Paul Barras

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Paul François Jean Nicolas
Barras.jpg
Member of the Directory
In office
2 November 1795 10 November 1799
Preceded byOffice created
(Preceded by the President of the Committee of Public Safety De Cambacérès)
Succeeded byOffice abolished
(Succeeded by the First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte)
President of the National Convention
In office
4 February 1795 19 February 1795
Preceded by Stanislas Joseph François Xavier Rovère
Succeeded by François Louis Bourdon
Member of the National Convention
Constituency Var
In office
20 September 1792 10 November 1795
President of the Directory
In office
1 November 1796 30 January 1797
Personal details
Born(1755-06-30)30 June 1755
Fox-Amphoux, France
Died29 January 1829(1829-01-29) (aged 73)
Chaillot (present-day Paris), France
Political party The Mountain (1792–1794)
Thermidorian (1794–1799)
Spouse(s)Unknown wife (left)
Domestic partner Sophie Arnould,
Thérésa Tallien,
Joséphine de Beauharnais
Profession Military officer
Military service
AllegianceRoyal Standard of the King of France.svg  Kingdom of France
Branch/service Pavillon royal de France.svg Royal Army
Years of service1771–1783
Rank Captain
Unit Régiment Royal Roussillon
Battles/wars

Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de Barras (French:  [bara:s]) (30 June 1755 – 29 January 1829), 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.

A viscount or viscountess is a title used in certain European countries for a noble of varying status. In many countries a viscount, and its historical equivalents, was a non-hereditary, administrative or judicial position, and did not develop into an hereditary title until much later. In the case of French viscounts, it is customary to leave the title untranslated as vicomte[vi.kɔ̃t] and vicomtesse.

Barras, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Barras is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of south-eastern France.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

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 profoundly altered 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.

Contents

Early life

Descended from a noble family of Provence, he was born at Fox-Amphoux, in today's Var département . [1] At the age of sixteen, he entered the regiment of Languedoc as a "gentleman cadet". In 1776, he embarked for French India. [1] [2]

Provence Historical province in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Provence is a geographical region and historical province of southeastern France, which extends from the left bank of the lower Rhône to the west to the Italian border to the east, and is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It largely corresponds with the modern administrative region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and includes the departments of Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, as well as parts of Alpes-Maritimes and Vaucluse. The largest city of the region is Marseille.

Fox-Amphoux Commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Fox-Amphoux is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in south-eastern France.

Languedoc Place in France

Languedoc is a former province of France. Its territory is now contained in the modern-day region of Occitanie in the south of France. Its capital city was Toulouse. It had an area of approximately 42,700 square kilometers.

Shipwrecked on his voyage, he still managed to reach Pondicherry in time to contribute to the defence of that city during the Second Anglo-Mysore War. [1] Besieged by British forces, the city surrendered on 18 October 1778; after the French garrison was released, Barras returned to France. [2] [Note 1] He took part in a second expedition to the region in 1782/83, serving in the fleet of the renowned Admiral Pierre André de Suffren. [1] Afterwards, he spent several years back home in France at leisure in relative obscurity. [1] [2]

Second Anglo-Mysore War war

The Second Anglo–Mysore War was a conflict between the Kingdom of Mysore and the British East India Company from 1780 to 1784. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the conflict between Britain against the French and Dutch in the American Revolutionary War sparked Anglo–Mysorean hostilities in India. The great majority of soldiers on the company side were raised, trained, paid and commanded by the company, not the British government. However, the company's operations were bolstered by Crown troops sent from Britain, and by troops sent from Hanover, which was also ruled by Britain's King George III.

Pierre André de Suffren French admiral

Admiral comte Pierre André de Suffren de Saint Tropez, bailli de Suffren, French admiral. He was most famous for his campaign in the Indian Ocean, in which he fought a series of intense and evenly matched battles for supremacy against the established British power there, led by Vice-Admiral Sir Edward Hughes. Alfred T. Mahan praised Suffren as "a very great man" and evaluated him in terms he usually reserved for praising decisively victorious admirals.

National Convention

At the outbreak of the Revolution in 1789, he advocated the democratic cause, and became one of the administrators of the Var. In June 1792 he took his seat in the high national court at Orléans. Later in that year, on the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars, Barras became commissioner to the French Army, which was facing the forces of Sardinia in the Italian Peninsula, and entered the National Convention as a deputy for the Var.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association.

Var (department) Department of France in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur

Var is a department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in Southeastern France. It takes its name from the river Var, which flowed along its eastern boundary, until the boundary was moved in 1860. The Var department is bordered on the east by the department of Alpes-Maritimes, to the west by Bouches-du-Rhône, to the north of the river Verdon by the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and to the south by the Mediterranean Sea.

Orléans Prefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Orléans is a prefecture and commune in north-central France, about 111 kilometres southwest of Paris. It is the capital of the Loiret department and of the Centre-Val de Loire region.

In January 1793, he voted with the majority for the execution of King Louis XVI. However, he was mostly absent from Paris on missions to the regions of the south-east of France. During this period, he made the acquaintance of Napoleon Bonaparte at the siege of Toulon (his later clash with Napoleon made him downplay the latter's abilities as a soldier: he noted in his Memoirs that the siege had been carried out by 30,000 men against a minor royalist defending force, whereas the real number was 12,000; he also sought to minimize the share taken by Bonaparte in the capture of the city). [3] When Barras became Director, he gave Napoleon position of general in the battalion of Italians. [4]

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as Citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Siege of Toulon siege

The Siege of Toulon was a military operation by Republican forces against a Royalist rebellion in the southern French city of Toulon.

House of Bourbon European royal house of French origin

The House of Bourbon is a European royal house of French origin, a branch of the Capetian dynasty. Bourbon kings first ruled France and Navarre in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Spanish Bourbon dynasty held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma. Spain and Luxembourg currently have monarchs of the House of Bourbon.

Thermidor and the Directory

James Gillray's caricature of 1805. Barras being entertained by the naked dancing of two wives of prominent men, Theresa Tallien and Josephine Bonaparte. On the right, Napoleon Bonaparte takes a peek. Barras1797.jpg
James Gillray's caricature of 1805. Barras being entertained by the naked dancing of two wives of prominent men, Thérésa Tallien and Joséphine Bonaparte. On the right, Napoleon Bonaparte takes a peek.

In 1794, Barras sided with the men who sought to overthrow Maximilien Robespierre's faction. The Thermidorian Reaction of 27 July 1794 made him rise to prominence. In the next year, when the Convention felt threatened by the malcontent National Guards of Paris, it appointed Barras to command the troops engaged in its defence. His nomination of Bonaparte led to the adoption of violent measures, ensuring the dispersion of royalists and other malcontents in the streets near the Tuileries Palace, remembered as the 13 Vendémiaire (5 October 1795). Subsequently, Barras became one of the five Directors who controlled the executive of the French Republic.

Maximilien Robespierre French revolutionary lawyer and politician

Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre was a French lawyer and politician, as well as one of the best known and most influential figures associated with the French Revolution. As a member of the Constituent Assembly and the Jacobin Club, 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 petition. He campaigned for universal manhood suffrage, abolition of celibacy and of slavery. He opposed dechristianisation of France, war with Austria and the possibility of a coup by the Marquis de Lafayette. Robespierre played an important part in the agitation which brought about the fall of the French Legislative Assembly in August 1792 and the summoning of a National Convention.

Thermidorian Reaction Counter-revolution in France against Robespierre, July 1794

The Thermidorian Reaction was a counter revolution which took place in France on 9 Thermidor of the Year II. On this day, the French politician Maximilien Robespierre was denounced by members of the National Convention as "a tyrant", leading to Robespierre and twenty-one associates including Louis Antoine de Saint-Just being arrested that night and beheaded on the following day.

National Guard (France) 1789–1872 military reserve and police branch of Frances military

The National Guard is a French military, gendarmerie, and police reserve force, active in its current form since 2016 but originally founded in 1789 after the French Revolution.

Owing to his intimate relations with Joséphine de Beauharnais, Barras helped to facilitate a marriage between her and Bonaparte. Some of his contemporaries alleged that this was the reason behind Barras' nomination of Bonaparte to the command of the army of Italy early in the year 1796. Bonaparte's success gave to the Directory an unprecedented stability, and when, in the summer of 1797, the royalist and surviving Girondist opposition again met the government with resistance, Bonaparte sent General Augereau, a Jacobin, to repress their movement in the Coup of 18 Fructidor (4 September 1797).

Downfall and later life

Barras's alleged immorality in public and private life is often cited as a major contribution to the fall of the Directory, and the creation of the Consulate. In any case, Bonaparte met little resistance during his 18 Brumaire coup of November 1799. At the same time, Barras is seen as a supporter of the change, one left aside by the First Consul when the latter reshaped the government of France.

Since he had amassed a large fortune, Barras spent his later years in luxury. Napoleon had him confined to the Château de Grosbois (Barras's property), then exiled to Brussels and Rome, and ultimately, in 1810, interned in Montpellier; set free after the fall of the Empire, he died in Chaillot (nowadays in Paris), and was interred in Père Lachaise Cemetery. Although a partisan of the Second Restoration, Barras was kept in check during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X (and his Memoirs were censored after his death).

Notes

  1. He left on a cartel named Sartine. This was not the Sartine that the British Royal Navy had captured at Pondicherry and taken into service. On 1 May 1780 a British warship mistakenly fired on the cartel, killing her captain and two others. Barras was unhurt.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Richardson, p. 30.
  2. 1 2 3 Encyclopædia Britannica (1911)
  3. Canteleu, pp. 35–37.
  4. Haine, Scott. The History of France (1st ed.). Greenwood Press. p. 88. ISBN   0-313-30328-2.
Bibliography

Further reading