French First Republic

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French Republic

République française
1792–1804
Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).svg
Flag
(1794–1804)
Motto:  Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité ou la Mort
("Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, or Death")
Anthem:  Chant de guerre pour l'Armée du Rhin [1]
("War Song for the Army of the Rhine")
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
Napoleonic Wars
21 September 1792
10 March 1793–27 July 1794
27 July 1794
6 September 1795
4 September 1797
18 June 1799
9 November 1799
24 December 1799
27 March 1802
  Napoleonic Wars begins
18 May 1803
 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
War Ensign of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1785-1802).svg Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia
Civil Ensign of Switzerland (Pantone).svg Swiss Confederacy
Austrian Low Countries Flag.svg Austrian Netherlands
Flag of Comtat Venaissin.svg Comtat Venaissin
Flag of Monaco.svg Principality of Monaco
First French Empire Flag of France (1794-1815, 1830-1958).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

Flag of Monaco.svg  Monaco

Flag of Italy.svg  Italy

Flag of Malta.svg  Malta

Flag of Switzerland.svg   Switzerland

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 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.

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]

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:

Political factions

   Bonapartist
   Independent
   Girondins
   The Mountain
   The Plain
   Thermidorians

No.PortraitName
(birth and death)
Term of officePolitical partyRef.
Georges Danton.jpg Georges Danton
(1759–1794)
21 September 17929 October 1792 The Mountain
Jean-MarieRoland.jpg Jean-Marie Roland de la Platière
(1734–1793)
9 October 179223 January 1793 Girondins
AduC 052 Claviere (E., 1735-1793).JPG Étienne Clavière
(1735–1793)
23 January 17932 June 1793 Girondins
Georges Danton.jpg Georges Danton
(1759–1794)
2 June 179310 July 1793 The Mountain
10 July 179327 July 1793
Robespierre.jpg Maximilien Robespierre
(1758–1794)
27 July 179327 July 1794 The Mountain
Lazare-Carnot-par-Boilly.jpg Lazare Carnot
(1753–1823)
27 July 17946 October 1794 The Plain
Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès
(1753–1824)
6 October 17948 November 1794
Lazare-Carnot-par-Boilly.jpg Lazare Carnot
(1753–1823)
8 November 17943 March 1795 The Plain
Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès
(1753–1824)
3 March 17952 November 1795
Lazare-Carnot-par-Boilly.jpg Lazare Carnot
(1753–1823)
2 November 17954 September 1797 Independent
Barras.jpg Paul Barras
(1755–1829)
4 September 179718 June 1799 Thermidorians
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, by Jacques Louis David.jpg Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès
(1748–1836)
18 June 17999 November 1799 Independent
Napoleon - 2.jpg Napoleon Bonaparte
(1769–1821)
9 November 179918 May 1804 Bonapartist
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the Conservative Senate.

See also

Related Research Articles

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1799

The French Revolution was a period of social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789 and ending in 1799. 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 the revolution's principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas such as equality before the law, the Revolution influenced the decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies.

Reign of Terror Violent period during the French Revolution

The Reign of Terror, or commonly The Terror, was 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, anticlerical sentiment, and spurious accusations of treason by Maximilien Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety.

Jacobin political club during 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. The period of its 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.

The Girondins, or Girondists, were members of a loosely knit political faction during the French Revolution.

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

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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.

<i>Sans-culottes</i> radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes during French Revolution

The sans-culottes were the common people of the lower classes in late 18th century France, a great many of whom became radical and militant partisans of the French Revolution in response to their poor quality of life under the Ancien Régime. The word sans-culotte, which is opposed to that of the aristocrat, seems to have been used for the first time on 28 February 1791 by officer Gauthier in a derogatory sense, speaking about a "sans-culottes army". The word came in vogue during the demonstration of 20 June 1792.

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.

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Louis Antoine de Saint-Just Leader during the French Revolution

Louis Antoine Léon de Saint-Just was a Jacobin leader during the French Revolution. He was a close friend of Maximilien Robespierre and served as his most trusted ally during the period of Jacobin rule (1793–94) in the French First Republic. Saint-Just worked as a legislator and a military commissar, but he achieved a lasting reputation as the face of the Reign of Terror. He publicly delivered the condemnatory reports that emanated from Robespierre and the Committee of Public Safety and defended the use of violence against opponents of the government. He supervised the arrests of some of the most famous figures of the Revolution and saw many of them off to the guillotine. For his unyielding severity, later writers dubbed him the "Angel of Death".

French Constitution of 1793 constitution

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Revolutionary Tribunal Tribunal during the French revolution

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François René Mallarmé French politician

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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.

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