French First Republic

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French Republic

République française
1792–1804
Anthem: "La Marseillaise" [1]
France Departement 1801.svg
The French Republic in 1801
Capital Paris
Common languages
Religion
Government1792–1795 Authoritarian directorial revolutionary republic

1795–1799 Oligarchical directorial republic

1799–1804 Autocratic republic
President of the National Convention  
 1792
Philippe Rühl (first)
 1795
Jean Joseph Victor Génissieu (last)
President of the Directory  
 1795–1799
By rotation: 3 months duration
First Consul  
 1799–1804
Napoléon Bonaparte
Legislature Parliament
Council of Ancients (1795–1799)
Historical era French Revolutionary Wars
14 July 1789
21 September 1792
5 September 1793 to
28 July 1794
4 February 1794
24 July 1794
9 November 1799
 Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed emperor by the Senate
18 May 1804
Currency livre (to 1794), franc, assignat
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of France (1790-1794).svg Kingdom of France
Flag of Corsica.svg Anglo-Corsican Kingdom
Austrian Low Countries Flag.svg Austrian Netherlands
First French Empire Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg
Anglo-Corsican Kingdom Flag of Corsica.svg
Today part ofFlag of France.svg  France

Flag of Germany.svg  Germany

Flag of the Netherlands.svg  Netherlands

Flag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium

Flag of Luxembourg.svg  Luxembourg

In the history of France, the First Republic (French: Première République), officially the French Republic (République française), was founded on 22 September 1792 during the French Revolution. The First Republic lasted until the declaration of the First Empire in 1804 under Napoleon, although the form of the government changed several times. This period was characterized by the fall of the monarchy, the establishment of the National Convention and the Reign of Terror, the Thermidorian Reaction and the founding of the Directory, and, finally, the creation of the Consulate and Napoleon's rise to power.

Contents

End of the monarchy in France

Under the Legislative Assembly, which was in power before the proclamation of the First Republic, France was engaged in war with Prussia and Austria. In July 1792, the Duke of Brunswick, commanding general of the Austro–Prussian Army, issued his Brunswick Manifesto, in which he threatened the destruction of Paris should any harm come to the King Louis XVI of France. The foreign threat exacerbated France's political turmoil amid the French Revolution and deepened the passion and sense of urgency among the various factions. In the violence of 10 August 1792, citizens stormed the Tuileries Palace, killing six hundred of the King's Swiss guards and insisting on the removal of the king. [2] A renewed fear of anti-revolutionary action prompted further violence, and in the first week of September 1792, mobs of Parisians broke into the city's prisons, killing over half of the prisoners. This included nobles, clergymen, and political prisoners, but also numerous common criminals, such as prostitutes and petty thieves, many murdered in their cells—raped, stabbed, and slashed to death. This became known as the September Massacres. [3]

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National Convention

As a result of the spike in public violence and the political instability of the constitutional monarchy, a party of six members of France's Legislative Assembly was assigned the task of overseeing elections. The resulting Convention was founded with the dual purpose of abolishing the monarchy and drafting a new constitution. The Convention's first act, on 10 August 1792, was to establish the French First Republic and officially strip the king of all political powers. Louis XVI, by then a private citizen bearing his family name of Capet, was subsequently put on trial for crimes of high treason starting in December 1792. On 16 January 1793 he was convicted, and on 21 January, he was executed by guillotine. [4]

Throughout the winter of 1792 and spring of 1793, Paris was plagued by food riots and mass hunger. The new Convention did little to remedy the problem until late spring of 1793, occupied instead with matters of war. Finally, on 6 April 1793, the Convention created the Committee of Public Safety, and was given a monumental task: "To deal with the radical movements of the Enragés, food shortages and riots, the revolt in the Vendée and in Brittany, recent defeats of its armies, and the desertion of its commanding general." [5] Most notably, the Committee of Public Safety instated a policy of terror, and the guillotine began to fall on perceived enemies of the republic at an ever-increasing rate, beginning the period known today as the Reign of Terror. [6]

Despite growing discontent with the National Convention as a ruling body, in June the Convention drafted the Constitution of 1793, which was ratified by popular vote in early August. However, the Committee of Public Safety was seen as an "emergency" government, and the rights guaranteed by the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the new constitution were suspended under its control. The Committee's laws and policies took the revolution to unprecedented heights.

Directory

After the arrest and execution of Robespierre on July 28, 1794, the Jacobin club was closed, and the surviving Girondins were reinstated. A year later, the National Convention adopted the Constitution of the Year III. They reestablished freedom of worship, began releasing large numbers of prisoners, and most importantly, initiated elections for a new legislative body. On 3 November 1795, the Directory was established. Under this system, France was led by a bicameral Parliament, consisting of an upper chamber called the Council of Elders (with 250 members) and a lower chamber called the Council of Five Hundred (with, accordingly, 500 members), and a collective Executive of five members called the Directory (from which the historical period gets its name). Due to internal instability, caused by hyperinflation of the paper monies called Assignats, [7] and French military disasters in 1798 and 1799, the Directory lasted only four years, until overthrown in 1799.[ citation needed ]

Consulate

The period known as the French Consulate began with the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799. Members of the Directory itself planned the coup, indicating clearly the failing power of the Directory. Napoleon Bonaparte was a co-conspirator in the coup, and became head of the government as the First Consul. He would later proclaim himself Emperor of the French, ending the First French Republic and ushering in the French First Empire. [8]

Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power during the Coup of 18 Brumaire Bouchot - Le general Bonaparte au Conseil des Cinq-Cents.jpg
Napoleon Bonaparte seizes power during the Coup of 18 Brumaire

Leading heads of the Republic

The constitution of the republic did not provide for a formal head of state or a head of government. It could be discussed whether the head of state would have been the president of the National Assembly under international law. However, this changed every two weeks and was therefore not formative. The following list is based on the actual positions of power within the executive:

NameTermOfficePolitical DirectionReason for termination
Georges Danton 10 August 1792 - 9 October 1792Justice Minister Cordeliers Resignation due to election to the convention
Jean-Marie Roland de la Platiere 9 October 1792 - 23 January 1793Interior Minister Girondins Money cabinet affair
Étienne Clavière 23 January 1793 - 2 June 1793Finance Girondins Paris Sansculott Uprising
Georges Danton 2 June 1793 - 10 July 1793Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety Cordeliers, then to the Indulgents Not re-elected
Maximilien de Robespierre 27 July 1793 - 27 July 1794Chairman of the Committee of Public Safety Jacobins Thermidor
Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot 27 July 1794 - 6 October 1794Member of the Committee of Public Safety Thermidorians Out Elected
???7 October 1794 - 7 November 1794Member of the Committee of Public Safety Out Elected
Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot 8 November 1794 - 3 March 1795Member of the Committee of Public Safety Thermidorians Out Elected
???4 March 1795 - 1 November 1795Member of the Committee of Public Safety Dissolution of the committee, new constitution
Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot 2 November 1795 - 4 September 1797Director of the Directory Thermidorians Coup d'état of the 18th Fructidor V
Paul de Barras 4 September 1797 - 18 June 1799Director of the Directory Thermidorians 30th Prairial VII coup d'état
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès 18 June 1799 - 9 November 1799Director of the Directory Coup d'état of the 18th Brumaire VIII
Napoleon Bonaparte 9 November 1799 - 2 December 1804 First Consul Bonapartist Coronation of the emperor

See also

Related Research Articles

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1799

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution made a profound impression on the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Reign of Terror Violent period during the French Revolution

The Reign of Terror, or more commonly The Terror, refers to a period of the French Revolution when, following the creation of the First French Republic, a series of massacres and numerous public executions took place in response to revolutionary fervour, anti-clerical sentiment, and spurious accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety.

Georges Danton French revolutionary

George Jacques Danton was a leading figure in the early stages of the French Revolution, in particular as the first president of the Committee of Public Safety. Danton's role in the onset of the Revolution has been disputed; many historians describe him as "the chief force in the overthrow of the French monarchy and the establishment of the First French Republic".

Jacobin the more radical constitutional reform group in the French Revolution

The Society of the Friends of the Constitution, after 1792 renamed Society of the Jacobins, Friends of Freedom and Equality, commonly known as the Jacobin Club or simply the Jacobins, became the most influential political club during the French Revolution of 1789 and following. The period of their political ascendancy includes the Reign of Terror, during which time well over ten thousand people were put on trial and executed in France, many for political crimes.

Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve French politician

Jérôme Pétion de Villeneuve was a French writer and politician who served as the second mayor of Paris, from 1791 to 1792.

National Convention Single-chamber assembly in France from 21 September 1792 to 26 October 1795

The National Convention was the first government of the French Revolution, following the two-year National Constituent Assembly and the one-year Legislative Assembly. Created after the great insurrection of 10 August 1792, it was the first French government organized as a republic, abandoning the monarchy altogether. The Convention sat as a single-chamber assembly from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795.

The Mountain political group during the French Revolution

The Mountain was a political group during the French Revolution. Its members, called the Montagnards, sat on the highest benches in the National Assembly.

Jacques-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne French revolutionary leader

Jacques-Nicolas Billaud-Varenne, also known as Jean Nicolas, was a French personality of the Revolutionary period. Though not one of the most well known figures of the French Revolution, Jacques Nicolas Billaud-Varenne was an instrumental figure of the period known as the Reign of Terror. Billaud-Varenne climbed his way up the ladder of power during that period, becoming one of the most militant members of the Committee of Public Safety. He was recognized and worked with French Revolution figures Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre, and is often considered one of the key architects of The Terror. "No, we will not step backward, our zeal will only be smothered in the tomb; either the Revolution will triumph or we will all die."

Jean-Marie Collot dHerbois French actor and writer

Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois was a French actor, dramatist, essayist, and revolutionary. He was a member of the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror and, while he saved Madame Tussaud from the Guillotine, he administered the execution of more than 2,000 people in the city of Lyon.

The Thermidorian Reaction is the common term, in the historiography of the French Revolution, for the period between the ousting of Maximilien Robespierre on 9 Thermidor II, or 27 July 1794, to the inauguration of the French Directory on 1 November 1795. The "Thermidorian Reaction" was named after the month in which the coup took place, and was the latter part of the National Convention's rule of France. It was marked by the end of the Reign of Terror, decentralization of executive powers from the Committee of Public Safety, and a turn from the radical leftist policies of the Montagnard Convention to more conservative positions. Economic and general populism, dechristianization, and harsh wartime measures were largely abandoned, as the members of the Convention, disillusioned and frightened of the centralized government of the Terror, preferred a more stable political order that would have the approval of the affluent. The Reaction saw the Left suppressed by brutal force, including massacres, as well as the disbanding of the Jacobin Club, the dispersal of the sans-culottes, and the renunciation of the Montagnard ideology.

Jean-Lambert Tallien French political figure of the revolutionary period

Jean-Lambert Tallien was a French political figure of the revolutionary period.

Jacques Hébert 1757-1794 French journalist and politician

Jacques René Hébert was a French journalist and the founder and editor of the extreme radical newspaper Le Père Duchesne during the French Revolution.

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.

Revolutionary Tribunal Tribunal during the French revolution

The Revolutionary Tribunal was a court instituted by the National Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders. It eventually became one of the most powerful engines of the Reign of Terror.

Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier French politician

Marc-Guillaume Alexis Vadier was a French politician of the French Revolution.

First White Terror counter-revolution in France in 1795

The White Terror was a period during the French Revolution in 1795, when a wave of violent attacks swept across much of France. The victims of this violence were people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror – followers of Robespierre and Marat, and members of local Jacobin clubs. The violence was perpetrated primarily by those whose relatives or associates had been victims of the Great Terror, or whose lives and livelihoods had been threatened by the government and its supporters before the Thermidorean Reaction. Principally these were, in Paris, the Muscadins, and in the countryside, monarchists, supporters of the Girondins, those who opposed the Civil Constitution of the Clergy and those otherwise hostile to the Jacobin political agenda. The Great Terror had been largely an organised political programme, based on laws such as the Law of 22 Prairial, and enacted through official institutions such as the Revolutionary Tribunal, but the White Terror was essentially a series of uncoordinated attacks by local activists who shared common perspectives but no central organisation. In particular locations, there were however more organised counter-revolutionary movements such as the Companions of Jehu in Lyon and the Companions of the Sun in Provence. The name 'White Terror' derives from the white cockades worn in the hats of royalists.

Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and statesman who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, he campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, and the abolition both of celibacy for the clergy and of slavery. Robespierre was an outspoken advocate for the citizens without a voice, for their unrestricted admission to the National Guard, to public offices, and for the right to carry arms in self-defence. He played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French monarchy in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.

References

  1. Mould, Michael (2011). The Routledge Dictionary of Cultural References in Modern French. New York: Taylor & Francis. p. 147. ISBN   978-1-136-82573-6 . Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  2. Censer, Jack R. and Hunt, Lynn. Liberty, Equality, Fraternity: Exploring the French Revolution. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004.
  3. Doyle, William. The Oxford History of The French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. pp 191–92.
  4. Doyle, William. The Oxford History of the French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. pp 196.
  5. The French Revolution [videorecording] : liberté, egalité, fraternité, a hitler Jr. is born in blood / produced & directed by Doug Shultz; written by Doug Shultz, Hilary Sio, Thomas Emil. [New York, N.Y.] : History Channel : Distributed in the U.S. by New Video, 2005.
  6. "Robespierre and the Terror | History Today". www.historytoday.com. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  7. "J.E. Sandrock: "Bank notes of the French Revolution" and First Republic" (PDF).
  8. "Paris: Capital of the 19th Century". library.brown.edu. Retrieved 1 February 2017.

Coordinates: 48°52′00″N2°19′59″E / 48.86667°N 2.33306°E / 48.86667; 2.33306