which left France in her borders of 1792, with a few territorial acquisitions. Louis gave France a new constitution, the Charte, which foresaw a monarchy limited by an assembly of peers and an assembly of deputees, and gradually order seemed to return, when the sudden reappearance of Napoleon caused new chaos.
While the monarchs were assembled in Vienna to newly organize European affairs, Napoleon on February 26th 1815 left Elba, landed in France near Cannes on March 1st, and quickly moved on Paris, while his old supporters joined him, quickly increasing the number of his ranks. The king, deserted by his army, fled to Gent. While Napoleon informed the powers of Europe of his intention to maintain peace, Great Britain, Russia, Prussia and Austria together with the other German princes decided on war, which resumed in Belgium in June. In the first meeting Napoleon was victorious, he won the Battle of Ligny June 16th and the Skirmish of Quatrebras, but was defeated so decisively by Wellington and Blücher at Belle Alliance (Mont St. Jean), that while hese advanced on Paris, which they entered on July 7th, he decided to lay down his crown for a second time. He fled to Rochefort, and on July 14th surrendered to the English [!], who deported him to the island of St. Helena, where he remained imprisoned until his death in May 1821. Louis XVIII. returned to Paris on July 8th and on November 20th 1815 concluded the Second Peace of Paris, which left France in her former borders, with a few exceptions, but which forced it to pay a heavy conribution, and which fixed the occupation of the country by foreign troops for three to five years, and which banned Napoleon's family from France.
...
source in German, posted by Zeno

Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Frankreich (3)
France, History of .....
D) The First Revolution : from the beginning to the deposition of the king, 1789-1792
a) Until the death of Mirabeau, April 2nd 1791
On May 5th 1789 the Diet of Versailles was opened. Immediately upon inspection of the mandates, a dispute arose. Clergy and nobility demanded this matter to be taken care of by each estate individually; the Third Estate demanded this to be done jointly, by commissioners. After failed negotiations, the Third Estate moved on to the verification of the mandates. When the verification was completed, the Third Estate, at the suggestion of Abbe Sieyes, on June 17th declared itself to be the National Assembly, in which the not present delegates of the other estates were treated as absent. The expectations invested in the convocation of the Estates General, and the task the National Assembly believed to have went far beyond the goal the government had in mind. The organization of the state budget was a subordinate matter, the establishment of a representative constitution and of the rights of the people had become the main issue. Even Necker realized this and hoped, by presenting a constitution, to put a hold to the revolutionary movement. In the meantime the majority of the clergy decided to join the National Assembly. This threatened to cause the failure of Necker's plan, and in order to prevent the merger of the estates, the next session of the Third Estate was forbidden, and the hall of the estates occupied by guards. Still the delegates of the Third Estate assembled in the ball house under the presidency of Bailly and swore not to disband until he constitution were completed. On June 22nd one assembled in the church of St. Louis and here the larger part of clergy, as well as a few noblemen, joined the National Assembly. Now the king attempted to achieve his goal in a peaceful manner and assembled the estates to a royal session. Necker did not join, because the king had rejected part of his proposals. The explanations of the king basically directed that every one of the three estates was to meet separately. The order given a the end of the session for the estates to separate immediately was followed only by the nobility and by part of the clergy; alone the delegates of the Third Estate remained, and when the maser of ceremonies reminded them of the royal order, Mirabeau spoke and got the assembly to declare that they only would give way if confronted by an armed force. But to provide such the king was too weak. So the National Assembly consolidated her position. At the same time a demonstration caused the king to undo the dismissal of Necker. On June 25th part of the nobility, lead by the Duke of Orleans, joined the Third Estate, on June 27th also the remainder of the nobility and the clergy, at the order of the helpless king, joined the National Assembly. In the meantime the parties began to agitate outside of the assembly, the friends of the existing conditions at court, the revolutionaries among the people and in the clubs. In Paris the public speeches of the leaders of the people became more and more threatening in tone, and as also the garrison of Paris was worked on in a revolutionary sense, the court positioned 30,000 men under Marshall Broglio near the capital. Rising inflation increased excitement in Paris, and when the secret dismissal and departure of Necker became known on July 12th, the insurrection erupted. The soldiers of the Gardes Françaises joined the burghers, and the Permanent Committee of the Voters of Paris decided to organize a National Guard, after weapons and ammunition had been obtained by force from the arsenal. The plundering of the Hotel des Invalides on June [!] 15th completed the armament of the people, and on the 14th they stormed the Bastille, which threatened the city with her cannons. The king did not decide on military resistance, and when the outrages committed by the mob in Paris became excessive, he still rejected the use of force and on July 13th visited the National Assembly in Versailles to call upon them to assist him in the restoration of order. Lafayette, sent to Paris with a deputation to restore order, was appointed commander of the National Guard, Bailly was elected mayor of Paris, and both were confirmed by the king. Now many unpopular persons from the higher aristocracy no longer believed to be safe; Count Artois, the Princes Conde, Broglio, Breteuil, the Polignacs and others emigrated to Germany. On the 17th the king visited the Parisians, and a city with general jubilation he accepted the tricolor cocarde. However, street humbug of the mob did not end, the murder of an unpopular official, Foulon, by an irate mob, as the court could not punish the act and as the armed force could not prevent it or did not want to, served as an example to a number of similar excesses which prepared complete anarchy. Now the provincial cities also established citizens' militias, and the reputation of the kings and the laws began also here to gradually extinguish. The return of Necker at the request of the king was applauded, but the dominant leaders of the masses, Mirabeau and the Duke of Orleans, soon pushed him into the background. The goals of both already went far beyond those of Necker.
In the meantime in the National Assembly a refined formation of parties had taken place. The aristocratic party, the leaders of which were Cazales and Abbe Maury, already from the beginning shrank because of emigration, the moderate party, the so-called Constitutionalists, formed the main group, among them were many excellent members of high nobility and clergy, the third party were the democrats under Sieyes and Mirabeau; a fourth faction was formed by those tending toward republicanism, lead by Petion, Buzot and Robespierre. The progressing inflation now required new financial measures. In order to adress the situation, equal taxation of all estates was suggested. High nobility made further concessions, and on August 4th the National Assembly abolished all privileges. On August 10th the ecclesiastic tithes were abolished. The sudden collapse of the feudal system again lead to excesses, namely in the countryside, where the freedom craze could not wait for laws to regulate conditions. In the meantime, work on the constitution progressed more and more; on September 12th one opted for one chamber which was to be reelected every two years, and on September 21st the king was granted a suspensive veto. The king accepted all decisions by the National Assembly, especially as the lack of money and the famine gave reason to fear new demonstrations of popular rage. In order to address the lack of money the National Assembly approved Necker's suggestion to charge an extra tax of one quarter of every income above 40 Francs. The inflation gave a useful tool to demagoguery to maintain he revolution in permanence. Rumours about the intentions of the court were spread, namely by Marat, who published a widely read journal. When the king, in order to secure the court and reduce outside pressure on the National Assembly, on October 1st strengthened the military near Versailles, and ostensibly feasted them, on October 5th a bloodthirsty mob consisting mostly of vegetable saleswomen moved on Versailles. The king calmed them down by promising that he was to end the misery in Paris. Lafayette had the National Guard occupy the palace. Still at night of October 6th a bloodthirsty mob forced its way into the palace, murdered two soldiers of the guard, and did not calm down before the king, to whose protection Lafayette had come, promised to come to Paris himself. On October 6th the king and his family, followed by 100 members of the National Assembly and the National Guard, moved to Paris. So the Duke of Orleans had achieved a preliminary goal of his ambitious scheme, but as the larger part of the National Assembly disapproved of this act of brutal violence, his position became so weak that he followed the king's order and went to London into exile. Soon afterward the National Assembly moved to Paris, where Lafayette, under martial law against mob congregations, maintained order. The National Assembly, reduced by a considerable number of her members who joined emigration, on November 2nd declared all church property, 3,000 million Livres, national property, and the king confirmed the confiscation of all ecclesiastic benefices and goods. On November 3rd also the [regional] parliaments and the ecclesiastic orders were abolished, on November 12th the division of France in 83 departements and 147 electoral districts decided. Every departement was given its own administration, every location a municipality. In order to make use of the confiscated property for the benefit of the national treasury, the National Assembly created 400 million Assignats, i.e. shares on the capital which was to be gained by the sales of those goods. On November 9th the National Assembly held its session in the royal hippodrome, which was surrounded by spacious tribunes for spectators. Her outer physiognomy had already much changed, as the right side had shrunken much, the left had been much strengthened. From now on the tribune begins to have an ever-increasing influence on the debates of the assembly. Behind the tribune stood the revolutionary clubs of Paris. Political agitation mainly was conducted in the district assembles, which were in a continuous dispute with the newly established municipality of the capital. The most important of these districts was that of the Cordeliers, where Danton, Camille, Desmoulin and Fabre d'Eglantine held speeches and published their ironic and defamatory pamphlets against the moderate parties. The municipality tried to stop this by establishing the Research Committee, a kind of police institution which soon was hated by the revolutionary journalists.
In the meantime the National Assembly continued her work on the constitution, abolished hereditary nobility, granted the king the title "King of the French", but left him the addresses Sire and Majesty. Louis XVI. confirmed these and other decisions, and by his personal presence in the National Assembly on February 4th 1790 he caused general enthusiasm, and silenced the rumours claiming he would only play the act. New occasions for dangerous excitement were provided by the deliberations of the National Assembly regarding the future status of the clergy, which already protested against the confiscation of church property. On July 12th the civil constitution of the clergy was proclaimed, and the latter now tried to organize demonstrations in the provinces in its favour. Mob violence and excesses occurred without anything being gained for the clergy, other than increased bitterness of her opponents. Already earlier the National Assembly had decided on the partial sale of the confiscated goods; all court pensions were cancelled, the king allocated a civil list of 25 million Franc, he Assignats declared legal tender. But as all these measures did not promise a quick end to the financial emergency, the National Assembly, on the suggestion of Mirabeau, decided to issue a new paper currency as legal tender and to take the old Assignats off the market. These measures, and the difficulty to hold on to his position between court and National Assembly caused Necker to resign on September 4th, a step which caused more applause than utterances of regret in the National Assembly and in the Clubs.
In the meantime the court tried to gain the support of Mirabeau, the most important and eloquent man in the National Assembly. The prospect to become minister, according to the opinion of many, also bribes, caused him repeatedly to influence the National Assembly in favour of royal authority, so namely in the question if the king was to have the right to decide over war and peace. On July 14th, on the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which was celebrated splendidly on the Field of Mars in Paris, the king swore the oath on the completed constitution, and the jubilation seemed to be guarantee for the return of ordered, secure rule of law. But still anarchy won the upper hand in the provinces; the parties opposed each other more and more violently, army and navy were infected by the spirit of mutiny. To this were added the activities of Maras, Desmoulins and of their associates, who by spreading the meanest suspicions, stirred up the people against the court, against Mirabeau, against nobility and clergy. Fanatism was spread in the pamphlets of the demagogues. On the other hand the intrigues of the emigrants had an effect, who, in ever-increasing numbers united on the German border, equally stirring up, and the protest of 30 bishops against the civil constitution of the clergy only added to rising the tension of emotions. In order to prevent intrigues from the side of the clergy, the National Assembly on November 27th 1790 decided to demand of all clergymen to take the civil oath, a measure which would separate the Gallican Church from the papacy, and which became the main cause of the wildest factional dispute, which spread he anarchy of the capital into the provinces. Of 131 bishops, only 4 swore the oath, and even among lower clergy a large number refused to do as the law required. The king, on December 26th, only reluctantly and under the pressure of the situation, had approved of this measure, which had mainly been supported by Mirabeau. Just before, at the request of the National Assembly, his entire ministry had quit; the National Assembly in her decision had been influenced by the agitation of the clubs, namely by a deputation lead by Danton.
The pressure increased more and more which was exercised by the activities of the clubs and by the tribune in the National Assembly inspired by them. The by far most important of these clubs was the Club of the Jacobins, on the extreme left, which also accepted non-members of the National Assembly, held regular public sessions, and via affiliated clubs in the provinces, spread its influence throughout the country. Since Mirabeau, with the persuasive power of his speech, stood up to the moves of the extreme left, which aimd at leaving the monarchy only a shadow of state power, and as members of the moderate left, among them Bailly and Lafayette, in the Club of Patriotic Society also attempted to establish a foothold outside of the National Assembly, while members of the right (monarchists), fearing the irate mob, no longer dared to attend the club founded by them (Salon Français), party passions were on the rise. Already threats and insults were uttered in the National Assembly, and the deputees of the right, insulted by the people, had to be concerned about their safety. By the end of 1790 the organized power of the mob was strengthened by the Club of the Cordeliers, which strove for a social revolution, an emancipation of the mob in the widest sense. Here Danton, Desmoulins and Santerre ruled absolute, preached the rawest materialism. So far no side had expressed the republic to be the goal of the revolutionary movement. But the vehement removal of all foundations on which the Ancien Regime had been based, the inability of the Paris municipality to set limits to the activities of clubs and to the press which spread the roughest insults against so-called enemies of the people, which even openly called for insurrection, brought greater danger for the new order of affairs, increasing day by day. The king could no longer overlook the gravity of the situation, and since the beginning of 1791 he entered in direct secret negotiations with Mirabeau, the only person which because of his support, his skills and his courage seemed suited to deal with the circumstances. Cases of mob violence and tumult, which by the end of February repeated daily, and which mainly were caused by rumours spread by journalists, the entire coutrt would want to flee (only the king's aunts, with the approval of the National Assembly, departed) pressed the king to ask Mirabeau to take over the ministry. But then the latter became ill and died on April 2nd 1791.
b) From the Death of Mirabeau to the Proclamation of the Republic
From now on the king saw salvation only in flight. hat made his stay even more unbearable were religious scruples because of the civil constitution of the clergy, when the pope in a letter of April 10th sharply criticized the latter, and in an open letter to the people of France warned not to contact any of the priests who took the oath, and declared the latter as fired. When the king wanted to travel to St. Cloud on April 14th, the rumour spread he intended to flee; the people therefore held up the coach, despite of all efforts by Bailly and Lafayette, and forced the king to return to the palace. Lafayette in vain complained in the National Assembly about the treatment he was given, when he was unable to convince the municipality to declare martial law. This only strengthened the king in the conviction to save himself from further insults by escaping. He succeeded in escaping with his family on June 22nd, but in St. Menehold he was recognized by the postmaster, then arrested and brought back. With this attempt to escape, his reputation was completely ruined. The journey, as permitted by law, was no reason for an accusation, Lafayette on July 17th, using force, dispersed the rabble (the Sansculottes, here the name was used first) assembled on the Field of Mars to sign a petition directed against the king, organized by the Jacobins and Cordeliers, but the National Assembly suspended royal powers until the process of writing the constitution was completed. On September 14th the king swore on the constitution which had been completed on the 3rd, the National Assembly was dismissed, and according to the constitution the Legislative Assembly was convoked. On September 14th also the annexation of the hitherto papal possessions Avignon and Venaissin was proclaimed. The republicans in Avignon expelled the small papal party to Carpentras, the capital of Venaissin, and Jourdan, called decapitator because of the atrocities he committed, with a horde of republican rabble, after having received support from Paris, conquered the Venaissin.
France's foreign relations in the meantime brought about the prospect of war, therefore the National Assembly did not fail to care for improvement of army and strengthening of the navy. Eimgration, which had her main seat in Koblenz, sought to win over foreign powers for a war against the National Assembly. It received special support from Russia and Sweden. Hurt by numerous transgressions affecting the rights of German princes, namely the annexation of territories which were enclaves surrounded by French territory, the National Assembly, when it reorganized France in departements, Emperor Leopold II. on August 27th 1791 concluded the Treaty of Pillnitz with the King of Prussia, which at first did not foresee a war of aggression against France, but rather coordinated action to protect Germany against the revolutionary movement emanating from France.
On October 1st the Legislative Assembly convened, consisting of 745 mostly young men who had been elected under the influence of the Jacobins. Imprudently the National Assembly had declared reelection as not permissible, so that the new assembly in no way was related to the old. The Legislative Assembly also was composed of a right, a left and a center, but these party names did not correspond with those of the National Assembly. What used to be center and moderate left there now had become the right, the members of whom also were called Feuillants, accordng to the club they belonged to. This club had split from the Jacobins, when these became more and more radical, and dissolved on December 27th, when the municipality forbade them to continue using the locality. The euillants formed the truly constitutional party, the center an undetermined party tending more and more to the left. The bulk of the left was for maintaining the constitution as a whole, but not for the maintenance of individual paragraphs. Their leaders were the talented deputees of the Gironde (therefore Girondists), who at that time still formed one party with the Jacobins, but the separation of an extreme left was already apparent, which strove for a coup, which wanted to placate their own greed and ambition. The king, from the beginning, treated the assembly coldly, and as he did not take strong measures against the priests refusing the oath and the emigres threatening with war, in two decrees the Legislative Assembly declared those emigres who would not follow the call to return as traitors, and those priests who did not swear the oath as insurgents. Both decisions were vetoed by the king, but he called his oldest brother, the Count of Provence, under pain of losing his claim on the regency, to return within two months. Louis also gave in to the demand by the Legislative Assembly to protest against preparations for war undertaken, or at least tolerated, by princes on the Rhine. In December 1791 160,000 men were mustered for the defense of the border; in the course of January the emigrated princes declared traitors. The assembly acted with less and less regard for the king; after it had ordered the sequestration of the estates of the emigrants on January 16th 1792, in March it forst him to dismiss his ministry and to form a new ministry composed of the left. This was composed of Duranthon for justice, Lacoste for the navy, Roland de la Platiere for the interior, Claviere for finances, Dumouriez for war.
To their pressure to begin war with foreign countries, to provide distraction for a parliament becoming more and more radical, on April 20th 1792 Louis XVI. gave in and declared war on Austria. The first mishaps of the French army (see French Revolutionary War) resulted in the excitation of the masses; rumours assumed an understanding of the king with the foreign commanders. The Legislative Assembly ordered the mobilization of a reserve army, the banishment of the clergymen who refused to take the oath, the armament of the people with pikes. As the ministry agreed with these decisions, but the king rejected them, on June 18th Roland and his colleagues resigned. The royal veto was a new lever for anarchist humbug in the revolutionary sections of Paris. Rabble from all parts of the country, called by the Jacobin press, streamt to Paris. Namely from Marseille a considerable horde of the meanest kind arrived in Paris at the beginning of June, singing the Marseillaise (see there). Fearing this rabble, the king in the morning of June 20th was forced to have the Tuileries occupied by cannons and the Natinal Guard. At noon 50,000 insurgents broke into the palace. On this occasion the king' for he first time proved courageous wit combined with firmness, and impressed even this raw rabble. In vain Lafayette tied to use his influence to convince municipality and Legislative Assembly to take action against rabble activity. Only Petion, the mayor of Paris belonging to the popular party, in the evening convinced the rabble to leave the Tuileries. The king now invested his only hope in the foreign powers. On July 5th the Legislative Assembly declared the fatherland to be in danger, established militias and armed the people. Anarchy now approached in gigantic steps. The call for the deposition of the king became louder and louder, namely on July 14th, when the fraternization festival was held on the Field of Mars. New bands from Marseille arrived on July 30th, and on August 9th the Legislative Assembly, intimidated by the suburbs which were aroused by the Jacobins, began to discuss he deposability of the king. The feverish excitement of the masses was given new nourishment by news of the invasion of the allies into the Champagne (see French revolutionary war). Irate masses made impossible the continuation of the deliberations of the assembly; the following day, August 10th, the incited rabble stormed the Tuileries. The Swiss Guardsmen and Royalists defending the king were cut down, the king himself and the royal family fled to the Legislative Assembly. The later, at the suggestion of Vergniand, decided to temporarily depose the king, to grant decisions [of the Legislative Assembly] validity without royal approval, and o declare any official now leaving his office a traitor against the state. Further it ordered the convocation of the National Convent for September 20th and installed a tribunal to sentence those who were called the conspirators of August 17th. All priests refusing the oath and all nobles who were within reach were immediately incarcerated. The municipality of Paris was taken over by Jacobins of the purest kind, Danton, Petion and others, also the command of the National Guard which was given to Santerre. On August 13th Louis XVI., wih his family, was brought to the Temple as a prisoner.
From now on the main guidance of events was taken over by the Paris Commune. The army abandoned the king and swore an oath of faith to the Legislative Assembly; Lafayette fled to the border. In the meantime the Constituant Assembly attempted to maintain her authority vis-a-vis the municipality, and on August 30th decided to depose the latter. The advance of the Prussians completed the rule of the rabble. The commune, lead by Danton, paid 300 murderers to remove the imprisoned royalists. On the morning of September 2nd, the barriers were closed, the alarm bell sounded, the paid murderers entered the prisons and created a horrible bloodbath, in which about 7,000 persons are said to have perished. No one put a halt to these atrocities, instead on September 3rd the National Assembly [!] passed a law on coinage. On September 21st the Legislative Assembly dissolved, to make place for the National Convent, the members of which were even more extreme as their predecessors. The old left (Girondists) now formed the right, on the left were only determined republicans, among them the deputees of Paris, who had been elected under the influence of the commune. The most influential of the latter, Robespierre, Danton and others, took the highest seats, this is why they were called the Mountain Party (Montagnards). The large mass of the deputees, which did no belong to any party, and which tended here or there, depending on circumstances, was called "the Plain", ironically also "the morass" (le marais). The first measure taken by the National Convent was the proclamation of the republic on September 25th 1792.
VIII.) France as Republic until the Establishment of the Empire, from 1792 until May 20th 1804
A.) Until the Toppling of Robespierre
Had the advance of the allies earlier provided the basis for the power of the Paris Commune, so the now incoming reports of victories were only suited to strengthen it. The Montagnards shared the successes of the army, and their move to have the king stand trial found hardly any opposition. The Girondists, only with effort, could achieve that the formal procedure of a trial was followed. On December 11th Louis XVI. appeared in front of the Convent as the accused, on December 26th Deseze held his brilliant defensive speech, on Januuary 19th 1793 the Convent sentenced him to death and on January 21st the king was publicly guillotined. The positions of the parties in Convent now became more radical than ever before. The ministers Roland and Pache, the latter later was to become mayor of Paris, resigned. Beurnonville became minister of war, Garat took over the interior. Many Girondists left the convent and hurried to the provinces in order to raise these against Convent. In the Vendee the royalist rebellion spread, while almost all of Europe took up arms to fight the republic and punish the regicides. On February 1st 1793 England [!] declared war and the Convent itself declared war on Spain on March 7th; the declaration of war by the German Empire [!] followed on March 22nd. When General Dumouriez on April 4th went over to the enemies of the republic, this became a new tool for the Montagnards to be used against the Girondists, who now were suspected of being secret Royalists. After already on March 9th at the suggestion of Danton a Revolutionary Tribunal had been established, which was to judge those suspected of being Royalists, on April 6th at Danton's instigation a Committee for Public Safety (Comite du salut public) was created, which was given dictatorial power.
From now on the rule of terror was organized, all the more as on April 8th the inviolability of members of the Convent was lifted, so that nothing stood in the way of the implementation of the plans of the Jacobins, to get rid of their opponents who were dangerous to them because of their hardiness and spiritual talent. There were no longer any debates in the Convent. Only accusations, blaming and crude insults were uttered loudly by both sides. Marat and Robespierre finally labelled the Girondists traitors to the nation. But these still held the majority in the Convent, which opposed terrorism, and which instead wanted to see Marat tried and an investigation against the Commune opened, namely against Hebert, the main leader of the latter. The arrest of the latter lead the Jacobins to mobilize the mob against the Convent. On May 29th armed rabble forced their way into session hall and forced the release from prison of Hebert. Already in the night of May 31st the rabble of the suburbs united with than of the urban sections. Early on May 31st the alarm bells rang, commissioners of 37 sections of the city terminated the city administration and instead appointed a joint revolutionary council. Deputees of the same appeared in the Convent, demanded 34 Girondists to be accused, 40 sous of daily pay for every armed sansculotte, the price of bread to be lowered to 3 sous Assignat etc. But the National Convent still had sufficient courage and honour not to permit itself being used as a tool of brute force. When newly instigated tumults failed to achieve the same goal on June 1st, Henriot, supreme commander of the National Guard, by having occupied the Tuileries, where the session was held, by sansculottes and by having cannon positioned, forced the accusation of the Girondists. Many of the latter had already saved themselves by escaping, the others were sentenced and guillotined. In various departements rebellions broke out in favour of the Gironde, but the Republic remained victorious in every case. When the people's idol, Marat, was murdered by Charlotte Corday on July 13th, Robespierre now shared supreme power and virtue with St. Just, Danton and Hebert. The Revolutionary Tribunal was uninterruptedly active, and delivered one victim after the other to the guillotine. The new constitution accepted on the 24th, which organized rule by the masses, was sworn on on August 12th on the Field of Mars, but suspended on the 28th upon the conclusion of peace, and the permanence of the revolution proclaimed.
While the Convent troops were victorious in the provinces, and even took the most stubbornly resisting places, Lyon on October 22nd, Toulon, which had surrendered to the English [!], on November 20th, also in Belgium fortune was with the armies of the revolution. On August 12th, all men capable of wearing arms, 1,200,000 men, were called to arms by Convent. Several locations in France were designated as places where the armies were to obtain provisions. The necessary money was provided by printing more Assignats, the sale of the goods of those who were executed, of domains, of the lands of the church and the monasteries, and when his did not suffice, the wealthier citizens were forced to loan money to the state, in combination 1,000 million. The dissolution of society into an anarchic chaos approached with giant steps. After the state had been as good as destroyed, now it was the turn of religion, tradition and ethics. Theft and plunder threatened to become the normal way of making a living. Trade and industry came to a halt, and what the war did not accomplish in regard to the undermining of credit, was done by the decrees of the National Convent, the disappearance of cash and the devaluation of the Assignats. On September 27th the maximum prices for essential food items were fixed, on the 28th 2,000 million Assignats issued, on October 5th the arrest of 73 Girondist-minded deputees decreed (they had protested against the trial against the Girondists), on October 16th Queen Marie Antoinette was sentenced and executed. She was followed onto the scaffold on October 31st by 21 members of the right, and on November 6th by the Duke of Orleans (Philippe Egalite), who earlier, by using Danton, had hoped to gain supreme power in the state, and who had founded his own party, the Orleanists. Christian chronology and the Christian calendar were abolished on October 6th, and replaced by a new republican calendar beginning with New Years Day September 21st 1792. Already on August 8th a decree abolished the University of Paris with all her faculties, all academies and scholarly societies. On the 7th Gobet, Archbishop of Paris who had taken the oath, in front of the Convent, in the name of his present vicars, abjured Catholic faith. On November 10th the Paris Commune introduced a Cult of Reason, on May 7th 1794 the National Convent decreed that there was no such thing as a supreme being, and on May 24th that the soul was not immortal.
In the meantime the rivalry between Committee for Public Safety and the Paris Municipality had become clearer and clearer. Many seem to have come to the conclusion hat an end had to be put to terrorism. Robespierre instead, who controlled Convent and the Jacobins, continued to try to feed the rabble with rumours, and to quench its thirst for blood by exterminating anything immoral. His fellow party members for the larger part had become rivals or opponents. Only by spreading fear and terror he was able to hold on to his position, because an accusation in front of him was almost inevitably a sentence. The Revolutionary Tribunal and the Commitee for Public Safety were only spineless tools of his power. In January 1794 Danton returned to Paris from Darcis-sur-Aube, to where he had retreated since the trial against the Duke of Orleans, and, in order to secure his own safety, the allied with Robespierre, who first wanted to destroy the Club of Cordeliers, Hebert and his supporters, when these began to contest the field with the Jacobins. On March 15th, on a move by St. Just on March 15th, Robespierre ordered the leading members arrested. On March 24th (Germinal 4th) Hebert and 19 of his fellow party members were guillotined. Desmoulins and Fabre d'Eglantines and others who had distanced themselves from Hebert, who hoped he could hold his position by outdoing Robespierre in terms of bloodhirsty accusations, and who were in favour of alleviating the law of suspicion, now approached Danton and his personal supporters, while the Club of the Cordeliers and the Paris city council vied for his favour, and recognised the unlimited authority of the Committee for Public Safety. In the night of March 31st, also Danton was arrested, and on April 5th (Germinal 16th) executed together with Lacroix, Cam. Desmoulins, Herault de Sechelles and 10 other party members.
Following the death of Danton, the Committee for Public Safety ruled unrestricted, and in it Robespierre. Fouquier de Tinville, the public prosecutor, was a tool the dictator used, to implement his system of exterminating anything immoral; but everone was immoral, who doubted in Robespierre's virtue. Closely allied with him were St. Just and Couthon. Now the accused were, almost always, sentenced by the Revolutionary Tribunal without having been heard. From March 10th to June 10th 1794, 1269 heads fell under the guillotine. But for Robespierre the procedure of the trial still was too slow and too complex. After he had celebrated the Festival of Reason with great glamour for the amusement of the people on June 8th, Couthon had to propose a law which stated, that in the case of accusations in front of the Revolutionary Tribunal, the hearing of witnesses as not necessary. The National Convent approved the law, while those deputees against whom it was directed, raised objections against it. To these belonged Fouche, at that time president of the Jacobins, Billaud-Varennes, Bourdon de l'Oise, Tallien and Collot d'Herbois. Almost all of them members of the Committee of Public Safety, at first they made the most horrible use of the law of June 10th. The jurors, their spineless creatures, often sentenced 50 persons per hour. The time of mass executions (fournees) began, from June 10th to July 27th 1,400 accused were guillotined. They had either been accused of conspiring in prison or of supporting a foreign power. While Robespierre, who since the end of Prairial no longer showeed up in the Committee for Public Safety and who was repleced there by Couthon and St. Just, schemed to ruin his opponents in the Convent by a law which would abolish any restraint on their lust to murder, the latter prepared for a struggle over life and death. Since the mid of July there had been disputes in the National Convent. Robespierre accused Tallien and Fouche of conspiring with foreigners, and the latter spread the rumour of a long list of those to be murdered, composed by Robespierre. On Thermidor 8th (July 26th) the latter raised his accusation in the National Convent, at first against subordinate party members of his opponents. But on the following day (Thermidor 9th) St. Just raised his accusation in the National Convent against Collot and Billaud. These, in the previous night, had found agreement with their fellow party members, and even the Committee on Public Safety was on their side. On this day Collot presided in the National Convent. The accused not only rejected St. Just's accusation, but they accused Robespierre of tyranny and of treason against liberty. The speeches by Tallien, Collot and Billaud caused frenetical applause in the National Convent, which ended with the arrest of Robespierre, Couthon, St. Just and Lebas. The city council and the Jacobins took measures aiming at the liberation of the prisoners, but the Committee for Public Safety won over a part of the National Guard, and the latter stormed city hall, where Robespierre and his comrades, the liberation of whom had been successful, were present. This decided their defeat. On July 28th Robespierre and 21 of his followers were executed, on the following day 71 members of the proscribed city council, and soon after the leaders of the Jacobins.
B.) From July 28th 1794 (Thermidor 10) until the Establishment of the Directory
The opponents of Robespierre, most infamous because of their thirst for blood and the most unrestricted terrorism, controlled the field, but their victory prepared their own ruin. The National Convent began to leave the state of passivity, the party of the moderates (Thermidorists) from day to day gained in importance. The law of June 10th was cancelled, many prisoners were set free. The Jacobins, the club of whom opposed the measures of the National Convent aiming at he restoration of the rule of law, at the end of October attempted to attack it, with incited rabble, but the attack failed. The better elements among the citizens had gained in confidence, resisted Sansculottism, and it was namely Freron who surrounded himself in his salons with the youth of the better circles (Jeunesse doree), in order to form of them an armed corps against the activities of terrorists. The reaction became more and more powerful, as also the departements took the side of the National Convent. On November 11th the Jacobin Club was forever closed, on December 7th all bans rescinded, on December 8th the 73 Girondists who still remained imprisoned were released, and reaccepted into the National Convent. So the complete defeat of the terrorists had been decided, and many turncoats strengthened the party of law and order. On December 27th Collot d'Herbois, Billaud de Varennes and Barrere again were accused, but they were arrested only on March 2nd 1795, and sentenced to be deported to Cayenne. But Convent maintaind a decidedly republican position and only removed the institutions of terrorism. The relatives of the executed were restored in their property, freedom of religion, primary schools and a secondary school in Paris were reopened, on March 8th all banished members of the National Convent recalled. In the meantime the distress of the country worsened. The continuous devaluation of the Assignats, the trade blockade implemented by England [!], the misharvest of 1794 increased the dreariness of material conditions. Inflation was the cause to new cases of unrest in Paris, as the crowd cried out for bread and demanded a solution from the National Convent. The Jacobins once again used these circumstances, in order to intimidate the National Convent by using the rabble, and to force the setting-free of their accused members. The National Guard dispersed the rabble without much effort. Nonetheless the Jacobins tried one more time. On May 20th the suburbs St. Antoine and St. Marceau rose, the rabble, crying for bread and for the constitution of 1793, broke into session hall of the National Convent, and by 9 o'clock in the evening caused the session to be ended. But the National Guard was in control of the situation within 2 hours. On the 23rd the suburbs were disarmed, the ringleaders arrested, and some guillotined. Now the Convent, for its own safety, garrisoned troops in the city, expelled 62 deputees, and began with restless effort to deal with the remainder of the terrorists, while Royalism again proudly raised its head. Reaction also took control in the provinces. Toulon, populated by Jacobins since the destruction of their Parisian club, in May rose for the latter, but was defeated by the southern cities lead by Marseille, and almost all Jacobins were killed. Also in the southern deparements, secret societies spread terror by acts of murder they commited against supporters of the reign of terror. On June 25th the constitution of 1794 (!!!) prepared by Cambaceres, Daunon and Sieyes, was presented to the Convent, and adopted with only a few modifications. According to it two chambers were to be established, a Council of Elders of 250, and a Council of 500, and the latter was to propose laws, the former was to confirm them. Executive power was to be given to 5 directors who were to be elected by both chambers (Barras, Rewbell, Lareveillere, Latourneur and Carnot). Every year 1/3 of the Councils and 1/5 of the directory were to be replaced. The change in mood which had taken place in the meantime now had created a danger for the National Convent from the other side. Numerous emigrants had returned to Paris, they influenced the people in the sections by pamphlets, in order to help the reaction to a complete victory. In order to arrest this activity, the National Convent decided on August 22nd, that the legislative body according to the new constitution, to two thirds, should consist of members of the National Convent, anmd that also army and navy were to decide over the acceptance of the new constitution. Soimultaneously the Convent moved troops into Paris. The sections of Paris now sent deputations to the National Convent to have the latest decrees undone, but the latter insisted on its decisions. But when on September 6th the congregations met to decide over the acceptance of the constitution, the agitation in the Parisian sections heated up, and when the result of the plebiscite on September 23rd was in favour of the National Convent, the Royalists invested all their influence to break up the National Convent. On October 4th 44 sections and the larger part of the National Guard rose against the National Convent. The latter moved the Army of the Interior into Paris, armed the Sansculottes who were ready to serve them (Bataillon sacre) and gave Barras and Bonaparte command over the troops. The latter took the lead in the manoeuvre. He forestalled he sections and the National Guard by taking 40 cannon, and with these created such a confusion aming the insurgents on October 5th (Vendemiaire 13th) that these gave up their undertaking. On October 6th the sections were disarmed, Bonaparte by Convent appointed second commander of the army of the interior. An amnesty, with few exceptions, and the abolition of the death penalty, were the last actions taken by the National Convent before this dissolved on October 26th to create room for the directoryconsisting of 5 members.
C.) France under the Directory from October 28th 1795 to the Revolution of Brumaire 18th (November 9th 1799)
a.) Until the Revolution of Fructidor 18th (September 4th 1797)
The Directory, consisting of Barras, Rewbell, Lareveillere, Latourneur and Carnot, found the international situation of the state excellent; Holland [!] was conquered, the Germans pushed beyond the Rhine, peace with Prussia (April 5th 1795) and with Spain (July 22nd 1795) just concluded, also in France itself the civil war in the Vendee, at least partially, had ended, only at sea England [!] remained victorious. The only remaining daughter of Louis XVI. (the dauphin Louis XVII., under the guardianship of as worker, had died early in 1795) was exchanged with the Convent deputees who were held prisoner since the treason committed by Dumouriez, as well as the former postmaster Drouet who had been taken prisoner at Maubeuge, against, on the Austrian side the arrested Maret and Semonville, near Basel. The Directory began its government with measures securing the state against subversion and gained from the Council of 500 approval for restrictions of the press, the clubs, and measures to prevent and punish plots and tumults. How necessary police measures were is shown, after General Hoche had calmed the Royalist rebellion in the west , and their leaders, Stofflet and Charette, had been taken prisoner, sentenced by military trial and excecuted (March 29th). In April Cochon, who held the newly created ministry for police, uncovered a wide-spread conspiracy with Communist tendency which aimed at taking the lives of the directors. The main instigators were Drouet and Baboeuf. The latter was arrested, the former escaped. An attempt of the conspirators to incite the troops failed on September 9th to 10th 1796. The leaders were arrested and sentenced by court-martial. Royalist attempts of insurrection were not lacking either, a conspiracy in favour of Louis XVIII. was uncovered and spoiled in January 1797. In addition to these dangers, threatening the constitution of the year 2 from two sides, the condition of the finances caused the directory a great deal of worry. The Assignats, of which over 45 milliard [in American English : billion] had been issued, by and by decreased to 1/200 of their nominal value. A forced loan of 600 million in metal value, anmd the partial sale of state forests did not solve the problem, neither the transfer of the Assignats in so-called territorial mandates, which simply gave a new name to an old institution. This dilemma forced the directory, despite the victories of the French armies in Italy, the victories of Bonaparte until Mantua and then in Inner Austria, in Germany Moreaus and Jourdans victories until Augsburg, despite all the sums and art treasures brought into the country by the armies victorious in Italy and Germany, despite the conquered provinces, to collect additional taxes. A land tax of 240 million Franc, a tax on persons and expenses of 60 million Francs, a registration and stamp tax, some smaller taxes to be paid for the usage of canals, playing cards, a patent tax for businessmen, and customs tariffs were introduced, but the latter for the moment contributed to almost nothing. All this did not suffice to cover running expenses, even less to prevent state bankrupcy. By the decree of September 20th 1797 public debt was reduced by 2/3; only consolidated debt (i.e. 1/3) was registered in the Great Book, and for this interest was paid, while the former only was accepted in case of the purchase of state property; i.e. state bankrupcy was declared. More than the inability of the Directory to restore public credit, disputes among the directors themselves weakened the reputation of the institution. One mistrusted the other, so that Royalism made great progress, especially since Pichegru, openly accused of acting in understandng with the Royalists, on May 20th 1797 became president of the Council of 500. And threatening movements among the Reublicans raised fears of another eruption of the revolution. The Directory had a number of agents of Louis XVIII. arrested, but this did not result in any improvement. In the directory Barras strove for supreme power, he was supported by Rewbell and Laveillere, while Carnot and Latourneur opposed him. The latter now retired, and in his stead the Royalist party, much strengthened in the Council of 500 by recent by-elections, placed one of their own, Barthelemy, in the Directory. The plans of the latter, who joined Carnot in opposing the triumvirs (Barras, Rewbell, Laveillere) the latter spoiled by convincing Bonaparte, the general victorious in Italy, to participate in a coup. Bonaparte, irritated by having been criticised by the Council of 500 for his measures in regard to Genoa and Venice, in August 1797 sent the Generals Bernadotte and Augereau to Paris, of whom the latter was given the command of the Paris division. In the night of September 3rd to 4th the troops earlier concentrated near Paris entered the city, despite the constitution expressedly forbidding the concentration of troops near the capital. Augereau occupied the Tuileries, Ramel, General of the Directorial Body Guard, Barthelemy and Pichegru were arrested (Carnot had escaped), the revolution of Fructidor 18th had been implemented without bloodshed.
b.) Until the Establishment of the Consulate
On September 5th, according to a decision of both councils, Barthelemy and Carnot, 11 members of the Council of Elders, 42 members of the Council of 500 and many journalists were sentenced to banishment to Cayenne. Another decree annulled the elections in 48 electoral district and granted the directors the powers to a renewed persecution of emigres and priests. Merlin and François de Neufchateau were appointed new directors, 42 journals were suppressed. In the meantime General Bonaparte, after establishing the Ligurian Republic and concluding the Treaty of Campo Formio (October 17th 1797) returned to Paris. This general, the favorite of the army, who on Fructidor 18th for the second time had decided the fate of the nation, caused the suspicion of the directory. Fearing military dictatorship, they granted him supreme command over an army concentrated on the coasts of France for the purpose of the conquest of England [!]. But as Napoleon became convinced of the risks involved in this project, it was replaced by the project of the conquest of Egypt. In May 1798 he embarked in Toulon with 20,000 men and sailed for Egypt (see French Revolutionary War). Just before, in March, France's borders had seen a considerable expansion, as the German Empire [!] ceded the left bank of the Rhine.
While Bonaparte conquered Egypt, the Directory, acting arbitrarily and unauthorized, became more and more hated. On January 5th 1798 a forced loan, ostensibly to cover the costs of the invasion of England [!] was announced, over 80 million Francs; taxes, lotteries, tolls, stamp taxes were supposed to halt the constantly worsening financial misery by the use of force. But these measures, which for the larger part were caused by the maintenance of a large army, the return of which would undermine the authority of the directors (this is why they were not leaning toward a generally desired peace) caused new unrest, the hostile mood of the population became apparent in the by-elections to the Council of the 500 in April 1798, The Directory on May 11th annulled all elections they did not like, and in this way they acquired a power, which they were not supposed to have according to the law. While domestic conditions provided the people with little reason for satisfaction, the successes of the army and the position of the state vis-a-vis foreign powers appeased French national vanity, the annexation of Mülhausen, Savoy, Geneva into France, the establishment of a Helvetian, Roman and Parthenopean Republic (January 1799) instead of the Kingdom of Naples, as well as the abduction of Pope Pius as a prisoner to France in March 1799 raised national pride and distracted the political aims of the parties toward the field of foreign policy. The entry of Treilhard, who replaced François de Neufchateau in the Directory, the latter began to secure its position against attacks from the outside by virulent decrees. On August 26th 1798 a law cancelled freedom of the press until a new law regulating newspapers and journals was enacted, on September 5th a new conscription law was passed to cover losses the French army had suffered, namely in Italy; this law made all Frenchmen underly mandatory military service (it caused several rebellions, namely in Belgium, which quickly were suppressed); a decree of October 6th confiscated the property of those who had been banished to Cayenne. On October 3rd the deficit of the treasury amounted to 114 million Francs, and in the following month alone had to rise by another 44 million. The Directory demanded immediate measures of support, and when the Council of Elders on February 22nd 1799 rejected the proposal for a salt tax, the Directory declared itself not responsible for the consequences. The financial misery worsened, when after the failure of the Congress of Rastatt the War of the Second Coalition (England [!], Austria, Russia) broke out, which soon turned unfavorable for France. The place of Rewbel, the resignaion of whom from the Directory had been decided by lot, on May 16th was taken by Sieyes, an opponent of the system which had until now been applied. Also the elections held on May 20th turned out unfavorable for the Directory. The opposition was headed by Lucien Bonaparte, Boulay de la Meurthe and François de Nantes. On July 16th 1799 the Council of Elders declared the election of Treilhard for null and void, because it had taken place at an illegitimate time; his successor was the former minister of justice Gohien. On July 17th Lucien Bonaparte, in front of the Council of Elders, accused Merlin de Douay and Lareveillere of wasteful spending of public money and of arbitrary rule, and called for their resignation. This happened, their successors were Roger Ducos and General Moulins. The Republican Party now used all means in order to exploit the misfortune of the French army for the purpose of toppling the Directory. In July 1799 they established the Association of Friends of the Constitution, which was joined by several generals, Jourdan, Augereau, Massena, but the minister of police, Fouche, on July 26th had the hippodrome closed, on August 13th the Dominican church in the suburb of St. Germain, their meeting places. In the meantime new forced measures against the emigres, on the relatives of whom forced loans were imposed, caused new unrest, and the renewed civil war with the Chouans and Vendeans since the end of October was fought with changing fortune.
Under such miserable circumstances Napoleon returned victorious from Egypt. After his arrival in Paris on October 4th, every party tried to attract him to their side. The Republicans offered him military dictatorship, Barras the command in Italy, Sieyes suggested to him to introduce a new constitution. Bonaparte favoured the latter plan. A large number of members of the Council of Elders was won over for his plans. These, in order to avoid a bloody conflict between the parties in Paris, pushed through the relocation of boh councils to St. Cloud. The Directory did not dare to use force, as the officers refused to obey it, but, when the indicators became stronger and stronger, sent Bonaparte his letter of dismissal. On November 9th (Brumaire 18th) Bonaparte dispersed the Council of 500 while in session in the hothouse at St. Cloud, when the latter was just about to sentence him to death. In the Council of Elders the cancellation of the constitution of the year 3 was decided on. In the evening both councils met, under the presidency of Lucien Bonaparte. At midnight the directory was abolished, 62 members expelled from the council, and the remainder of both entrusted Sieyes, Roger Ducot and Bonaparte, under the titles of consuls, with the directorial powers to restore order in the republic. At the same time the legislative body was adjourned until February 20th 1800. Despite the violation of the constitution, this decision was as much of the population would have wanted, as they saw in Bonaparte the only person capable of implementing thorough reforms, while the Republicans in the strict observance of legal forms, which characterized the government in its early stages, saw a guarantee against the return of Royalism, the supporters of which, had the opposite expectations in Bonaparte.
D.) France under the Consular Government until the Proclamation of the Empire, from November 9th 1799 to May 28th 1804.
The three consuls alternated daily, the presiding one was referred to as consul of the day. Of the ministers, only Cambaceres for justice, Bourdon (soon followed by Forfait) for the navy and Fouche for police were maintained. Newly appointed were Berthier for war, Gaudin for finances, Laplace for the interior, Maret as Secretary General. Later Talleyrand took charge of foreign affairs; the 1200 men strong Consular Guard was commanded by Murat. The new constitution, drafted by Sieyes, but altered in several sections by Bonaparte, who attended all sessions, took force on December 27th and was declared adopted on February 7th 1800. According to it the supreme power seemingly was divided among the three consuls, but in reality it lay entirely in the hands of the first consul. All three were not responsible for the government measures, and were appointed for 10 years, with the option of reelection. The three first consuls elected according to the new constitution were Bonaparte, Cambaceres and Lebrun. Besides the consuls three highest state institutions were founded, a Senate (senat conservateur) of 80 members, a Legislative Corps of 300 members and a Tribunate of 100 members. The Senate, the members of which were elected for life, was the only popular representation, and all the more dubious an institution, as their election took place under the influence of the consulate. The Senate completed itself by cooptation, appointed members of the Legislative Corps, of the ribunate as well as the Consuls, and had the right to examine, to confirm or reject all acts of the other state authorities, namely he laws proposed by the consuls, examined by the Tribunate and enacted by the Legislative Corps. On December 24th Lucien Bonaparte was appointed minister of the interior, on April 2nd 1800 Carnot was appointed minister of war. In order to secure his position, Bonaparte vied for the support of the middle classes, which were almost exclusively Republican, and filled most offices with Republicans, but also considered the two extreme parties, and where filling an office with a Royalist or Jacobin seemed not suitable, bribery or the deportation of the latter from the capital served to solve the matter. In order to establish law and order and to quell the Royalist insurrection in the Vendee, Bonaparte immediately took comprehensive measures.For his purpose he divided the country in 25 military divisions, under the commanders of which (delegates) he placed all troop divisions; he dispatched General Hedouville to the rebellious departements, and by energetic measures, but without the use of arms, achieved an end to the unrest. On January 18th 1800 Hedouville and Brune, under the promise of full amnesty, concluded peace with the Vendee and the Chouans. Less fortunate was Bonaparte in his efforts to raise public credit. The forced loans on he property of emigres he dropped for political reasons, and he had the names of all those deleted from the lists, who had not carried arms against France. On the other hand, 39 1/2 million Franc in paper money were created, land tax raised considerably, deposits required for those who were to hold public office, the Paris bankers persuaded to grant an advance of 12 million Franc. The administration of the departements was reorganized (February 17th); municipal officials were replaced by prefects in the departements, subprefects in the cantons, mayors in the municipalities, strictly subordinate to one another and all to the government. Freedom of the press was restricted by orders by the police. The next goal of the First Consul, in order to raise the prosperity of the country and to make possible a reorganization of the disorganized armed forces, had to be the conclusion of peace with England [!] and Austria. With the latter, after having taken personal command of the army in Italy, and having been victorious at Marengo on June 14th 1800, on February 9th 1801 he concluded the Treaty of Luneville, according to which the Rhine formed the French border. With England [!] he concluded peace only on March 25th 1802 at Amiens. As Bonaparte's power consolidated from day to day, the parties which waited in vain for an opportunity to topple him, took to conspiracies to assassinate him. In order to protect himself against conspirators, Bonaparte, who had been saved from assassination only by a happy coincidence, introduced a system of police espionage, headed by Fouche, and had many suspects sentenced to deportation. The Consular Guard was increased in size, and the appearance of the First Consul became more and more that of a prince.
After peace provided greater comfort to life, the desire of the better classes to reassume earlier traditions and customs increased. The Parisian salons revived. Many nobles returned, when the consul completely abolished the list of emigres, and only excluded c. 1000 families from a return to France. In the Tuileries, the residence of Bonaparte, the environment of a court began to develop. Also the desire for a rehabilitation of Christian religion became manifest. Already since early 1801 Bonaparte had negotiated with the pope in regard to the restoration of Catholic service in France, and ordered a National Council to be held, which convened on July 12th at Notre Dame in Paris, which did recognize the pope as the head of the church, but was not recognized by the latter as a council. But on July 15th Bonaparte and Cardinal Consalvi agreed on a Concordat, which was confirmed on August 18th. As Bonaparte feared resistance against the Concordat in the Tribunate, by decision of the Senate, members of he Tribunate known to be strict Republicans were expelled, and the number of tribunes reduced to 80. As the Legislative Corps, after having completed its task on March 21st, had ceased its activities, Bonaparte now ruled with almost unrestricted power, and the republican forms more and more resembled the monarchist nature of the state, all the more as Bonaparte took care to surround himself with a newly created service nobility, for the purpose of which the Senate decided to create the Order of the Legion of Honour. The transformation of the republican features of the state into monarchist ones proceeded quickly. Immediately after the conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens the Tribunate decided in May 1802 to host a splendid national feast of gratitude in the honour of the Supreme Consul, and in his matter contacted the Senate. The later decided to appoint Bonaparte Consul for another 10 years. When the consul made the acceptance of his token of gratitude dependent of the will of the entire nation, the Senate organized a plebiscite over the question if Bonaparte was to become consul for life. Of 3,577,399 citizens 3,568,885 were in favour of a lifelong consulate, and by decision of August 2nd 1802 the Senate appointed Bonaparte consul for life. Simultaneously the Senate decided to alter the constitution in such a way, that the executive, legislative and juridical power was laid into the hands of the First Consul, and that reduced the constitutional institutions of the state to meaninglessness. The complete transformation of the republic into a monarchy became more and more apparent to be the goal of Bonapartist policy. The army, on wich reputation and power of the Consul were based, was kept on war footing, and well-organized, the residences of the First Consul, St. Cloud, the Tuileries and Malmaison, were richly ornated, the civil list increased from 1/2 million to 6 million. On January 4th 1803 the establishment of 31 senatories with revenues of 20,000 to 25,000 Franc each was decreed. Every arrondissement of a court of appeal was allocated a senatory, which represented Consular authority in the provinces. The holder of such a senatory was required to reside there for 3 months of the year. From now on the feature of the First Consul appeared on coins, life at court became more opulent. Repeatedly Bonaparte tried to get Louis XVIII. to give up his claim on France, but every time without success. A new attempt to assassinate him, by the leader of the Chouans, George Cadoudal, in connection with Pichegru, done in haste; both landed secretly in February 1805 near Beville. It provided the motive for the execution of the intention to acquire the title of Emperor for himself. The discovery of other conspiracies, in which England [!] was directly involved, Bonaparte used to describe that power as one hostile to him, after he already had taken preparations to fight a war against this country. But he wanted to begin this war as an Emperor. In the beginning (since the end of March) the plan was only hinted at by the Senate, then addresses from the departments had to get the process rolling, finally the Senate handed the proposal on to the Tribunate, which on May 3rd 1804 approved the elevation of Bonaparte to hereditary Emperor of France. This was confirmed by a decision of the Senate of May 18th and by a plebiscite, in which 3,572,329 of 3,574,598 voters opted for the Empire.
France as an Empire from May 28th 1804 to Napoleon's Resignation at Fontainebleau April 11th 1814
On December 2nd 1804 Napoleon I. was uncted as emperor in Paris by pope Pius VII., he crowned himself and his wife Josephine. The revolution had come around full circle. France had returned to a seemingly constitutional monarchy, but the medieval state apparatus had been irreversibly destroyed, the intricacy of legal and social conditions, which the feudal society being in contradiction with the knowledge of time had construed, had given way to a different order of society. While Napoleon lacked the nimbus, which comes with the heir apparent of an ancient dynasty, he understood to soon give his new dignity an appropriate appearance by suitable institutions. He surrounded himself with a magnificent court, created a large number of court officials, so those of the grand dignitaries and grand officers, created the Imperial supreme court, which was responsible for all crimes against the state, against members of the Imperial family and against the highest officers of the state. Then he tried to appease the old nobility, and, by showing favour to them, to tie them to the court. The republics, which had been founded under the Directory in Italy, were also transformed into hereditary kingdoms or principalities, as soon as France had been elevated to Empire, and in order to wipe out traces of the republic in public life, in 1805 the Republican calender was replaced by the Gregorian calendar. The Tribunate, the last pretence of a constitutional limitation of the Emperor, was abolished only in 1807. England [!], Russia and Sweden refused the recognition of the Empire, and the efforts of the King of England [!], whose possession Hannover the French in violation of the Treaty of Amiens held occupied since 1805, while they prepared for an invasion of Great Britain's coast, resulted in the 3rd Coalition against France, which was joined by Austria and Russia (April 1805). Before Napoleon began the war, public credit had increased considerably, the Bank of France established in 1803 served the state excellently. Napoleon did not wait for the allies to attack, took the troops originally destined to land in England to southern Germany, and while Massena in Italy prevented Archduke Karl from advancing, Napoleon himself defeated the Austrians near Elchingen, took Ulm, occupied Vienna and defeated the Russians near Austerlitz on December 2nd 1805 (see under Austrian War against France 1805-1809). In the Treaty of Pressburg, December 26th 1805, Austria ceded about 1000 square miles of its territory, which was partly used to add to the Kingdom of Italy, in part to rewarding Würtemberg and Bavaria, the allies of France. Napoleon elevated both states to independent kingdoms, and after having granted full sovereignty to Baden, gave another incentive for the dissolution of the German Empire [!]. In Marz 1805 Napoleon took the title King of Italy. Soon after he annexed Genoa and Piombino into France and placed the other principalities of northern Italy under French administration. Simultaneously at Trafalgar he lost his entire new navy which had been created with great effort, and this caused new financial difficulties. England [!], in order to press its advantage further, and to destroy the Continental System, created to harm its trade and its prosperity, began negotiations with Sweden and Russia, which easily lead to a result, as the federal system established by Napoleon threatened the balance of powers in Europe more and more. In order to prevent Prussia from joining an alliance hostile to him, Napoleon gave it the Electorate of Hannover. Family ties were to tie Bavaria and Baden to France, while Napoleon's closest relatives as well as famous generals were rewarded with kingdoms and principalities. Napoleon made his brother Joseph King of Naples, his other brother Louis King of Holland, his stepson Eugene Beauharnais Viceroy of Italy, Joaquin Murat Grand Duke of Berg, replaced the German Empitre [!] by the Confederation of the Rhine, a federation of smaller German states under French protection (1806). Prussia finally joined the alliance against France, when Naspoleon threatened to take Hannover from him. He immediately took up the fight with the 4 Nordic powers allied against him, defeated the Prussians near Jena and the Russians near Friedland and Eylau, and on July 7th respectively 9th forced peace with Prussia and Russia at Tilsit (see Prussian-Russian War against France 1806-1807) in the consequence of which the Kingdom of Westphalia was formed of the territories taken from Prussia, as well as of the territories of three other German princes (Hessen-Kassel, Braunschweig, Orange), further the Grand Duchy of Warsaw and the Republic of Danzig were established, Prussia and Russia forced to join the Continental System.
Until then Talleyrand had been minister of foreign affairs, but in August Napoleon gave his ministry to Count Champagny, as Talleyrand did not want to agree with the Emperor's plan to place Spain under his control. The next step in the implementation of this plan was the occupation of Portugal in 1807 under the pretext to block the ports of the country to the English [!]. Then Napoleon interfered in a dispute within the royal family, and in consequence in July 1808 acquired the crown of Spain, which he gave to his brother Joseph, while the crown of Naples now was goven to his brother-in-law Murat. The Spaniards, however, did not allow them to be placed under French rule this way, and began a popular war against the French armies, and were supported by the Portuguese and the English [!], which ended only in 1814 with he expulsion of the French (see Spanish-Portuguese War of Liberation). The successes of the allies in Spain caused the resumption of the struggle against Napoleon by Austria (see Austrian War against France 1809). At the Congress of Erfurt, Napoleon had won over Russia for a joint war against Austria, and after victories at Eckmühl, Aspern and Essling the Emperor dictated the Peace of Schönbrunn on October 14th 1809, by which Austria again had to cede 2,000 square miles of its territory, in part to Russia, in part to princes of the Confederation of the Rhine, in part to Italy. The Papal State now was annexed by France, Sweden by the influence of Russia caused to join the Continental System, and peace seemingly secured by the marriage of Napoleon (in 2nd marriage, who had divorced his wife Josephine, with whom he had no children) to the Austrian princess Marie Louise, on Aoril 2nd 1810. She gave birth to a son on March 20th 1811, who was given the title King of Rome.
Napoleon now stood at the zenith of his power; success in war, the dominance of France over all European states compensated the French for the loss of their political liberties, and reconciliated them with the return of absolutism. Hereditary nobility had been restored (March 1st 1808), but without feudal privileges, and it was tied to the ownership of a significant fortune. Hierarchically the top position was held by princes, then followed dukes, counts, barons, knights. More important and more beneficial for the state was the new organization of the courts, the introduction of excellent codes (Code Napoleon) and the establishment of the University of Paris. In order to make the Continental System more effective, Holland, the North Sea coast (which was formed into the departements Ems, Weser, Elbe) were annexed into France. As also Wallis, Tuscany and the Papal State had been annexed, the state, divided in 130 departements instead of the original 83, now contained 50 % more territory than at the time of the revolution. During the peace, however, only a part of trade and industry experienced a recovery. The Continental System burdened the world of trade as a nightmare, namely when England [!] took retaliatory measures, but it failed to achieve its goal, because smuggling trade could not be controlled, the coastal states allied with France paid milited attention to the matter. Finally Russia, which regarded the expulsion of the Duke of Oldenburg, a close relative of the Czar, a violation of the peace treaty, in 1810 left the Continental System and moved closer to England [!], no longer putting up obstacles to the import of goods from the latter country. Therefore Napoleon decided on war with Russia, mobilized all his allies for a campaign against the latter and in 1812 invaded Russia with half a million men, before the war on the Pyrenaic Peninsula had ended. He advanced to Moscow, but on the retreat lost his entire army, more due to the severity of the winter and to unknown deprivations than to he Russian arms. The moral impression of his horrible loss was even of greater importance than the material one. In 1813 Prussia joined the coalition of England and Russia; her armies moved against Saxony. Napoleon did win a number of battles and gained ground, but when Austria and Sweden joined the allies opposing him and decided the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig October 18th 1813, the proud edifice of his rule fell into ruins. The German princes, pressed by peoples who long had had enough of French rule, now joined the allies, which in 1814 invaded France from all sides and which by taking Paris forced Napoleon on April 11th 1814 to resign (at Fontainebleau). Not without importance for his decision had been Joaquin Murat, King of Naples, who in a decisive moment took side against Napoleon. For details see Russian-German War of 1812-1815.
F.) France under the Restauration of the Bourbons until the July Crisis, 1814-1830
a.) First Restauration, May 3rd 1814 to March 20 1815
The brother of Louis XVI., the Count of Artois, immediately responded to the call of the Senate to take hold of the vacated throne, arrived in Paris on May 3rd 1814, while Napoleon had retreated to the island of Elba, which had been allocated to him, on April 20th 1814. The new king from the old house Bourbon, Louis XVIII., concluded the Peace of Paris with the allies (May 30th 1814), which by and large limited France to the territory she held in 1792, but which gave her colonies, except for Tobago, St. Lucia and Isle-de-France, to England [!]. He rejected the draft of a constitution presented to him by Senate, but on June 4th in form of the constitutional charte gave France a constitution which established equality in front of the law, in taxation, in claims on offices, amnesty, inviolability of property, personal freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and which created 2 chambers, which were to decide over laws and taxes. However, the intention of the government to transgress or rescind a number of constitutional rights became apparent in a number of measures. This caused the dissatisfaction of the middle classes, which were heavily burdened by taxation, while the Napoleonic nobility, deprived of eputation and influence by the old nobility which had returned, shared the dissatisfaction of the army, which had no sympathies for the Bourbons, and had been embittered by a reduction in pay, by dismissals and ordered retirement. These conditions were favorable for the deposed emperor when it came to the implementation of his plan to regain the crown by the use of force.
b.) The Hundred Days March 20th to June 21st 1815
On March 1st 1815 Napoleon landed near Frejus, and, without a strike being blown, on March 20th reached Paris (Napoleon's return), while the king on March 19th fled to Gent, as he was deserted by Marshall Ney whom he had dispached against Napoleon. Napoleon, under the jubilation of the people and of the army, moved into the Tuileries. In a proclamation he promised to pursue a policy of peace; he left the constitutional charte by and large unchanged, and in front of the assembled members of both chambers swore on it on the Field of Mars on June 1st 1815. But the Vienna Congress, where the allies consulted, declared Napoleon for a disturber of world peace. A Quadruple Alliance consisting of Prussia, Austria, Russia and England [!] was concluded; the allied armies moved on the Rhine. Napoleon moved against them, won several engagements, but was completely defeated with his main force by the allied English [!] and Prussians at Waterloo on June 18th, and when both chambers refused the money necessary to continue he war, resigned on June 21st in favour of his son Napoleon II. Paris surrendered on July 3rd, see Prussian-Russian War against France.
C.) Second Restauration July 9th 1815 to 1830.
........

source in German, posted by Zeno





EXTERNAL
LINKS
DOCUMENTS
REFERENCE


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 9th 2009

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics