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Council of Five Hundred
Conseil des Cinq-Cents
|French First Republic|
|Established||2 November 1795|
|Disbanded||10 November 1799|
|Preceded by||National Convention (unicameral)|
|Succeeded by||Corps législatif|
|Salle du Manège, rue de Rivoli, Paris|
The Council of Five Hundred (Conseil des Cinq-Cents), or simply the Five Hundred, was the lower house of the legislature of France under the Constitution of the Year III. It existed during the period commonly known (from the name of the executive branch during this time) as the Directory (Directoire), from 26 October 1795 until 9 November 1799: roughly the second half of the period generally referred to as the French Revolution.
The Council of Five Hundred was established under the Constitution of Year III which was adopted by a referendum on 24 September 1795,and constituted after the first elections which were held from 12–21 October 1795. Voting rights were restricted to citizens owning property bringing in income equal to 150 days of work. Each member elected had to be at least 30 years old, meet residency qualifications and pay taxes. To prevent them coming under the pressure of the sans-culottes and the Paris mob, the constitution allowed the Council of the Five Hundred to meet in closed session. A third of them would be replaced annually.
Besides functioning as a legislative body, the Council of Five Hundred proposed the list out of which the Ancients chose five Directors, who jointly held executive power. The Council of Five Hundred had their own distinctive official uniform, with robes, cape and hat, just as did the Council of Ancients and the Directors.Under the Thermidorean constitution, as Boissy d'Anglas put it, the Council of Five Hundred was to be the imagination of the Republic, and the Council of Ancients its reason.
In the elections of April 1797, there were a number of voting irregularities a very low turnout, resulting in a strong showing for Royalist tendencies. A number of the newly elected deputies formed the Club de Clichy in the Council.Jean-Charles Pichegru, widely assumed to be a monarchist, was elected President of the Council of Five Hundred. After documentation of Pichegru's treasonous activities was supplied by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Directors accused the entire body of plotting against the Revolution and moved quickly to annul the elections and arrest the royalists in what was known as the Coup of 18 Fructidor.
To support the coup, General Lazare Hoche, then commander of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse, arrived in the capital with his troops, while Napoleon sent an army under Pierre Augereau. Deputies were arrested and 53 were exiled to Cayenne in French Guiana. Since death from tropical disease was likely, it was referred to as the "dry guillotine". The 42 opposition newspapers were closed. The chambers were purged, and elections were partly cancelled.
The elections of April 1798 were heavily manipulated. The Council of the Five Hundred passed a law on 8 May barring 106 recently elected deputies from taking their seats, all of whom were of a left-wing persuasion. Elections in 48 departments were annulled.Nevertheless, left-wing opinion grew in strength in the Council in 1799, and on 18 June 1799, the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients forced the resignations of the most anti-Jacobin Directors, Merlin de Douai, La Révellière-Lépeaux and Treilhard in the co-called 'Coup of 30 Prairial VII'.
In October 1799 Napoleon's brother Lucien Bonaparte was appointed President of the Council of Five Hundred.Soon afterwards, in the coup of 18 Brumaire, Napoleon led a group of grenadiers who drove the Council from its chambers and installed him as leader of France as its First Consul. This ended the Council of Five Hundred, the Council of Ancients and the Directory.
The Directory was the five-member committee that governed France from 2 November 1795 until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and replaced by the Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution. Mainstream historiography also uses the term in reference to the period from the dissolution of the National Convention on 26 October 1795 to Napoleon's coup d’état.
Jean-François Reubell or Rewbell was a French lawyer, diplomat, and politician of the Revolution.
Jean-Charles Pichegru was a distinguished French general of the Revolutionary Wars. Under his command, French troops overran Belgium and the Netherlands before fighting on the Rhine front. His royalist positions led to his loss of power and imprisonment in Cayenne, French Guiana during the Coup of 18 Fructidor in 1797. After escaping into exile in London and joining the staff of Alexander Korsakov, he returned to France and planned the Pichegru Conspiracy to remove Napoleon from power, which led to his arrest and death. Despite his defection, his surname is one of the names inscribed under the Arc de Triomphe, on Column 3.
The following is a timeline of the French Revolution.
Pierre Claude François Daunou was a French statesman of the French Revolution and Empire. An author and historian, he served as the nation’s archivist under both the Empire and the Restoration, contributed a volume to the Histoire littéraire de la France, and published more than twenty volumes of lectures he delivered when he held the chair of history and ethics at the Collège de France.
The Consulate was the top-level Government of France from the fall of the Directory in the coup of Brumaire on 10 November 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire on 18 May 1804. By extension, the term The Consulate also refers to this period of French history.
This is a glossary of the French Revolution. It generally does not explicate names of individual people or their political associations; those can be found in List of people associated with the French Revolution.
The Coup of 18 Brumaire brought General Napoleon Bonaparte to power as First Consul of France and in the view of most historians ended the French Revolution. This bloodless coup d'état overthrew the Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.
Philippe-Antoine Merlin, known as Merlin de Douai was a French politician and lawyer.
The Council of Ancients or Council of Elders was the upper house of French legislature under the Constitution of the Year III, during the period commonly known as the Directory, from 22 August 1795 until 9 November 1799, roughly the second half of the period generally referred to as the French Revolution.
The Constitution of the Year III is the constitution that founded the Directory. Adopted by the Convention on 5 Fructidor Year III and approved by plebiscite on September 6. Its preamble is the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and of the Citizen of 1795.
The Constitution of the Year VIII was a national constitution of France, adopted on 24 December 1799, which established the form of government known as the Consulate. The coup of 18 Brumaire had effectively given all power to Napoleon Bonaparte, and in the eyes of some, ended the French Revolution.
The Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII, also known as the Revenge of the Councils was a bloodless coup in France that occurred on 18 June 1799—30 Prairial Year VII by the French Republican Calendar. It left Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès as the dominant figure of the French government, and prefigured the coup of 18 Brumaire that brought Napoleon Bonaparte to power.
The French elections of 1795 were held from 12 October to 4 November 1795 Constitution of the Year III. The elections elected the fifth member of the French Directory, the new collective government of France, and renewed 150 deputies (one-third) of the French Council of Five Hundred. The rest of the Corps législatif remained unelected, as expressed by the Constitution. There was a census suffrage, so only 30,000 citizens voted.
Jean-Antoine Marbot, also known to contemporaries as Antoine Marbot, was a French general and politician. He belongs to a family that has distinguished itself particularly in the career of arms, giving three generals to France in less than 50 years.
The Coup of 18 Fructidor, Year V, was a seizure of power by members of the French Directory on 4 September 1797 whilst their opponents, the Royalists, were gaining strength. Howard G. Brown, Professor of History at Binghamton University, stresses the turn toward dictatorship and the failure of liberal democracy under the Directory, blaming it on "chronic violence, ambivalent forms of justice, and repeated recourse to heavy-handed repression."
The Thermidorians, known also a Thermidorian Convention, was a French political group active during the French Revolution between 1794 and 1799.
Amédée Willot, Count of Gramprez, held several military commands during the French Revolutionary Wars but his association with Jean-Charles Pichegru led to his exile from France in 1797. He joined the French Royal Army as a volunteer in 1771 and was a captain by 1787. He was elected commander of a volunteer battalion in 1792 and served in the War of the Pyrenees. Shortly after being promoted commander of a light infantry regiment Willot was appointed general of brigade in June 1793. A few months later he was denounced as a Royalist and jailed. In the light of later events, this may have been an accurate assessment of Willot's sentiments. After release from prison in January 1795, he led troops in Spain during the summer campaign. He was promoted to general of division in July 1795.
Claude-Alexandre Ysabeau was born in Gien on 14 July 1754 and died in Paris on 18 March 1831.