Coup of 30 Prairial VII

Last updated

The Coup of 30 Prairial Year VII (Coup d'État du 30 prairial an VII), also known as the Revenge of the Councils (revanche des conseils) 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.

Contents

Prelude

The March-April 1799 elections of 315 new deputies into the two councils had produced a new Neo-Jacobin majority in these two bodies, particularly in the lower house. The Council of Five Hundred — the lower house in the legislature under the French Directory — became unhappy with the directors' conduct of the War of the Second Coalition, and in particular with their recall of General Jean Étienne Championnet, a former Jacobin.

Council of Five Hundred lower house of the legislature of France during the period commonly known as the Directory (Directoire)

The Council of Five Hundred, 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 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.

A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house.

French Directory Executive power of the French Constitution of 1795-1799

The Directory or Directorate was a five-member committee that governed France from 2 November 1795, when it replaced the Committee of Public Safety, until 9 November 1799, when it was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in the Coup of 18 Brumaire, and replaced by the French Consulate. It gave its name to the final four years of the French Revolution.

The Council of Ancients and Council of Five Hundred—the two legislative branches under the French Directory—voted an act declaring that the election of Director Jean-Baptiste Treilhard had been illegal, and on 29 Prairial/17 June had replaced him with Louis Gohier, erstwhile Jacobin deputy and minister during the French Convention.

Council of Ancients the upper house of the French Directory, a.k.a. Council of Elders

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.

Coup

But the Councils were not satisfied with one removal. The new anti-Jacobin Director Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès shared, in some degree, the Councils' sentiments and, by holding this view, it likely helped him into his new appointment to office in May 1799. He was glad to see his colleagues removed, and was perfectly willing to work with Jacobin generals to achieve his ends. In the Council of Five Hundred, the deputy Antoine, comte Boulay de la Meurthe, generally seen as a moderate, demanded the resignation or removal of directors Louis-Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux and Philippe Antoine Merlin de Douai. In this he was soon joined not only by his own Council but by the Council of Ancients, and by directors Paul Barras, a Directory veteran since 1795 who was popularly known for his cunning, a trait which likely ensured that he was not to be yet another director who should have been removed, and by the newly appointed Sieyès.

Paul Barras French politician

Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras, commonly known as Paul Barras, was a French politician of the French Revolution, and the main executive leader of the Directory regime of 1795–1799.

When Révellière de Lépeaux and Merlin de Douai resisted, General Barthélémy Catherine Joubert, recently placed in command of the 17th military division (Paris) organized some troop movements of soldiers in Paris. By the evening of June 18, Révellière-Lépeaux and Merlin had both tendered their resignations.

Although nothing in this sequence of events formally violated the French Constitution of 1795, it is generally considered a coup.

Constitution of the Year III French constitution

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.

Related Research Articles

Jean-François Reubell or Rewbell was a French lawyer, diplomat, and politician of the Revolution.

Timeline of the French Revolution timeline

The following is a timeline of the French Revolution.

French Consulate former government of 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.

Coup of 18 Brumaire coup that brought Napoleon to power

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 de Douai French politician

Philippe-Antoine Merlin, known as Merlin de Douai was a French politician and lawyer.

Antoine Christophe Merlin member of several legislative bodies during the era of the French Revolution

Antoine Christophe Merlin was a member of several legislative bodies during the era of the French Revolution. He is usually called Merlin de Thionville to distinguish him from Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai.

Louis Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux French politician

Louis Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux was a deputy to the National Convention during the French Revolution. He later served as a prominent leader of the French Directory.

Roger Ducos French revoltionary

Pierre Roger Ducos, better known as Roger Ducos, was a French political figure during the Revolution and First Empire, a member of the National Convention, and of the Directory.

Jean-François-Auguste Moulin French general

Jean-François-Auguste Moulin was a member of the French Directory. He had a long career as a military officer serving France in the Royal Army of King Louis XVI, the Garde Nationale of the French Revolution, and the Grande Armée of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Jean-Antoine Marbot French general and politician

Jean-Antoine Marbot, born 7 December 1754 in Altillac (Corrèze), died 19 April 1800 in Genoa (Italy), 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.

Coup of 18 Fructidor coup détat

The Coup of 18 Fructidor, Year V, was a seizure of power by members of the French Directory on 4 September 1797 when 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.

Jacques Antoine Creuzé-Latouche French economist and politician

Jacques Antoine Creuzé-Latouche was a French lawyer, Jacobin, and member of the National Convention of France during the French Revolution.

Jean Joseph Victor Génissieu was a French lawyer and politician who was in turn president of the National Convention, Minister of Justice and president of the Council of Five Hundred during the French Revolution.

Pierre-Charles-Louis Baudin French politician

Pierre-Charles-Louis Baudin, born 18 December 1748 in Sedan, Ardennes and died 14 October 1799 in Paris, was a French revolutionary and politician. He is the father of the admiral and explorer Charles Baudin and brother-in-law of the chemist Jean Henri Hassenfratz. He was noted as a moderate; he opposed the execution of Louis XVI.

Amédée Willot French soldier and politician

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.

Events in the year 1798 in the Belgian Departments of France. The French First Republic had annexed the Austrian Netherlands and Prince-bishopric of Liège in 1795 and had reorganised the territory as the nine departments Dyle, Escaut (department), Forêts, Jemmape, Lys, Meuse-Inférieure, Deux-Nèthes, Ourthe, and Sambre-et-Meuse.

References