France under the Directory

France under the Directory

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On 9 thermidor Year 2, Robespierre fell; on18 brumaire Year 8, a coup d'etat brought Bonaparte to power. This book demonstrates that the interval between these two momentous events was also of crucial importance. Using the findings of recent research, it presents a balanced appraisal of the thermidorean and directorial regimes to the English student. For Jacobin sympathizers thermidor and the Directory represented the betrayal of the revolutionary idea; for Bonapartist propagandists it represented chaos and corruption, and the darker the Directory could be painted, the more Bonaparte's reputation would be flattered. Dr Lyons attempts to dispose of these myths. He stresses the Directory's successes as well as its failures, and emphasizes elements of continuity which link it both with the Jacobin regime and with the Consulate. The regime inherited a heavy burden of war, inflation and food shortages, yet it remained revolutionary in its Republicanism, its anticlericalism, and its desire to carry the fruits of the Revolution to the rest of Europe. At the same time it laid the foundations of financial stability and administrative efficiency on which Bonaparte was to build.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 269 pages
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0521207851
  • 9780521207850

Table of contents

1. 'Nonante-Cinq'; 2. The Conspiracy of the Equals; 3. Royalist delusions; 4. Directorial society: 'Les Gros'; 5. Directorial society: 'Les Maigres'; 6. Education and social welfare; 7. 'Monsieur Dimanche' and 'Citoyen Decadi'; 8. Philosophy and science: The legacy of Condillac; 9. Taste under the Directory; 10. The nation in arms; 11. Administration and the 'conspiracy of indifference'; 12. Economic life; 13. Foreign policy: The Mediterranean dimension; 14. Foreign policy: Profit and propaganda; 15. The coups of floreal and prairial; 16. The First Republic's last coup d'etat .
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