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A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. by Carlton J. H. Hayes

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Not all of the bourgeoisie were thoroughly devoted to the settlement of
1791. Most of them doubtless were. But a thoughtful and conspicuous
minority allied themselves with the proletariat. Probably in many
instances it was for the selfish motive of personal ambition that this
or that middle-class individual prated much about his love for "the
people" and shed tears over their wretchedness and made all manner of
election promises to them. But, on the other hand, there were sincere
and altruistic bourgeois who had been converted to the extreme
democratic doctrines of Rousseau and who were deeply touched by the
misery of the lowest classes. It was under the leadership of such men
that the proletariat grew ever more radical until they sought by force
to establish democracy in France.

[Sidenote: Center of Radicalism in Paris]

The radical movement centered in Paris, where now lived the royal
family and where the legislature met. With the object of intimidating
the former and controlling the latter, the agitation made rapid headway
during 1791 and 1792. It was conducted by means of inflammatory
newspapers, coarse pamphlets, and bitter speeches. It appealed to both
the popular reason and the popular emotions. It was backed up and
rendered efficient by the organization of revolutionary "clubs."

[Sidenote: The Clubs]
[Sidenote: Cordeliers and Jacobins]

These clubs were interesting centers of political and social agitation.
Their origin was traceable to the "eating clubs" which had been formed
at Versailles by various deputies who desired to take their meals
together, but the idea progressed so far that by 1791 nearly every café
in Paris aspired to be a meeting place for politicians and "patriots."
Although some of the clubs were strictly constitutional, and even, in a
few instances, professedly reactionary, nevertheless the greater number
and the most influential were radical. Such were the Cordelier and
Jacobin clubs. The former, organized as a "society of the friends of
the rights of man and of the citizen," was very radical from its
inception and enrolled in its membership the foremost revolutionaries
of Paris. The latter, starting out as a "society of the friends of the
constitution," counted among its early members such men as Mirabeau,
Sieyès, and Lafayette, but subsequently under the leadership of
Robespierre, transformed itself into an organization quite as radical
as the Cordeliers. It is an interesting tact that both these radical
clubs derived their popular names from monasteries, in whose
confiscated buildings they customarily met.

[Sidenote: Radical Propaganda]

From Paris the radical movement radiated in all directions. Pamphlets
and newspapers were spread broadcast. The Jacobin club established a
regular correspondence with branch clubs or kindred societies which
sprang up in other French towns. The radicals were everywhere inspired
by the same zeal and aided by a splendid organization.

[Sidenote: Radical Leaders]

Of the chief radical leaders, it may be convenient at this point to
introduce three--Marat, Danton, and Robespierre. All belonged to the
bourgeoisie by birth and training, but by conviction they became the
mouthpieces of the proletariat. All played important rôles in
subsequent scenes of the Revolution.

[Sidenote: Marat]

Marat (_c_. 1742-1793), had he never become interested in politics
and conspicuous in the Revolution, might have been remembered in
history as a scientist and a man of letters. He had been a physician,
and for skill in his profession, as well as for contributions to the
science of physics, he had received an honorary degree from St. Andrews
University in Scotland, and for a time he was in the service of the
count of Artois. The convocation of the Estates-General turned his
attention to public affairs. In repeated and vigorous pamphlets he
combated the idea then prevalent in France that his countrymen should
adopt a constitution similar to that of Great Britain. During several
years' sojourn in Great Britain he had observed that that country was
being ruled by an oligarchy which, while using the forms of liberty and
pretending to represent the country, was in reality using its power for
the promotion of its own narrow class interests. He made up his mind
that real reform must benefit all the people alike and that it could be
secured only by direct popular action. This was the simple message that
filled the pages of the _Ami du peuple_--the _Friend of the
People_--a newspaper which he edited from 1789 to 1792. With fierce
invective he assailed the court, the clergy, the nobles, even the
bourgeois Assembly. Attached to no party and with no detailed policies,
he sacrificed almost everything to his single mission. No poverty,
misery, or persecution could keep him quiet. Forced even to hide in
cellars and sewers, where he contracted a loathsome skin disease, he
persevered in his frenzied appeals to the Parisian populace to take
matters into their own hands. By 1792 Marat was a man feared and hated
by the authorities but loved and venerated by the masses of the
capital. [Footnote: Marat was assassinated on 13 July, 1793, by
Charlotte Corday, a young woman who was fanatically attached to the
Girondist faction.]

[Sidenote: Danton]

No less radical but far more statesmanlike was Danton (1759-1794), who
has been called "a sort of middle-class Mirabeau." The son of a farmer,
he had studied law, had purchased a position as advocate of the Royal
Council, and, before the outbreak of the Revolution, had acquired a
reputation not only as a brilliant young lawyer, but also as a man of
liberal tastes, fond of books, and happy in his domestic life. Like
Mirabeau, he was a person of powerful physique and of stentorian voice,
a skilled debater and a convincing orator; unlike Mirabeau, he himself
remained calm and self-possessed while arousing his audiences to the
highest pitch of enthusiasm. Like Mirabeau, too, he was not so
primarily interested in the welfare of his own social class as in that
of the class below him: what the nobleman Mirabeau was to the
bourgeoisie, the bourgeois Danton was to the Parisian proletariat.
Brought to the fore, through the favor of Mirabeau, in the early days
of the Revolution, Danton at once showed himself a strong advocate of
real democracy. In 1790, in conjunction with Marat and Camille
Desmoulins, he founded the Cordelier Club, the activities of which he
directed throughout 1791 and 1792 against the royal family and the
whole cause of monarchy. An influential member of the commune of Paris,
he was largely instrumental in crystallizing public opinion in favor of
republicanism, Danton was rough and courageous, but neither venal nor

[Sidenote: Robespierre]

Less practical than Danton and further removed from the proletariat
than Marat, Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794) nevertheless combined
such qualities as made him the most prominent exponent of democracy and
republicanism. Descended from a middle-class family of Irish
extraction, Robespierre had been a classmate of Camille Desmoulins in
the law school of the University of Paris, and had practiced law with
some success in his native town of Arras. He was appointed a criminal
judge, but soon resigned that post because he could not endure to
inflict the death penalty. In his immediate circle he acquired a
reputation as a writer, speaker, and something of a dandy. Elected to
the Third Estate in 1789, he took his place with the extreme radicals
in that body--the "thirty voices," as Mirabeau contemptuously called
them. Robespierre had read Rousseau from cover to cover and believed in
the philosopher's doctrines with all his heart so that he would have
gone to death for them. In the belief that they eventually would
succeed and regenerate France and all mankind, he was ready to work
with unwearied patience. The paucity of his followers in the National
Assembly and the overpowering personality of Mirabeau prevented him
from exercising much influence in framing the new constitution, and he
gradually turned for support to the people of Paris. He was already a
member of the Jacobin Club, which, by the withdrawal of its more
conservative members in 1791, came then under his leadership.
Thenceforth the Jacobin Club was a most effective instrument for
establishing social democracy (although it was not committed to
republicanism until August, 1792), and Robespierre was its oracle.
Robespierre was never a demagogue in the present sense of the word: he
was always emphatically a gentleman and a man of culture, sincere and
truthful. Although he labored strenuously for the "rights" of the
proletariat, he never catered to their tastes; to the last day of his
life he retained the knee-breeches and silk stockings of the old
society and wore his hair powdered.

We are now in a position to understand why the constitutional monarchy
floundered. It had no great leaders to strengthen it and to conduct it
through the narrow strait. It was bound to strike the rocks of reaction
on one side or those of radicalism on the other. Against such fearless
and determined assailants as Robespierre, Danton, and Marat, it was

[Sidenote: Difficulties Confronting the Legislative Assembly, 1791]

The new government came into being with the first meeting of the
Legislative Assembly on 1 October, 1791. Immediately its troubles
began. The members of the Legislative Assembly were wholly
inexperienced in parliamentary procedure, for an unfortunate self-
denying ordinance [Footnote: Proposed by Robespierre.] of the retiring
Constituent Assembly had prohibited any of its members from accepting
election to the new body. The Legislative Assembly contained deputies
of fundamentally diverse views who quarreled long though eloquently
among themselves. Moreover, it speedily came into conflict with the
king, who vainly endeavored to use his constitutional right of
suspensive veto in order to check its activities. Combined with these
problems was the popular agitation and excitement: a peasant revolt in
La Vendée, the angry threats of émigré nobles and non-juring clergy
across the eastern frontier, the loud tumults of the proletariat of
Paris and of other large cities as well.

[Sidenote: Foreign Hostility to the French Revolution]

The difficulties of the limited monarchy were further complicated by an
embarrassing foreign situation. It will be borne in mind that all
important European states still adhered rigidly to the social
institutions of the "old régime" and, with the exception of Great
Britain, to divine-right monarchy. Outside of France there appeared as
yet no such thing as "public opinion," certainly no sign among the
lower classes of any opinion favorable to revolution. In Great Britain
alone was there a constitutional monarchy, and in the early days of the
French Revolution, so long as British statesmen could flatter
themselves that their neighbors across the Channel were striving to
imitate their political system, these same public men sympathized with
the course of events. But when it became evident that the Revolution
was going further, that it aimed at a great social leveling, that it
was a movement of the masses in behalf of the lowest classes in the
community, then even British criticism assailed it. At the close of
1790 Edmund Burke published his _Reflections on the Revolution in
France_, a bitter arraignment of the newer tendencies and a
rhetorical panegyric of conservatism. Although Burke's sensational work
was speedily and logically answered by several forceful thinkers,
including the brilliant Thomas Paine, nevertheless it long held its
place as the classical expression of official Britain's horror of
social equality and of "mob violence." The book was likewise received
with such approval by the monarchs of continental Europe, who
interpreted it as a telling defense of their position, that Catherine
of Russia personally complimented the author and the puppet king of
Poland sent him a flamboyant glorification and a gold medal.
Thenceforth the monarchs, as well as the nobles and clergy, of Europe
saw in the French Revolution only a menace to their political and
social privileges: were it communicated to the lower classes, the
Revolution might work the same havoc throughout the length and breadth
of Europe that it was working in France. The "benevolent despots" had
sincere desires to labor for the welfare of the people; they shuddered
at the thought of what the people themselves would do in laboring for
their own welfare.

[Sidenote: The Holy Roman Emperor the Champion of Opposition to the

Of the monarchs of Europe, several had special reasons for viewing the
progress of the Revolution with misgiving. The Bourbons of Spain and of
the Two Sicilies were united by blood and family compacts with the
ruling dynasty of France: any belittling of the latter's power was
bound to affect disastrously the domestic position and foreign policy
of the former. Then, too, the French queen, Marie Antoinette, was an
Austrian Habsburg. Her family interests were in measure at stake. In
the Austrian dominions, the visionary and unpractical Joseph II had
died in 1790 and had been succeeded by another brother of Marie
Antoinette, the gifted though unemotional Emperor Leopold II. Leopold
skillfully extricated himself from the embarrassments at home and
abroad bequeathed him by his predecessor and then turned his attention
to French affairs. He was in receipt of constant and now frantic
appeals from his sister to aid Louis XVI against the revolutionaries.
He knew that the Austrian Netherlands, whose rebellion he had
suppressed with difficulty, were saturated with the doctrines of the
Revolution and that many of their inhabitants would welcome annexation
to France. As chief of the Holy Roman Empire, he must keep
revolutionary agitation out of the Germanies and protect the border
provinces against French aggression. All these factors served to make
the Emperor Leopold the foremost champion of the "old regime" in Europe
and incidentally of the royal cause in France.

[Sidenote: Declaration of Pilinitz, August, 1791]

Now it so happened that the emperor found a curious ally in Prussia.
The death of Frederick the Great in 1786 had called to the throne of
that country a distinctly inferior sort of potentate, Frederick William
II (1786-1797), who combined with a nature at once sensual and
pleasure-loving a remarkable religious zeal. He neglected the splendid
military machine which Frederick William I and Frederick the Great had
constructed with infinite patience and thoroughness. He lavished great
wealth upon art as well as upon favorites and mistresses. He tired the
nation with an excessive Protestant orthodoxy. And in foreign affairs
he reversed the far-sighted policy of his predecessor by allying
himself with Austria and reducing Prussia to a secondary place among
the German states. In August, 1791, Frederick William II joined with
the Emperor Leopold in issuing the public Declaration of Pilinitz, to
the effect that the two rulers considered the restoration of order and
of monarchy in France an object of "common interest to all sovereigns
of Europe." The declaration was hardly more than pompous bluster, for
the armies of the German allies were not as yet ready for war, but its
solemn expression of an intention on the part of foreign despots to
interfere in the internal affairs of France aroused the most bitter
feeling among Frenchmen who were patriotic as well as revolutionary.

[Sidenote: French Politics Under the Limited Monarchy Favorable to
Foreign War]

The prospect of war with the blustering monarchs of Austria and Prussia
was quite welcome to several important factions in France. Marie
Antoinette and her court clique gradually came to the conclusion that
their reactionary cause would be abetted by war. If the allies won,
absolutism would be restored in France by force of arms. If the French
won, it would redound to the prestige of the royal family and enable
them by constitutional means to recover their authority. Then, too, the
constitutionalists, the bourgeois party which was led by Lafayette and
which loyally supported the settlement of 1791, worked for war.
Military success would consolidate the French people and confirm the
constitution, and Lafayette aspired to win personal glory as the
omnipotent commander. Finally, the overwhelming majority of radicals
cried for war: to them it seemed as if the liberal monarchy would be
completely discomfited by it and that out of it would emerge a republic
in France and the general triumph of democratic principles in Europe.
Why not stir up all the European peoples against their monarchs? The
cause of France should be the cause of Europe. France should be the
missionary of the new dispensation.

[Sidenote: Political Parties in the Legislative Assembly]

The Legislative Assembly, on which depended in last instance the
solution of all these vital problems, domestic and foreign, represented
several diverse shades of political opinion. Of the seven hundred
members, four hundred admitted no special leadership but voted
independently on every question according to individual preference or
fear, while the others were divided between the camp of
_Feuillants_ and that of _Jacobins_. The Feuillants were the
constitutionalists, inclined, while in general consistently championing
the settlement of 1791, to strengthen the royal power,--they were the
conservatives of the Assembly. The Jacobins, on the other hand,
deriving their common name from the famous club in Paris, were the
radicals: many of them secretly cherished republican sentiments, and
all of them desired a further diminution of the constitutional powers
of Louis XVI. The Jacobins, however, were divided into two groups on
the question of how the royal power should be reduced. The larger
number, whose most conspicuous members came from the department of the
Gironde and were, therefore, collectively designated as Girondists,
entertained the idea that the existing government should be clearly
proved futile before proceeding to the next stage in the Revolution:
they clamored for foreign war as the most effective means of disgracing
the existing monarchy. The smaller number of Jacobins, drawn largely
from Paris, desired to take no chances on the outcome of war but
advocated the radical reformation of monarchical institutions by direct
and immediate popular action: subsequently this small group was dubbed
the Mountain [Footnote: This name did not come into general use until
1793.] from the high seats its members later occupied in the
Convention: they represented the general views of such men as Marat,
Danton, and Robespierre.

[Sidenote: The Girondists]

Of the various parties or groups in the Legislative Assembly, the best
organized was the Girondist. Its members, recruited chiefly from the
provinces, were young, enthusiastic, and filled with noble, if somewhat
unpractical, ideas borrowed from the ancient republics of Greece and
Rome. They were cultured, eloquent, and patriotic. In Brissot (1754-
1793), a Parisian lawyer, they had an admirable leader and organizer.
In Vergniaud (1753-1793), they had a polished and convincing orator. In
Condorcet (1743-1794), they had a brilliant scholar and philosopher. In
Dumouriez (1739-1823), they possessed a military genius of the first
order. And in the refined home of the brilliant Madame Roland (1754-
1793), they had a charming center for political discussion.

In internal affairs the Legislative Assembly accomplished next to
nothing. Everything was subordinated to the question of foreign war. In
that, Feuillants and Girondists found themselves in strange agreement.
Only Marat and Robespierre raised their voices against a policy whose
pursuit they dreaded would raise a military dictator. Marat expressed
his alarms in the _Friend of the People:_ "What afflicts the
friends of liberty is that we have more to fear from success than from
defeat .. .the danger is lest one of our generals be crowned with
victory and lest ... he lead his victorious army against the capital to
secure the triumph of the Despot." But the counsels of extreme radicals
were unavailing.

[Sidenote: Declaration of War against Austria and Prussia, April, 1792]

In the excitement the Girondists obtained control of the government and
demanded of the emperor that the Austrian troops be withdrawn from the
frontier and that the émigrés be expelled from his territories. As no
action was taken by the emperor, the Girondist ministers prevailed upon
Louis XVI to declare war on 20 April, 1792. Lafayette assumed supreme
command, and the French prepared for the struggle. Although Leopold had
just died, his policy was followed by his son and successor, the
Emperor Francis II. Francis and Frederick William II of Prussia
speedily collected an army of 80,000 men at Coblenz with which to
invade France. The campaign of 1792 was the first stage in a vast
conflict which was destined to rage throughout Europe for twenty-three
years. It was the beginning of the contest between the forces of
revolution and those of reaction.

Enthusiasm was with the French. They felt they were fighting for a
cause--the cause of liberty, equality, and nationalism. Men put on red
liberty caps, and such as possessed no firearms equipped themselves
with pikes and hastened to the front. Troops coming up from Marseilles
sang in Paris a new hymn of freedom which Rouget de Lisle had just
composed at Strassburg for the French soldiers,--the inspiring
Marseillaise that was to become the national anthem of France. But
enthusiasm was about the only asset that the French possessed. Their
armies were ill-organized and ill-disciplined. Provisions were scarce,
arms were inferior, and fortified places in poor repair. Lafayette had
greater ambition than ability.

[Sidenote: Early French Reverses]
[Sidenote: Equivocal Position of the Royal Family]

The war opened, therefore, with a series of French reverses. An
attempted invasion of the Austrian Netherlands ended in dismal failure.
On the eastern frontier the allied armies under the duke of Brunswick
experienced little difficulty in opening up a line of march to Paris.
Intense grew the excitement in the French capital. The reverses gave
color to the suspicion that the royal family were betraying military
plans to the enemy. A big demonstration took place on 20 June: a crowd
of market women, artisans, coal heavers, and hod carriers pushed
through the royal residence, jostling and threatening the king and
queen: no violence was done but the temper of the Parisian proletariat
was quite evident. But Louis and Marie Antoinette simply would not
learn their lesson. Despite repeated and solemn assurances to the
contrary, they were really in constant secret communication with the
invading forces. The king was beseeching aid from foreign rulers in
order to crush his own people; the queen was supplying the generals of
the allies with the French plans of campaign. Limited monarchy failed
in the stress of war.


[Sidenote: Proclamation of the Duke of Brunswick, 25 July, 1792]
[Sidenote: The French Reply: the Insurrection of 9-10 August, 1792]

On 25 July, 1792, the duke of Brunswick (1735-1806), the pig-headed
commander-in-chief of the allied armies, issued a proclamation to the
French people. He declared it his purpose "to put an end to the anarchy
in the interior of France, to check the attacks upon the throne and the
altar, to reëstablish the legal power, to restore to the king the
security and liberty of which he is now deprived and to place him in a
position to exercise once more the legitimate authority which belongs
to him." The bold duke went on to declare that French soldiers who
might be captured "shall be treated as enemies and punished as rebels
to their king and as disturbers of the public peace," and that, if the
slightest harm befell any member of the royal family, his Austrian and
Prussian troops would "inflict an ever-memorable vengeance by
delivering over the city of Paris to military execution and complete
destruction, and the rebels guilty of such outrages to the punishment
that they merit." This foolish and insolent manifesto sealed the fate
of the French monarchy. It was the clearest proof that French royalty
and foreign armies were in formal alliance not only to prevent the
further development of the Revolution but also to undo what had already
been done. And all patriotically minded Frenchmen, whether hitherto
they had sympathized with the course of events or not, now grew furious
at the threats of foreigners to interfere in the internal affairs of
their country. The French reply to the duke of Brunswick was the
insurrection of 9-10 August, 1792.

[Sidenote: Suspension of the King and Fall of Limited Monarchy]

On those days the proletariat of Paris revolted against the liberal
monarchy. They supplanted the bourgeois commune with a radically
revolutionary commune, in which Danton became the leading figure. They
invaded the royal palace, massacred the Swiss Guards, and obliged the
king and his family to flee for their lives to the Assembly. On 10
August, a remnant of terror-stricken deputies voted to suspend the king
from his office and to authorize the immediate election by universal
manhood suffrage of a National Convention that would prepare a new
constitution for France.

[Sidenote: Anarchy in France]

From the suspension of the king on 10 August to the assembling of the
National Convention on 21 September, France was practically anarchical.
The royal family was incarcerated in the gloomy prison of the Temple.
The regular governmental agents were paralyzed. Lafayette protested
against the insurrection at Paris and surrendered himself to the

Still the allies advanced into France. Fear deepened into panic.
Supreme control fell into the hands of the revolutionary commune:
Danton became virtual dictator. His policy was simple. The one path of
safety left open to the radicals was to strike terror into the hearts
of their domestic and foreign foes. "In my opinion," said Danton, "the
way to stop the enemy is to terrify the royalists. Audacity, more
audacity, and always greater audacity!" The news of the investment of
Verdun by the allies, published at Paris on 2 September, was the signal
for the beginning of a wholesale massacre of royalists in the French
capital. For five long days unfortunate royalists were taken from the
prisons and handed over by a self-constituted judicial body to the
tender mercies of a band of hired cutthroats. Slight discrimination was
made of rank, sex, or age. Men, women, and children, nobles and
magistrates, priests and bishops,--all who were suspected of royalist
sympathy were butchered. The number of victims of these September
massacres has been variously estimated from 2000 to 10,000.

Meanwhile Danton was infusing new life and new spirit into the French
armies. Dumouriez replaced Lafayette in supreme command. And on 20
September the allies received their first check at Valmy.

[Sidenote: Valmy: the First Military Success of the Revolutionaries]
[Sidenote: Proclamation of the First French Republic]

The very day on which news reached Paris that it was saved and that
Brunswick was in retreat, the National Convention met. Amid the wildest
enthusiasm, it unanimously decreed "that royalty is abolished in
France." Then it was resolved to date from 22 September, 1792, Year 1
of the Republic. A decree of perpetual banishment was enacted against
the émigrés and it was soon determined to bring the king to trial
before the Convention.

[Sidenote: The National Convention 1792-1795]

The National Convention remained in session for three years (1792-
1795), and its work constituted the second great phase of the
Revolution. This work was essentially twofold: (1) It secured a series
of great victories in the foreign war, thereby rendering permanent the
remarkable social reforms of the first period of the Revolution, that
between 1789 and 1791; and (2) it constructed a republican form of
government, based on the principle of democracy.

[Sidenote: Problems Confronting the National Convention]

Perhaps no legislative body in history has been called upon to solve
such knotty problems as those which confronted the National Convention
at the opening of its sessions. At that time it was necessary (1) to
decide what should be done with the deposed and imprisoned king; (2) to
organize the national defense and turn back foreign invasion; (3) to
suppress insurrection within France; (4) to provide a strong government
for the country; (5) to complete and consolidate the social reforms of
the earlier stage of the Revolution; and (6) to frame a new
constitution and to establish permanent republican institutions. With
all these questions the Convention coped with infinite industry and
much success. And in the few following pages, we shall review them in
the order indicated, although it should be borne in mind that most of
them were considered by the Convention simultaneously.

[Sidenote: Personnel of the National Convention]
[Sidenote: The Girondists]
[Sidenote: The Mountainists]
[Sidenote: The Plain]

Before taking up the work of the Convention, a word should be said
about the personnel of that body. The elections had been in theory by
almost universal suffrage, but in practice indifference or intimidation
reduced the actual voters to about a tenth of the total electorate. The
result was the return of an overwhelming majority of radicals, who,
while agreeing on the fundamental republican doctrines, nevertheless
differed about details. On the right of the Convention sat nearly two
hundred Girondists, including Brissot, Vergniaud, Condorcet, and the
interesting Thomas Paine. These men represented largely the well-to-do
bourgeoisie who were more radical in thought than in deed, who ardently
desired a democratic republic, but who at the same time distrusted
Paris and the proletariat. In the raised seats on the opposite side of
the Convention sat nearly one hundred members of the Mountain, now
exclusively designated as Jacobins--extreme radicals in thought, word,
and deed--disciples of Rousseau--counting among their number Danton,
Robespierre, Carnot, and St. Just. Between the two factions of
Mountainists and Girondists sat the Plain, as it was called, the real
majority of the house, which had no policies or convictions of its own,
but voted usually according to the dictates of expediency. Our tactful,
trimming Abbé Sieyès belonged to the Plain. At the very outset the
Plain was likely to go with the Girondists, but as time went on and the
Parisian populace clamored more and more loudly against any one who
opposed the action of their allies, the Mountainists, it gradually saw
fit to transfer its affections to the Left.

[Sidenote: Trial and Execution of King Louis XVI, 1793]

The first serious question which faced the Convention was the
disposition of the king. The discovery of an iron chest containing
accounts of expenditures for bribing members of the National
Constituent Assembly, coupled with the all but confirmed suspicion of
Louis' double dealings with France and with foreign foes,[Footnote:
After the execution of the king, actual letters were discovered which
Louis had dispatched to his fellow monarchs, urging their assistance. A
typical extract is given in Robinson and Beard, _Readings in Modern
European History_, Vol. I, pp. 287-288.] sealed the doom of that
miserably weak monarch. He was brought to trial before the Convention
in December, 1792, and condemned to death by a vote of 387 to 334. With
the majority voted the king's own cousin, the duke of Orleans, an
enthusiastic radical who had assumed the name of Citizen Philippe
Égalité (Equality). On 21 January, 1793, Louis XVI was beheaded near
the overthrown statue of his voluptuous predecessor Louis XV in the
Place de la Révolution (now called the Place de la Concorde). The
unruffled dignity with which he met death was the finest act of his

[Sidenote: Military Successes]

Meanwhile the tide of Austrian and Prussian invasion had been rolling
away from France. After Valmy, Dumouriez had pursued the retreating
foreigners across the Rhine and had carried the war into the Austrian
Netherlands, where a large party regarded the French as deliverers.
Dumouriez entered Brussels without serious resistance, and was speedily
master of the whole country. It seemed as though the French would have
an easy task in delivering the peoples of Europe from their old régime.

[Sidenote: France the Champion of the Revolution]

Emboldened by the ease with which its armies were overrunning the
neighboring states, the National Convention proposed to propagate
liberty and reform throughout Europe and in December, 1792, issued the
following significant decree: "The French nation declares that it will
treat as enemies every people who, refusing liberty and equality or
renouncing them, may wish to maintain, recall, or treat with a prince
and the privileged classes; on the other hand, it engages not to
subscribe to any treaty and not to lay down its arms until the
sovereignty and independence of the people whose territory the troops
of the republic shall have entered shall be established, and until the
people shall have adopted the principles of equality and founded a free
and democratic government."

[Sidenote: Foreign Fears]

In thus throwing down the gauntlet to all the monarchs of Europe and in
putting the issue clearly between democracy and the old régime, the
French revolutionaries took a dangerous step. Although a large number
of the neighboring peoples undoubtedly sympathized with the aims and
achievements of the Revolution, the rulers and privileged classes in
more distant countries, such as Russia, Austria, Prussia, and even
Spain and Great Britain, were still deeply intrenched in the patriotism
and unquestioning loyalty of their people.

[Sidenote: The "First Coalition" against France]

Then, too, the execution of Louis XVI in January, 1793, increased the
bitterness of the approaching grave struggle. A royalist reaction in
France itself precipitated civil war in La Vendée. Dumouriez, the
ablest general of the day, in disgust deserted to the Austrians. And at
this very time, a formidable coalition of frightened and revengeful
monarchs was formed to overthrow the French Republic. To Austria and
Prussia, already in the field, were added Great Britain, Holland,
Spain, and Sardinia.

[Sidenote: Military Endeavours of the Revolutionaries]

Once more France was placed on the defensive. Once more the allies
occupied Belgium and the Rhine provinces, and took the roads toward
Paris. The situation in the spring of 1793 appeared as critical as that
in the preceding summer. But as the event proved, the republic was a
far more effective government than the liberal monarchy, Revolutionary
France now went gladly to war, singing the Marseillaise and displaying
the banners of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity." Bourgeois citizens,
whose social and financial gains in the earlier stage of the Revolution
would be threatened by the triumph of the foreign forces, now gave
money and brains to the national defense. Artisans and peasants, who
had won something and hoped to win more from the success of the
Revolution, now laid down their lives for the cause. Heroism and
devotion to a great ideal inspired the raw recruits that were rushed to
the front.

[Sidenote: Carnot]

But it was not enthusiasm alone that saved France. It was the splendid
organization of that enthusiasm by an efficient central government at
Paris. In Carnot (1753-1823) the National Convention possessed a
military and administrative genius of the first order. Of honorable and
upright character, fearless, patriotic, and practical, Carnot plunged
into the work of organizing the republican armies. His labors were
incessant. He prepared the plans of campaign and the reports that were
submitted to the Convention. He raised volunteers and drafted militia,
drilled them, and hurried them to the frontiers. With the aid of Robert
Lindet (1749-1825), the able finance minister, he found means of
feeding, clothing, and arming the host of soldiers. He personally
visited the armies and by word and precept infused them with energy and
determination. For the first time in modern history a nation was truly
in arms.

[Sidenote: The New Generals]

The work of Carnot was supplemented by the labors of the "deputies on
mission," radical members of the Convention who were detailed to watch
the generalship and movements of the various French armies, endowed
with power to send any suspected or unsuccessful commander to the
guillotine and charged with keeping the central government constantly
informed of military affairs. Gradually, a new group of brilliant young
republican generals appeared, among whom the steadfast Moreau (1763-
1813), the stern Pichegru (1761-1804), and the gallant Jourdan (1762-
1833) stood preeminent.

[Sidenote: French Successes]
[Sidenote: Break-up of the First Coalition, 1795]

In this way France met the monster coalition which would have staggered
a Louis XIV. The country was cleared of foreign enemies. The war was
pressed in the Netherlands, along the Rhine, in Savoy, and across the
Pyrenees. So successful were the French that Carnot's popular title of
"organizer of defense" was justly magnified to that of "organizer of
victory." Of course it is impossible in our limited survey to do
justice to these wonderful campaigns of 1794 and 1795. It will suffice
to point out that when the National Convention finally adjourned in
1795, the First Coalition was in reality dissolved. The pitiful Charles
IV of Spain humbled himself to contract a close alliance with the
republic which had put his Bourbon cousin to death. By the separate
treaty of Basel (1795), Prussia gave France a free hand on the left
bank of the Rhine and turned her attention to securing compensation at
the expense of Poland, William V, the Orange stadholder of Holland, was
deposed and his country transformed into the Batavian Republic, allied
with France. French troops were in full possession of the Austrian
Netherlands and all other territories up to the Rhine. The life-long
ambition of Louis XIV appeared to have been realized by the new France
in two brief years. Only Great Britain, Austria, and Sardinia remained
in arms against the republic.

[Sidenote: Suppression of Domestic Insurrection]

The foreign successes of the republic seem all the more wonderful when
it is remembered that at the same time serious revolts had to be
suppressed within France. Opposition to Carnot's drafting of soldiers
was utilized by reactionary agitators to stir up an insurrection of the
peasants in La Vendée in order to restore the monarchy and to
reëstablish the Roman Catholic Church. Provincial and bourgeois dislike
of the radicalism of the Parisian proletariat caused riots and
outbreaks in such important and widely separated cities as Lyons,
Marseilles, and Bordeaux. With the same devotion and thoroughness that
had characterized their foreign policy, but with greater sternness, the
officials of the National Convention stamped out all these riots and
insurrections. By 1795 all France, except only the émigrés and secret
conspirators, had more or less graciously accepted the republic.

The true explanation of these marvelous achievements, whether at home
or abroad, lies in the strong central government which the National
Convention established and in the policy of terrorism which that
government pursued.

[Sidenote: Rule Of The Committee Of Public Safety]

In the spring of 1793 the National Convention intrusted the supreme
executive authority of France to a special committee, composed of nine
(later twelve) of its members, who were styled the Committee of Public
Safety. This small body, which included such Jacobin leaders as Carnot,
Robespierre, and St. Just, acting secretly, directed the ministers of
state, appointed the local officials, and undertook the administration
of the whole country. Manifold were the duties it was called upon to
discharge. Among other problems, it must conduct the foreign relations,
supervise the armies, and secure the active support of the French
people. Diligently and effectively did it apply itself to its various

[Sidenote: The "Terror" A Political Expedient]

Terrorism has been the word usually employed to describe the internal
policy of the Committee of Public Safety, and the "Reign of Terror,"
the period of the Committee's chief work, from the summer of 1793 to
that of 1794. So sensational and so sanguinary was the period that many
writers have been prone to make it the very center of the Revolution
and to picture "liberty, equality, and fraternity" as submerged in a
veritable sea of blood. As a matter of fact, however, the Reign of
Terror was but an incident, though obviously an inevitable incident, in
a great Revolution. Nor may the French people be justly accused of a
peculiarly bloodthirsty disposition. Given the same circumstances, it
is doubtful whether similar scenes would not have been enacted at
Vienna, Berlin, Madrid, or even London. It must be remembered that
great principles and far-reaching reforms were endangered by a host of
foreign and domestic enemies. It seemed to the republican leaders that
the occasion demanded complete unanimity in France. A divided nation
could not triumph over united Europe. The only way in which France
could present a united front to the world was by striking terror into
the hearts of the opponents of the new régime. And terror involved

The chief allies of the Committee of Public Safety in conducting
terrorism were the Committee of General Security and the Revolutionary
Tribunal. The former was given police power in order to maintain order
throughout the country. The latter was charged with trying and
condemning any person suspected of disloyalty to the republic. Both
were responsible to the Committee of Public Safety. A decree of the
Convention, called the Law of Suspects, proclaimed as liable to
arbitrary arrest every person who was of noble birth, or had held
office before the Revolution, or had any relation with an émigré, or
could not produce a signed certificate of citizenship.

With such instruments of despotism France became revolutionary by
strokes of the guillotine. [Footnote: The guillotine, which is still
used in France, consists of two upright posts between which a heavy
knife rises and falls. The criminal is stretched upon a board and then
pushed between the posts. The knife falls and instantly beheads him.
The device was invented by a certain philanthropic Dr. Guillotine, who
wished to substitute in capital punishment an instrument sure to
produce instant death in the place of the bungling process of beheading
with an ax. (Mathews.)] It is estimated that about 2500 persons were
executed at Paris during the Reign of Terror. Among others Marie
Antoinette, Philippe Égalité, and Madame Roland suffered death.

The Terror spread to the provinces. Local tribunals were everywhere
established to search out and condemn suspected persons. The city of
Lyons, which ventured to resist the revolutionary government, was
partially demolished and hundreds of its citizens were put to death. At
Nantes, where echoes of the Vendée insurrection were long heard, the
brutal Jacobin deputy Carrier loaded unhappy victims on old hulks which
were towed out into the Loire and sunk. The total number of those who
perished in the provinces is unknown, but it may have reached ten

When the total loss of life by means of revolutionary tribunals is
calculated, it will certainly be found to bear slight comparison with
the enormous sacrifice of life which any one of the numerous great wars
of the nineteenth century has entailed. The chief wonder about the
Reign of Terror is that its champions and supporters, who had so much
at stake, did not do worse things.

[Sidenote: Factions among the Revolutionaries]

A more calamitous phase of the Terror than the slaughter of royalists
and reactionaries was the wretched quarreling among various factions of
the radicals and the destruction. of one for the benefit of another.
Thus, the efforts of the Girondists to stay the execution of the king
and to appeal to the provinces against the violence in Paris, coupled
with the treason of Dumouriez, seemed to the Parisian proletariat to
mark the alliance of the Girondists with the reactionaries.
Accordingly, the workingmen of Paris, under the leadership of Marat,
revolted on 31 May, 1793, and two days later obliged the Convention to
expel twenty-nine Girondist members. Of these, the chief, including
Brissot and Vergniaud, were brought to the guillotine in October, 1793.
Next, the leaders of the commune of Paris, who had gone to such extreme
lengths as to suppress the Christian churches in that city and to
proclaim atheism, were dispatched in March, 1794, by a coalition of the
followers of Danton and Robespierre. Then in April, when Danton at
length wearied of the Terror and counseled moderation, that redoubtable
genius, together with his friend, Camille Desmoulins, was guillotined.
Finally, Robespierre himself, after enjoying a brief dictatorship,
during which time he vainly endeavored to put in practice the theories
of Rousseau, was sent, in company with St. Just, to the guillotine by
direction of the National Convention in July, 1794. This meant the
beginning of reaction.

[Sidenote: End of the Terror: Thermidorian Reaction, 1794]

The death of Robespierre ended the Reign of Terror. The purpose of the
Terror, however, was already achieved. The Revolution was preserved in
France, and France was preserved in Europe. The Thermidorian Reaction,
as the end of the Terror is called, left the National Convention free
to resume its task of devising a permanent republican constitution for
the country. A few subsequent attempts were made, now by reactionaries,
now by extreme radicals, to interfere with the work, but they were
suppressed with comparative ease. The last uprising of the Parisian
populace which threatened the Convention was effectually quelled
(October, 1795) by a "whiff of grape-shot" discharged at the command of
a young and obscure major of artillery, Napoleon Bonaparte by name.

[Sidenote: Reforms of the National Convention, 1792-1795]

In the midst of foreign war and internal dissension, even in the midst
of the Terror, the National Convention found time to further the social
reforms of the earlier stage of the Revolution. Just as the bourgeois
Constituent Assembly destroyed the inequalities arising from the
privileges of the "old régime," so the popular Convention sought to put
an end to the inequalities arising from wealth. Under its new leaders,
the Revolution assumed for a time a distinctly socialistic character.
The property of the émigrés was confiscated for the benefit of the
state. A maximum price for grain was set by law. Large estates were
broken up and offered for sale to poorer citizens in lots of two or
three acres, to be paid for in small annual installments. All ground
rents were abolished without compensation to the owners. "The rich,"
said Marat, "have so long sucked out the marrow of the people that they
are now visited with a crushing retribution."

Some of the reforms of the Convention went to absurd lengths. In the
popular passion for equality, every one was to be called "Citizen"
rather than "Monsieur." The official record of the expense of Marie
Antoinette's funeral was the simple entry, "Five francs for a coffin
for the widow of Citizen Capet." Ornate clothing disappeared with
titles of nobility, and the silk stockings and knee breeches
(_culottes_), which had distinguished the privileged classes and
the gentlemen, were universally supplanted by the long trousers which
had hitherto been worn only by the lowest class of workingmen (_sans-
culottes_). To do away with the remembrance of historic
Christianity, the year was divided anew into twelve months, each
containing three weeks of ten days (_décades_), every tenth day
(_décadi_) being for rest, and the five or six days left over at
the end of the year, called _sans-culottides_, were national
holidays; the names of the months were changed, and the revolutionary
calendar made to date from the establishment of the republic, 22
September, 1792.

Many of the reforms had long been urgently needed and proved to be of
permanent value. Such was the establishment of a convenient and uniform
system of weights and measures, based on decimal reckoning, the so-
called metric system, which has come to be accepted by almost all
civilized nations save the English-speaking peoples. Such, too, was the
elaborate system of state education which the philosopher Condorcet
[Footnote: Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794).] prepared and which,
though more pressing questions compelled its postponement, became the
basis on which the modern scheme of free public instruction has been
built up in France. Such, moreover, was the separation of Church and
state, effected in September, 1794, the establishment in the following
year of liberty of worship, and the restoration of the churches to
Christian worship on condition that the clergymen submitted to the laws
of the state. Such, finally, was the project of preparing a single
comprehensive code of law for the whole country. Although the legal
code was not completed until the dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte,
nevertheless the Convention made a beginning and incorporated in it a
fundamental principle of inheritance that has marked modern France--the
principle that no person may will his property to one direct heir to
the exclusion of others but that all children must inherit almost
equally. Moreover, the practice of imprisoning men for debt was
abolished, negro slavery was ended, and woman's claim on property was
protected in common with man's. Finally the new republican constitution
was permeated with ideas of political democracy.

[Sidenote: Eventual Bourgeois Control Of The National Convention]

After the downfall of Robespierre (Thermidorian Reaction), the National
Convention ceased to press reforms in behalf of the proletariat and
came more and more under the influence of the moderate well-to-do
bourgeoisie. The law against suspects was repealed and the grain laws
were amended. The Revolutionary Tribunal was suppressed and the name of
the Place de la Révolution was changed to the Place de la Concorde. The
death in prison of the young and only son of Louis XVI in 1795 was a
severe blow to the hopes of the royalists. By 1795 France seemed
definitively committed to a republican form of government, which,
however, would not be extremely radical but only moderate, being now
founded on the bourgeoisie rather than on the proletariat.


[Sidenote: Constitution of the Year III, the Constitution of the First
French Republic]
[Sidenote: The Directory]

The constitution of the first French Republic was drawn up by the
National Convention during the last year of its session and after it
had passed under bourgeois influence. This constitution which went into
effect in 1795 and is known, therefore, as the Constitution of the Year
III (of the Republic), intrusted the legislative power to two chambers,
chosen by indirect election,--a lower house of five hundred members, to
propose laws, and a Council of Ancients, of two hundred and fifty
members, to examine and enact the laws. The bourgeois distrust of the
lower classes showed itself again in restricting the electorate to
taxpayers who had lived at least a year in one place. The executive
authority of the republic was vested in a board of five members, styled
Directors, and elected by the legislature, one retiring every year. The
Board of Directors, or "Directory," was to supervise the enforcement of
laws and to appoint the ministers of state, or cabinet, who should be
responsible to it.

[Sidenote: Brief Duration of the Directory, 1795-1799]

Thus, as the National Constituent Assembly had framed the constitution
for the liberal monarchy, so the National Convention drafted that for
the republic. But in strength and durability the republic was hardly
more fortunate than the limited monarchy. Louis XVI reigned as
constitutional king under the document of 1791 less than a year. The
Directory governed in accordance with the constitution of the Year III
less than four years (1795-1799).

[Sidenote: Weaknesses in the Directory]

The failure of the Directory was due to two chief causes: first, the
prevalence of domestic difficulties; and second, the rise of military
power and the appearance of a victorious, ambitious general. To both of
these causes reference must be made. The former proved that another
kind of government was needed to cope with the situation; the latter
suggested what the nature of the new government would be.

To consolidate the French people after six years of radical
revolutionary upheavals required hard and honest labor on the part of
men of distinct genius. Yet the Directors were, almost without
exception, men of mediocre talents, [Footnote: Carnot, upright and
sincere, and the only member of first-rate ability, was forced out of
the Directory in 1797.] who practiced bribery and corruption with
unblushing effrontery. They preferred their personal gain to the
welfare of the state.

[Sidenote: Political and Social Dissensions]

The period of the Directory was a time of plots and intrigues. The
royalists who were elected in large numbers to the Assemblies were
restrained from subverting the constitution only by illegal force and
violence on the part of the Directors. On the other hand, the
extremists in Paris found a warm-hearted leader in a certain Babeuf
(1760-1797), who declared that the Revolution had been directed
primarily to the advantage of the bourgeoisie, that the proletarians,
despite their toil and suffering and bloodshed, were still just as
poorly off as ever, and that their only salvation lay in a compulsory
equalization of wealth and the abolition of poverty. An insurrection of
these radicals--the forerunners of modern Socialism--was suppressed and
Babeuf was put to death in 1797.

[Sidenote: Financial Difficulties]

While sincere radicals and convinced reactionaries were uniting in
common opposition to the unhappy Directory, the finances of the state
were again becoming hopelessly involved. "Graft" flourished unbridled
in the levying and collecting of the taxes and in all public
expenditures. To the extravagance of the Directors in internal
administration were added the financial necessities of armies
aggregating a million men. Paris, still in poverty and want, had to be
fed at the expense of the nation. And the issue of _assignats_ by
the National Constituent Assembly, intended at first only as a
temporary expedient, had been continued until by the year 1797 the
total face value of the _assignats_ amounted to about forty-five
billion _livres_. So far had the value of paper money depreciated,
however, that in March, 1796, three hundred _livres_ in
_assignats_ were required to secure one _livre_ in cash. In
1797 a partial bankruptcy was declared, interest payments being
suspended on two-thirds of the public debt, and the _assignats_
were demonetized. The republic faced much the same financial crisis as
had confronted the absolute monarchy in 1789.

[Sidenote: Continued Success in Foreign War]

From but one direction did light stream in upon the Directory--and that
was the foreign war. When the Directory assumed office, France was
still at war with Austria, Sardinia, and Great Britain. The general
plan of campaign was to advance one French army across the Rhine,
through southern Germany, and thence into the Austrian dominions, and
to dispatch another army across the Alps, through northern Italy, and
thence on to Vienna. Of the army of the Rhine such veteran generals as
Pichegru, Jourdan, and Moreau were put in charge. To the command of the
army operating in Italy, the young and inexperienced Bonaparte was

[Sidenote: Appearance of Napoleon Bonaparte]

Napoleon Bonaparte hitherto had not been particularly conspicuous in
politics or in war. He was believed to be in full sympathy with the
Revolution, although he had taken pains after the downfall of
Robespierre to disavow any attachment to the extreme radicals. He had
acquired some popularity by his skillful expulsion of the British from
Toulon in 1793, and his protection of the National Convention against
the uprising of the Parisian radicals in 1795 gave him credit as a
friend of law and order. Finally, his marriage in 1796 with Josephine
Beauharnais, the widow of a revolutionary general and an intimate
friend of one of the Directors, bettered his chances of indulging his
fondness for politics and his genius in war.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte's First Italian Campaign, 1796-1797]
[Sidenote: Treaty of Campo Formio, 1797]

That very year (1796), while the older and more experienced French
generals were repeatedly baffled in their efforts to carry the war into
the Germanies, the young commander--but twenty-seven years of age--
swept the Austrians from Italy. With lightning rapidity, with
infectious enthusiasm, with brilliant tactics, with great personal
bravery, he crossed the Alps, humbled the Sardinians, and within a year
had disposed of five Austrian armies and had occupied every fort in
northern Italy. Sardinia was compelled to cede Savoy and Nice to the
French Republic, and, when Bonaparte's army approached Vienna, Austria
stooped to make terms with this amazing republican general. By the
treaty of Campo Formio (1797), France secured the Austrian Netherlands
and the Ionian Islands; Austria obtained, as partial compensation for
her sacrifices, the ancient Venetian Republic, but agreed not to
interfere in other parts of Italy; and a congress was to assemble at
Rastatt to rearrange the map of the Holy Roman Empire with a view to
compensating those German princes whose lands on the left bank of the
Rhine had been appropriated by France.

[Sidenote: Great Britain Left Alone in Arms Against the French

The campaign of 1796-1797, known in history as the First Italian
campaign, was the beginning of a long series of sensational military
exploits which were to rank Napoleon Bonaparte as the foremost soldier
of modern times. Its immediate effect was to complete the dissolution
of the First Coalition by forcing Austria and Sardinia to follow the
example of Spain, Prussia, and Holland and to make a peace highly
favorable to the French Republic. Great Britain alone continued the
struggle against the Directory.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte's Rising Fame]

Another effect of the first Italian campaign, almost as immediate and
certainly more portentous, was the sudden personal fame of Napoleon
Bonaparte. He was the most talked-of man in France. The people
applauded him. The government feared but flattered him. Schemers and
plotters of every political faith sought his support. Alongside of
decreasing respect for the existing government was increasing trust in
Bonaparte's strength and ability.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte's Egyptian Campaign Against Great Britain, 1798]

It was undoubtedly with a sense of relief that the despised Directors
in 1798 assented to a project proposed by the popular hero to transport
to Egypt a French expedition with the object of interrupting
communications between Great Britain and India. The ensuing Egyptian
campaign of 1798 was spectacular rather than decisive. Bonaparte made
stirring speeches to his soldiers. He called the Pyramids to witness
the valor of the French. He harangued the Mohammedans upon the
beautiful and truthful character of their religion and upon the
advantages which they would derive from free trade with France. He
encouraged the close study of Egyptian antiquities. [Footnote: It was
an army officer on this Egyptian expedition who discovered the famous
Rosetta Stone, by the aid of which hieroglyphics could be deciphered.]
But his actual victories did not measure up to the excessively colored
reports that he sent home. He was checked in Syria, and a great naval
victory won by the celebrated English admiral, Lord Nelson, near the
mouth of the Nile, effectually prevented the arrival of reinforcements.

[Sidenote: Embarrassments of the Directory during Bonaparte's Absence
from France]

Thereupon, General Bonaparte, luckily eluding the British warships,
returned to France. It was believed by Frenchmen that his last
expedition had been eminently successful: but that in the meantime the
work of the Directory had been disastrous, no one doubted. While
Bonaparte was away, affairs in France had gone from bad to worse. There
were new plots, increased financial and social disorders, and finally
the renewal on a large scale of foreign war.

[Sidenote: The Second Coalition and the Renewal of War in Europe]

After the treaty of Campo Formio, the Directors had prosecuted
zealously the policy of surrounding France with a circle of dependent
republics. Even before that peace, Holland had been transformed into
the Batavian Republic, and now pretexts of various sorts were utilized
to convert the duchy of Milan, or Lombardy, into the Cisalpine
Republic; the oligarchy of Genoa into the Ligurian Republic; the Papal
States into the Roman Republic; the kingdom of the Two Sicilies into
the Parthenopaean Republic; the Swiss Confederation into the Helvetic

In view of the fact that the governments of all these republics were
modeled after that of France and were allied with France, the monarchs
of Europe bestirred themselves once more to get rid of the danger that
threatened them. A Second Coalition was formed by Great Britain,
Austria, and Russia, and, thanks to liberal sums of money supplied by
William Pitt, the British minister, they were able to put large armies
in the field.

[Sidenote: French Reverses]

During 1799 the Second Coalition won repeated victories; the French
were driven from Italy; and most of the dependent republics collapsed.
It seemed as though Bonaparte's first Italian campaign had been for
naught. Possibly the military hero of France had himself foreseen this
very situation and had intended to exploit it to his own advantage.

[Sidenote: Return of Bonaparte from Egypt: the "Man of the Hour"]

At any rate, when Bonaparte had sailed for Egypt, he had left his
country apparently prosperous, victorious, and honored. Now, when he
landed at Fréjus on 9 October, 1799, he found France bankrupt,
defeated, and disgraced. It is small wonder that his journey from
Fréjus to Paris was a triumphal procession. The majority of Frenchmen
were convinced that he was the man of the hour.

[Sidenote: The Coup d'État of the Eighteenth Brumaire: Overthrow of the
Directory, 1799] Within a month of his return from Egypt, public
opinion enabled the young conqueror to overthrow the government of the
Directory. Skillfully intriguing with the Abbé Sieyès, who was now one
of the Directors, he surrounded the Assemblies with a cordon of troops
loyal to himself and on 18-19 Brumaire (9-10 November, 1799) secured by
show of force the downfall of the government and the appointment of
himself to supreme military command. This blow at the state (_coup
d'état_) was soon followed by the promulgation of a new
constitution, by which General Bonaparte became First Consul of the
French Republic.

[Sidenote: Militarism and the Close of the Revolution]

The _coup d'état_ of 18 Brumaire virtually ended the Revolution in
France. Within the space of ten and a half years from the assembling of
the Estates-General at Versailles, parliamentary and popular government
fell beneath the sword. The predictions of Marat and Robespierre were
realized: militarism had supplanted democracy.


It may now be possible for us to have some idea as to the real meaning
of these ten years of Assemblies, constitutions, insurrections, and
wars, which have marked the period of the French Revolution. A present-
day visitor in Paris will be struck by the bold letters which stand out
on the public buildings and churches: _Liberté, Egalité,
Fraternité_--Liberty, Equality, Fraternity. These were the words
which the revolutionaries spelled out on their homes, which they
thought embodied the true meaning of the Revolution.

As to the meaning of these words, there were certainly quite
contradictory views. To the royalists and rigid Catholics--to the
privileged nobility and clergy--to many a surprised peasant--to all the
reactionaries, they meant everything that was hateful, blasphemous,
sordid, inhuman, and unpatriotic. To the enlightened altruistic
bourgeois--to the poverty-stricken workingman of the city--to many a
dreamer and philanthropist--to all the extreme radicals, they were but
a shadowy will-of-the-wisp that glimmered briefly and perhaps indicated
faintly the gorgeousness of the great day that much later might break
upon them. Between these extremes of reaction and radicalism fell the
bulk of the bourgeoisie and of the peasantry--the bulk of the nation--
and it is in their sense that we shall try to make clear the meaning of
the three symbolical words.

[Sidenote: "Liberty"]

"Liberty" implied certain political ideals. Government was henceforth
to be exercised not autocratically by divine right, but
constitutionally by the sovereign will of the governed. The individual
citizen was no longer to be subject in all things to a king, but was to
be guaranteed in possession of personal liberties which no state or
society might abridge. Such were liberty of conscience, liberty of
worship, liberty of speech, liberty of publication. The liberty of
owning private property was proclaimed by the French Revolution as an
inherent right of man.

[Sidenote: "Equality"]

"Equality" embraced the social activities of the Revolution. It meant
the abolition of privilege, the end of serfdom, the destruction of the
feudal system. It pronounced all men equal before the law. It aspired,
though with little success, to afford every man an equal chance with
every other man in the pursuit of life and happiness.

[Sidenote: "Fraternity"]

"Fraternity" was the symbol of the brotherhood of those who sought to
make the world better and happier and more just. In France it found
expression in an outburst of patriotism and national sentiment. No
longer did mercenaries fight at the behest of despots for dynastic
aggrandizement; henceforth a nation in arms was prepared to do battle
under the glorious banner of "fraternity" in defense of whatever it
believed to be for the nation's interests.

Political liberty, social equality, patriotism in the nation,--these
three have been the enduring watchwords of all those who down to our
own day have looked for inspiration to the French Revolution.


GENERAL. Textbook narratives: J. H. Robinson and C. A. Beard, _The
Development of Modern Europe,_ Vol. I (1907), ch. xii, xiii; J. A.
R. Marriott, _The Remaking of Modern Europe, 1789-1878_ (1910),
ch. i-vi; H. E. Bourne, _The Revolutionary Period in Europe, 1763-
1815_ (1914), ch. Vi-xvi; H. M. Stephens, _Revolutionary Europe,
1789-1815_ (1893), ch. ii-vi; J. H. Rose, _Revolutionary and
Napoleonic Era, 1789-1815_ (1895), ch. Ii-vi; C. A. Fyffe, _A
History of Modern Europe, 1792-1878_ (1896), ch. i-iv; H. T. Dyer,
_A History of Modern Europe from the Fall of Constantinople,_ 3d
ed. rev. by Arthur Hassall (1901), ch. lii-lxi; Charles Seignobos,
_History of Contemporary Civilization,_ Eng. trans. by J. A. James
(1909), pp. 92-149. See also H. A. L. Fisher, _The Republican
Tradition in Europe_ (1911), ch. i-vii; and Emile Bourgeois,
_Manuel historique de politique étrangère,_ 4th ed., Vol. II
(1906), ch. i-v, vii.

ONE-VOLUME SURVEYS: Shailer Mathews, _The French Revolution_
(reprint 1912), a clear, well-balanced introduction, ending with the
year 1795; Hilaire Belloc, _The French Revolution_ (1911), in the
"Home University Library," interestingly written and inclined to be
philosophical; R. M. Johnston, _The French Revolution_ (1909),
emphasizes the spectacular and military rather than the social and
economic; Louis Madelin, _La Révolution_ (1911), written for the
general French reader and probably the very best of its kind, now in
process of translation into English.

politique de la révolution française, 1789-1804,_ 3d ed. (1905),
Eng. trans. by Bernard Miall, 4 vols. (1910), a painstaking study of
the growth of the spirit of democracy and of the rise of the republican
movement, by an eminent authority who has devoted many years to a
sympathetic study of the Revolution; H. M. Stephens, _A History of
the French Revolution,_ 2 vols. (1886-1891), mainly political,
generally reliable, but stops short with the Reign of Terror; H. A.
Taine, _The French Revolution,_ Eng. trans. by John Durand, 3
vols. (1878-1885), brilliantly written and bitterly hostile to many of
the leaders of the Revolution, a work still famous though many of its
findings have been vehemently assailed by Aulard, the apologist of the
Revolution; Jean Jaurès (editor), _Histoire socialiste, 1789-
1900,_ 12 vols. (1901-1909), a well-known and highly useful history
of France by a group of prominent French Socialists with a penchant for
stressing economic matters--Vols. I-IV, by Jaurès himself, treat of the
years 1789-1794, and Vol. V, by Gabrielle Deville, of 1794-1799; P. A.
(Prince) Kropotkin, _The Great French Revolution, 1789-1793,_ Eng.
trans. by N. F. Dryhurst (1909), emphasizes the role played by the
uneducated classes, eulogizes Marat, and suggests the conflict of
interests between the bourgeoisie and the lower classes; Thomas
Carlyle, _The French Revolution,_ originally published in 1837,
lively literary gossip and commentary rather than narrative history,
amusing though often fuliginous, should be read only by those already
familiar with the actual events of the Revolution; Albert Sorel,
_L'Europe et la révolution française,_ 8 vols. (1885-1904), of
which Vols. I-V deal with the years 1789-1799 and mainly with the
effects of the Revolution throughout Europe, a monumental work of the
highest merit; Gustave Le Bon, _La révolution française et la
psychologie des révolutions_ (1912), trans. by Bernard Miall under
the title of _The Psychology of Revolution_ (1913), a noteworthy
contribution to the study of "mob psychology" as exemplified by the
French Revolution; Ernest Lavisse and Alfred Rambaud (editors),
_Histoire générale,_ Vol. VIII, a collection of scholarly
monographs on various phases of the Revolution; _Cambridge Modern
History,_ Vol. VIII (1904), a similar work in English; Heinrich von
Sybel, _Geschichte der Revolutionzeit von 1789,_ 3d ed., 5 vols.
(1865-1879), the best and most famous German work on the subject;
Wilhelm Oncken, _Das Zeitalter der Revolution,_ 2 vols. (1884-
1886); Adalbert Wahl, _Geschichte des europäischen Staatensystems im
Zeitalter der französischen Revolution und der Freiheits-Kriege, 1789-
1815_ (1912), useful epitome of foreign relations; Émile Levasseur,
_Histoire des classes ouvrières et de l'industrie en France de 1789 à
1870,_ Vol. I (1903), Livre I, _La Révolution,_ valuable for
the history of the working classes; Philippe Sagnac, _La législation
civile de la révolution française,1789-1804_ (1898), very important
survey of permanent social and civil gains; E. F. Henderson, _Symbol
and Satire in the French Revolution_ (1912), interesting side-

SOURCE MATERIALS. Of the vast masses of source material available for
special study of the French Revolution, the following selections may be
found useful and suggestive: F. M. Anderson, _Constitutions and Other
Select Documents Illustrative of the History of France, 1789-1901,_ 2d
rev. ed. (1909); L. G. Wickham Legg, _Select Documents Illustrative of
the French Revolution, the Constituent Assembly,_ 2 vols. (1905); Léon
Duguit and Henry Monnier, _Les constitutions et les principales lois
politiques de la France depuis 1789_ (1898); H. M. Stephens, _The
Principal Speeches of the Statesmen and Orators of the French
Revolution, 1789-1795,_ 2 vols. (1892); Léon Cahen and Raymond Guyot,
_L'oeuvre législative de la révolution_ (1913); Alphonse Aulard, _Les
grands orateurs de la révolution--Vergniaud, Danton, Robespierre_
(1914); Merrick Whitcomb, _Typical Cahiers of 1789,_ in "Translations
and Reprints" of the University of Pennsylvania (1898). In the
_Collection de documents inédits sur l'histoire économique de la
révolution française,_ now in course of publication under the auspices
of the French Ministry of Public Instruction, have appeared (1906-1915)
several volumes of the local _cahiers_ of 1788-1789. See also Armand
Brette, _Recueil des documents relatifs à la convocation des états
généraux de 1789,_ 3 vols. (1894-1904); P. J. B. Buchez and P. C. Roux-
Lavergne, _Histoire parlementaire de la révolution française, 1789-
1815,_ 40 vols. (1834-1838), embracing extracts from the debates,
quotations from contemporary newspapers and pamphlets, and the text of
some of the most important statutes and decrees; _Archives
parlementaires de 1787 à 1860_, 1st series _1787-1799_, 82 vols., the
official, but not always trustworthy, reports of the debates in the
successive French legislative bodies; _Réimpression de l'ancien
Moniteur_, 32 vols., a reprint, in several different editions, of one
of the most famous Parisian newspapers of the revolutionary period;
Alphonse Aulard, _La société des jacobins_, 6 vols. (1889-1897), a
collection of documents concerning the most influential political club
of revolutionary France. Of the numerous memoirs of the time, perhaps
the most valuable are those of Mallet du Pan, Comte de Fersen, Bailly,
Ferrières, and Malouet; see also the _History of My Time_ by the Duc
d'Audiffret-Pasquier (1767-1862), Eng. trans. by C. E. Roche, 3 vols.
(1893-1894), especially Part I; and for additional memoirs and other
source-material consult the bibliographies in the _Cambridge Modern
History_ or in the _Histoire générale_. There are several detailed
bibliographies on the French Revolution; and since 1881 the veteran
scholar Aulard has edited _La révolution française_, devoted
exclusively to the subject. For interesting personal impressions of the
Revolution by an American eye-witness, see Gouverneur Morris, _Diary
and Letters_, 2 vols. (1888). F. M. and H. D. Fling, _Source Problems
on the French Revolution_ (1913), is a useful compilation for intensive
critical study of various phases of the Revolution.

Sloane, _The French Revolution and Religious Reform_ (1901), a
résumé of legislation affecting the Church, 1789-1804; Antonin
Debidour, _Histoire des rapports de l'église et de l'état en France
de 1789 à 1870_ (1898); Pierre de La Gorce, _Histoire religieuse
de la révolution française_, Vol. I, _1789-1791_ (1909), Vol.
II, _1791-1793_ (1912), comprehensive and exhaustive, sympathetic
with the Church but scrupulously fair; Paul Pisani, _L'église de
Paris et la révolution_, 4 vols. (1908-1911), covering the years
1789-1802, a work of high rank by a canon of Notre Dame; J. F. E.
Robinet, _Le mouvement religieux à Paris pendant la révolution, 1789-
1801_, 2 vols. (1896-1898), primarily a collection of documents; The
Abbé Bridier (editor), _A Papal Envoy during the Reign of Terror,
being the Memoirs of Mgr. de Salamon the Internuncio at Paris during
the Revolution, 1790-1801_, Eng. trans. by Frances Jackson (1911);
Ludovic Sciout, _Histoire de la constitution civile du clergé, 1790-
1801_, 4 vols. (1872-1881); Alphonse Aulard, _La révolution et les
congrégations: exposé historique et documents_ (1903); Edmé
Champion, _La séparation de l'église et de l'état en 1794_ (1903).

Edward Dowden, _The French Revolution and English Literature_ (1897);
H. N. Brailsford, _Shelley, Godwin, and their Circle_ (1913); W. P.
Hall, _British Radicalism, 1791-1797_ (1912); Edmund Burke,
_Reflections on the Revolution in France_, in many editions, a furious
and prejudiced arraignment of the whole movement; John (Viscount)
Morley, _Edmund Burke_ (1879), an apology for Burke; John MacCunn, _The
Political Philosophy of Burke_ (1913), clear and concise though
somewhat less laudatory of Burke; _The Life and Writings of Thomas
Paine_, edited by D. E. Wheeler, 10 vols. (1909), the most elaborate
edition of the writings of the chief English friend of the Revolution;
Paine's _The Rights of Man_ has appeared in many other editions.

Chuquet, _Les guerres de la révolution_, 11 vols. (1886-1896),
very detailed, coming down only to September, 1793; A. T. Mahan, _The
Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-
1812_, Vol. I, 10th ed. (1898); Mrs. Maxwell-Scott, _Life of the
Marquise de la Rochejaquelein_ (1912), and Ida A. Taylor, _The
Tragedy of an Army: La Vendee in 1793_ (1913), two sympathetic and
popular accounts of the Vendean Revolt. On the Terror: H. A. Wallon,
_La Terreur_, 2 vols. (1881), and, by the same author, _Les
représentants du peuple en mission_, 5 vols. (1889-1890), and _Le
tribunal révolutionnaire_, 2 vols. (1900); Louis Mortimer-Ternaux,
_Histoire de la Terreur, 1792-1794_, 8 vols. (1862); Edmond Bire,
_La légende des girondins_ (1881); Charles de Ricault Héricault,
_La révolution de thermidor_, 2d ed. (1878). On the Directory,
1795-1799: Ludovic Sciout, _Le Directoire_, 2 vols. (1895-1896).

BIOGRAPHIES. Of Mirabeau, the best biography in English undoubtedly
will be that of F. M. Fling, projected in three volumes, of which Vol.
I, _The Youth of Mirabeau_, was published in 1908; the most recent and
convenient French treatment is by Louis Barthou (1913); a standard
German work is Alfred Stern, _Das Leben Mirabeaus_, 2 vols. (1889); and
for a real insight into Mirabeau's character and policies, reference
should be made to his _Correspondance avec le comte de la Marck_, 3
vols. (1851). Hilaire Belloc has written very readable and suggestive
English biographies of _Danton_ (1899), _Robespierre_ (1901), and
_Marie Antoinette_ (1909). Perhaps the best brief appreciation of
_Danton_ is that by Louis Madelin (1914); J. F. E. Robinet has written
a valuable _Danton_ (1889), and likewise a _Condorcet_ (1893). The
elaborate _Histoire de Robespierre et du coup d'état du 9 thermidor_ by
Ernest Hamel, 3 vols. (1865-1867), is marred by excessive hero-worship.
Jules Claretie, _Camille Desmoulins, Lucille Desmoulins: étude sur les
dantonistes_ (1875), a charming biography, has been translated into
English. Among other useful biographies of persons prominent during the
Revolution, the following might be consulted with profit: J. H.
Clapham, _The Abbé Sieyès: an Essay in the Politics of the French
Revolution_ (1912); E. D. Bradby, _The Life of Barnave_, 2 vols.
(1915), containing vivid descriptions of the National Constituent
Assembly; Francois Chèvremont, _Jean-Paul Marat_, 2 vols. (1880);
Charles Vatel, _Vergniaud_, 2 vols. (1873), and, by the same author,
_Charlotte de Corday et les girondins: pièces classées et annotées_, 3
vols. (1864-1872); Arthur Chuquet, _Dumouriez_ (1914); Pouget de Saint-
André, _Le général Dumouriez, 1739-1823_ (1914); C. A. Dauban, _Étude
sur Madame Roland et son temps_ (1864); Bernard Mallet, _Mallet du Pan
and the French Revolution_(1902); E. B, Bax, _Babeuf: the Last Episode
of the French Revolution_ (1911).



[Sidenote: Introductory]

From 1799 to 1814 the history of Europe was the history of France, and
the history of France was the biography of Napoleon Bonaparte. So
completely did this masterful personality dominate the course of events
that his name has justly been used to characterize this era. The Era of
Napoleon stands out as one of the most significant periods in modern
times. Apart from its importance as marking a revolution in the art of
war, it bore memorable results in two directions: (1) the adaptation of
revolutionary theories to French practical political necessities, and
the establishment of many of the permanent institutions of present-day
France; and (2) the communication of the revolutionary doctrines of the
French Revolution far and wide throughout Europe, so that henceforth
the movement was general rather than local.

During the first five years of the era (1799-1804) France remained
formally a republic. It was in these years that General Bonaparte, as
First Consul, consolidated his country and fashioned the nature of the
lasting gains of the Revolution. Thenceforth, from 1804 to 1814, France
was an empire, established and maintained by military force. Then it
was that the national hero--self-crowned Napoleon I, emperor of the
French,--by means of war, conquest, annexation, or alliance, spread the
ideas of his country far and wide throughout Europe. Before we review
the main activities of the constructive consulate or of the proselyting
empire, we should have some notion of the character of the leading


[Sidenote: Napoleon Bonaparte]

When General Bonaparte executed the _coup d'état_ of 1799 and
seized personal power in France, he was thirty years of age, short, of
medium build, quiet and determined, with cold gray eyes and rather
awkward manners. His early life had been peculiarly interesting. He was
born at Ajaccio in Corsica on 15 August, 1769, just after the island
had been purchased by France from Genoa but before the French had fully
succeeded in quelling a stubborn insurrection of the Corsicans.
Belonging to a prominent and numerous Italian family,--at the outset
his name was written Napoleone di Buonaparte,--he was selected along
with sons of other conspicuous Corsican families to be educated at
public expense in France. In this way he received a good military
education at Brienne and at Paris. He early displayed a marked fondness
for the study of mathematics and history as well as for the science of
war; and, though reserved and taciturn, he was noticeably ambitious and
a keen judge of men.

During his youth Buonaparte dreamed of becoming the leader in
establishing the independence of Corsica, but the outbreak of the
French Revolution afforded him a wider field for his enthusiasm and
ambition. Already an engineer and artilleryman, he threw in his lot
with the Jacobins, sympathized at least outwardly with the course of
the Revolution, and was rewarded, as we have seen, with an important
place in the recapture of Toulon (1793) and in the defense of the
Convention (1795). It was not, however, until his first Italian
campaign,--when incidentally he altered his name to the French form,
Bonaparte,--that he acquired a commanding reputation as the foremost
general of the French Republic.

[Sidenote: Character of Bonaparte]

How Bonaparte utilized his reputation in order to make himself master
of his adopted country has already been related. It was due in large
part to an extraordinary opportunity which French politics at that time
offered. But it was due, likewise, to certain characteristic qualities
of the young general. In the first place, he was thoroughly convinced
of his own abilities. Ambitious, selfish, and egotistical, he was
always thinking and planning how he might become world-famous.
Fatalistic and even superstitious, he believed that an unseen power was
leading him on to higher and grander honors. He convinced his
associates that he was "a man of destiny." Then, in the second place,
Bonaparte possessed an effective means of satisfying his ambition, for
he made himself the idol of his soldiers. He would go to sleep
repeating the names of the corps, and even those of some of the
individuals who composed them; he kept these names in a corner of his
memory, and this habit came to his aid when he wanted to recognize a
soldier and to give him a cheering word from his general. He spoke to
the subalterns in a tone of good fellowship, which delighted them all,
as he reminded them of their "common feats of arms." Then, in the third
place, Bonaparte was a keen observer and a clever critic. Being
sagacious, he knew that by 1799 France at large was weary of weak
government and perpetual political strife and that she longed to have
her scars healed by a practical man. Such a man he instinctively felt
himself to be. In the fourth place, Bonaparte was a politician to the
extreme of being unscrupulous. Knowing what he desired, he was ready
and willing to employ any means to attain his ends. No love for
theories or principles, no fear of God or man, no sentimental aversion
from bloodshed, nothing could deter him from striving to realize his
vaulting but self-centered ambition. Finally, there was in his nature
an almost paradoxical vein of poetry and art which made him human and
often served him well. He dreamed of empires and triumphs. He reveled
in the thought of courts and polished society. He entertained a sincere
admiration for learning. His highly colored speeches to his soldiers
were at once brilliant and inspiriting. His fine instinct of the
dramatic gave the right setting to all his public acts. And in the
difficult arts of lying and deception, Bonaparte has never been

[Sidenote: The Government Of The Consulate: Constitution Of The Year

Such was the man who effected the _coup d'état_ of 18 Brumaire
(November, 1799). His first work in his new rôle was to publish a
constitution, which he prepared in conjunction with the Abbé Sieyès and
which was to supersede the Constitution of the Year III. It concealed
the military despotism under a veil of popular forms. The document
named three "consuls," the first of whom was Bonaparte himself, who
were to appoint a Senate. From lists selected by general election, the
Senate was to designate a Tribunate and a Legislative Body. The First
Consul, in addition to conducting the administration and foreign
policies and having charge of the army, was to propose, through a
Council of State, all the laws. The Tribunate was to discuss the laws
without voting on them. The Legislative Body was then to vote on the
laws without discussing them. And the Senate, acting as a kind of
supreme court, was to decide all constitutional questions. Thus a
written constitution was provided, and the principle of popular
election was recognized, but in last analysis all the power of the
state was centered in the First Consul, who was Napoleon Bonaparte.

The document was forthwith submitted for ratification to a popular
vote, called a _plebiscite_. So great was the disgust with the
Directory and so unbounded was the faith of all classes in the military
hero who offered it, that it was accepted by an overwhelming majority
and was henceforth known in French history as the Constitution of the
Year VIII.

[Sidenote: Foreign Danger Confronting France]

One reason why the French nation so readily acquiesced in an obvious
act of usurpation was the grave foreign danger that threatened the
country. As we have noted in another connection, the armies of the
Second Coalition in the course of 1799 had rapidly undone the
settlement of the treaty of Campo Formio, and, possessing themselves of
Italy and the Rhine valley, were now on the point of carrying the war
into France. The First Consul perceived at a glance that he must face
essentially the same situation as that which confronted France in 1796.

[Sidenote: Dissolution of the Second Coalition]

The Second Coalition embraced Great Britain, Austria, and Russia.
Bonaparte soon succeeded by flattery and diplomacy not only in securing
the withdrawal of Russia but in actuating the half-insane Tsar Paul to
revive against Great Britain an Armed Neutrality of the North, which
included Russia, Prussia, Sweden, and Denmark. Meanwhile the First
Consul prepared a second Italian campaign against Austria. Suddenly
leading a French army through the rough and icy passes of the Alps, he
descended into the fertile valley of the Po and at Marengo in June,
1800, inflicted an overwhelming defeat upon the enemy. French success
in Italy was supplemented a few months later by a brilliant victory of
the army under Moreau at Hohenlinden in southern Germany. Whereupon
Austria again sued for peace, and the resulting treaty of Lunéville
(1801) reaffirmed and strengthened the provisions of the peace of Campo

[Sidenote: Truce between France and Great Britain: Treaty of Amiens,

Meanwhile, steps were being taken to terminate the state of war which
had been existing between France and Great Britain since 1793. Although
French arms were victorious in Europe, the British squadron of Lord
Nelson (1758-1805) had managed to win and retain the supremacy of the
sea. By gaining the battle of the Nile (1 August, 1798) Nelson had cut
off the supplies of the French expedition in Egypt and eventually
(1801) obliged it to surrender. Now, by a furious bombardment of
Copenhagen (2 April, 1801), Nelson broke up the Armed Neutrality of the
North. But despite the naval feats of the British, republican France
seemed to be unconquerable on the Continent. Under these circumstances
a treaty was signed at Amiens in March, 1802, whereby Great Britain
promised to restore all the colonial conquests made during the war,
except Ceylon and Trinidad, and tacitly accepted the Continental
settlement as defined at Lunéville. The treaty of Amiens proved to be
but a temporary truce in the long struggle between France and Great

[Sidenote: French Reforms under the Consulate]

So far, the Consulate had meant the establishment of an advantageous
peace for France. With all foreign foes subdued, with territories
extended to the Rhine, and with allies in Spain, and in the Batavian,
Helvetic, Ligurian, and Cisalpine republics, the First Consul was free
to devote his marvelous organizing and administrative instincts to the
internal affairs of his country. The period of the Consulate (1799-
1804) was the period of Bonaparte's greatest and most enduring
contributions to the development of French institutions.

[Sidenote: The Revolutionary Heritage]

Throughout his career Bonaparte professed himself to be the "son of the
Revolution," the heir to the new doctrine of Liberty, Equality, and
Fraternity. It was to the Revolution that he owed his position in
France, and it was to France that he claimed to be assuring the results
of the Revolution. Yet, in actual practice, it was equality and
fraternity, but not liberty, that were preserved by the First Consul.
"What the French people want," he declared, "is equality, not liberty."
In the social order, therefore, Bonaparte rigidly maintained the
abolition of privilege, of serfdom and feudalism, and sought to
guarantee to all Frenchmen equal justice, equal rights, equal
opportunity of advancement. But in the political order he exercised a
tyranny as complete, if less open, than that of Louis XIV.

[Sidenote: Administrative Centralization]

The Constitution of the Year VIII (1799) placed in Bonaparte's hands
all the legislative and executive functions of the central government,
and a series of subsequent acts put the law courts under his control.
In 1800 the local government of the whole country was subordinated to
him. The extensive powers vested by the Constituent Assembly in
elective bodies of the departments and smaller districts
(_arrondissements_) were now to be wielded by prefects and sub-
prefects, appointed by the First Consul and responsible to him. The
local elective councils continued to exist, but sat only for a
fortnight in the year and had to deal merely with the assessment of
taxes: they might be consulted by the prefect or sub-prefect but had no
serious check upon the executive. The mayor of every small commune was
henceforth to be chosen by the prefect, while the police of all cities
containing more than 100,000 inhabitants were directed by the central
government and the mayors of towns of more than 5000 population were
chosen by Bonaparte.

This highly centralized administration of the country afforded the
people little direct voice in governmental matters but it possessed
distinct advantages in assuring the prompt, uniform, military-like
execution of the laws and decrees of the central government. In essence
it was a continuation of the system of intendants instituted by
Cardinal Richelieu. How conservative are the French people, at least in
the institutions of local government, may be inferred from the fact
that despite many changes in France during the nineteenth century from
republic to empire to monarchy to republic to empire to republic,
Bonaparte's system of prefects and sub-prefects has survived to the
present day.

[Sidenote: Bonaparte's Centralizing Tendencies]

As in administration, so in all his internal reforms, Bonaparte
displayed the same fondness for centralization, with consequent
thoroughness and efficiency, at the expense of idealistic liberty. His
reforms of every description--financial, ecclesiastical, judicial,
educational,--and even his public works, showed the guiding hand of the
victorious general rather than that of the convinced revolutionary.
They were the adaptation of the revolutionary heritage to the purposes
and policies of one-man power.

[Sidenote: Financial Readjustment]
[Sidenote: The Bank of France]

It will be remembered that financial disorders had been the immediate
cause of the downfall of the absolute monarchy as well as of the
Directory. From the outset, Bonaparte guarded against any such
recurrence. By careful collection of taxes he increased the revenue of
the state. By rigid economy, by the severe punishment of corrupt
officials, and by the practice of obliging people whose lands he
invaded to support his armies, he reduced the public expenditures. The
crowning achievement of his financial readjustments was the
establishment (1800) of the Bank of France, which has been ever since
one of the soundest financial institutions in the world.

[Sidenote: Ecclesiastical Settlement: the Concordat, 1801]

Another grave problem which Bonaparte inherited from the Revolution was
the quarrel between the state and the Roman Catholic Church. He was
determined to gain the political support of the large number of
conscientious French Catholics who had been alienated by the harsh
anti-clerical measures of the revolutionaries. After delicate and
protracted negotiations, a settlement was reached in a concordat (1801)
between Pope Pius VII and the French Republic, whereby the pope, for
his part, concurred in the confiscation of the property of the Church
and the suppression of the monasteries, and the First Consul undertook
to have the salaries of the clergy paid by the state; the latter was to
nominate the bishops and the former was to invest them with their
office; the priests were to be appointed by the bishops. In this way
the Catholic Church in France became a branch of the lay government
much more completely than it had been in the time of Louis XIV. So
advantageous did the arrangement appear that the Concordat of 1801
continued to regulate the relations of church and state until 1905.

[Sidenote: Judicial Reforms]
[Sidenote: The Code Napoléon]

One of the fondest hopes cherished by enlightened liberals was to clear
away the confusion and discrepancies of the numerous legal systems of
the old régime and to reduce the laws of the land to a simple and
uniform code, so that every person judicial who could read would be
able to know what was legal and what was illegal. The constitution of
1791 had promised such a work; the National Convention had actually
begun it; but the preoccupations of the leading revolutionaries,
combined with the natural caution and slowness of the lawyers to whom
the task was intrusted, delayed its completion. It was not until the
commanding personality of Bonaparte came into contact with it that real
progress was made. Then surrounding himself with excellent legal
advisers [Footnote: Chief among these legal experts was Cambacérès
(1753-1824), the Second Consul.] whom he literally drove to labor, the
First Consul brought out a great Civil Code (1804), which was followed
by a Code of Civil Procedure, a Code of Criminal Procedure, a Penal
Code, and a Commercial Code. These codes were of the utmost importance.
The simplicity and elegance of their form commended them not only to
France, but to the greater part of continental Europe. Moreover, they
preserved the most valuable social conquests of the Revolution, such as
civil equality, religious toleration, equality of inheritance,
emancipation of serfs, freedom of land, legal arrest, and trial by
jury. It is true that many harsh punishments were retained and that the
position of woman was made distinctly inferior to that of man, but, on
the whole, the French Codes long remained not only the most convenient
but the most enlightened set of laws in the world. Bonaparte was
rightly hailed as a second Justinian.

[Sidenote: The New Educational System]

A similar motive and the same enthusiasm actuated the First Consul in
pressing forward important educational reforms. On the foundation laid
several years earlier by Condorcet was now reared an imposing system of
public instruction. (1) Primary or elementary schools were to be
maintained by every commune under the general supervision of the
prefects or sub-prefects. (2) Secondary or grammar schools were to
provide special training in French, Latin, and elementary science, and,
whether supported by public or private enterprise, were to be subject
to governmental control. (3) _Lycées_ or high schools were to be
opened in every important town and instruction given in the higher
branches of learning by teachers appointed by the state. (4) Special
schools, such as technical schools, civil service schools, and military
schools, were brought under public regulation. (5) The University of
France was established to maintain uniformity throughout the new
educational system. Its chief officials were appointed by the First
Consul, and no one might open a new school or teach in public unless he
was licensed by the university. (6) The recruiting station for the
teaching staff of the public schools was provided in a normal school
organized in Paris. All these schools were directed to take as the
bases of their teaching the principles of the Catholic Church, loyalty
to the head of the state, and obedience to the statutes of the
university. Despite continued efforts of Bonaparte, the new system was
handicapped by lack of funds and of experienced lay teachers, so that
at the close of the Napoleonic Era, more than half of the total number
of French children still attended private schools, mostly those
conducted by the Catholic Church.

[Sidenote: Public Works]

Bonaparte proved himself a zealous benefactor of public works and
improvements. With very moderate expenditure of French funds, for
prisoners of war were obliged to do most of the work, he enormously
improved the means of communication and trade within the country, and
promoted the economic welfare of large classes of the inhabitants. The
splendid highways which modern France possesses are in large part due
to Bonaparte. In 1811 he could enumerate 229 broad military roads which
he had constructed, the most important of which, thirty in number,
radiated from Paris to the extremities of the French territory. Two
wonderful Alpine roads brought Paris in touch with Turin, Milan, Rome,
and Naples. Numerous substantial bridges were built. The former network
of canals and waterways was perfected. Marshes were drained, dikes
strengthened, and sand dunes hindered from spreading along the ocean
coast. The principal seaports, both naval and commercial, were enlarged
and fortified, especially the harbors of Cherbourg and Toulon.

Along with such obviously useful labor went desirable embellishment of
life. State palaces were restored and enlarged, so that, under
Bonaparte, St. Cloud, Fontainebleau, and Rambouillet came to rank with
the majesty of Versailles. The city of Paris was beautified. Broad
avenues were projected. The Louvre was completed and adorned with
precious works of art which Bonaparte dragged as fruits of victory from
Italy, or Spain, or the Netherlands. During the Consulate, Paris was
just beginning to lay claim to a position as the pleasure city of
Europe. Its population almost doubled during the Era of Napoleon.

[Sidenote: Colonial Enterprises and their Failure]

The First Consul also entertained the hope of appearing as the restorer
of the French colonial empire. In 1800 he prevailed upon the Spanish
government to re-cede to France the extensive territory--called
Louisiana--lying west of the Mississippi River. Soon afterwards he
dispatched his brother-in-law, General Leclerc, with an army of 25,000
men, to make good the French claims to the large island of Haiti. But
the colonial ventures of Napoleon ended in failure. In Haiti, Leclerc's
efforts to reestablish negro slavery encountered the stubborn
resistance of the blacks, organized and led by one of their number,
Toussaint L'Ouverture, a remarkable military genius. After a determined
and often ferocious struggle Leclerc proposed a compromise, and
Toussaint, induced by the most solemn guarantees on the part of the
French, laid down his arms. He was seized and sent to France, where he
died in prison in 1803. The negroes, infuriated by this act of
treachery, renewed the war with a barbarity unequaled in previous
contests. The French, further embarrassed by the appearance of a
British fleet, were only too glad to relinquish the island in November,
1803. Meanwhile, expectation of war with Great Britain had induced
Bonaparte in April, 1803, to sell the entire Louisiana Territory to the
United States.

[Sidenote: Success of the Consulate]

If we except these brief and ill-starred colonial exploits, we may
pronounce the First Consul's government and achievements eminently
successful. Bonaparte had inspired public confidence by the honesty of
his administration and by his choice of officials, for he was served by
such a consummate diplomat as Talleyrand and by such a tireless chief
of police as Fouché. His speedy and victorious termination of the War
of the Second Coalition and his subsequent apparent policy of peace had
redounded to his credit. His sweeping and thorough reforms in internal
affairs had attracted to his support many and varied classes in the
community--the business interests, the bourgeoisie, the peasantry, and
the sincere Catholics.

[Sidenote: Dwindling Opposition to Bonaparte]

Only two groups--and these continually dwindling in size and
importance--stood in the way of Bonaparte's complete mastery of France.
One was the remnant of the Jacobins who would not admit that the
Revolution was ended. The other was the royalist party which longed to
undo all the work of the Revolution. Both these factions were reduced
during the Consulate to secret plots and intrigues. Attempts to
assassinate the First Consul served only to increase his popularity
among the masses. Early in 1804 Bonaparte unearthed a conspiracy of
royalists, whom he punished with summary vengeance. General Pichegru,
who was implicated in the conspiracy, was found strangled in prison
soon after his arrest. Moreau, who was undoubtedly the ablest general
in France next to Bonaparte, was likewise accused of complicity,
although he was a stanch Jacobin, and escaped more drastic punishment
only by becoming an exile in America. Not content with these
advantages, Bonaparte determined thoroughly to terrorize the royalists:
by military force he seized a young Bourbon prince, the due d'Enghien,
on German soil, and without a particle of proof against him put him to

[Sidenote: Transformation of the Consulate into the Empire]

In 1802 a plébiscite had bestowed the Consulate on Bonaparte for life.
Now there was little more to do than to make the office hereditary and
to change its name. This alteration was proposed in 1804 by the
subservient Senate and promptly ratified by an overwhelming popular
vote. On 2 December, 1804, amid imposing ceremonies in the ancient
cathedral of Notre Dame, in the presence of Pope Pius VII, who had come
all the way from Rome to grace the event, General Bonaparte placed a
crown upon his own head and assumed the title of Napoleon I, emperor of
the French.


[Sidenote: The French Empire a Continuation of the First French

The establishment of the empire was by no means a break in French
history. The principle of popular sovereignty was still recognized. The
social gains of the Revolution were still intact. The magic words
"Liberty, Equality, Fraternity" still blazed proudly forth on public
buildings. The tricolor was still the flag of France.

[Sidenote: Lapse of Republican Institutions]

Of course a few changes were made in externals. The title of "citoyen"
was again replaced by that of "monsieur." The republican calendar
gradually lapsed. Napoleon's relatives became "grand dignitaries." The
revolutionary generals who accepted the new regime were promoted to be
"marshals of the empire." The old titles of nobility were restored, and
new ones created.

[Sidenote: Monarchical Alteration in Dependent States]

The outward changes in France were reflected in the dependent
surrounding states. And in effecting the foreign alterations, Napoleon
took care to provide for his numerous family. For his brother Louis,
the Batavian Republic was transformed into the kingdom of Holland. For
his brother Jerome, estates were subsequently carved out of Hanover,
Prussia, and other northwest German lands to form the kingdom of
Westphalia. Brother Joseph was seated on the Bourbon throne of the Two
Sicilies. The Cisalpine Republic became the kingdom of Italy with
Napoleon as king, and Eugène Beauharnais, his stepson, as viceroy. Both
Piedmont and Genoa were incorporated into the French Empire.

[Sidenote: Censorship of the Press and Activity of the Secret Police]
[Sidenote: The Eventual Absolutism of Napoleon]

The Consulate, as has been explained, was characterized by a policy of
peace. Sweeping reforms had been accomplished in internal affairs so
that France was consolidated and the vast majority of her citizens
became devoted supporters of the emperor. What adverse criticism
Frenchmen might have directed against the empire was stifled by the
activity of a splendidly organized secret police and by a rigorous
censorship of the press. So complete was Napoleon's control of the
state that the decisive naval defeat of Trafalgar was not mentioned by
a single French newspaper until after the fall of the empire. By
degrees the imperial despotism of the Corsican adventurer became as
rigid as the absolute monarchy of the Bourbons. In fact, Napoleon went
so far as to adapt an old catechism which the celebrated Bishop Bossuet
had prepared during the reign of Louis XIV and to order its use by all
children. A few extracts from the catechism will make clear how
Napoleon wished to be regarded.

"_Question_. What are the duties of Christians toward those who
govern them, and what in particular are our duties towards Napoleon I,
our emperor?

"_Answer_. Christians owe to the princes who govern them, and we
in particular owe to Napoleon I, our emperor, love, respect, obedience,
fidelity, military service, and the taxes levied for the preservation
and defense of the empire and of his throne. We also owe him fervent
prayers for his safety and for the spiritual and temporal prosperity of
the state.

"_Question_. Why are we subject to all these duties toward our

"_Answer_. First, because God, who has created empires and
distributed them according to His will, has, by loading our emperor
with gifts both in peace and in war, established him as our sovereign
and made him the agent of His power and His image upon earth. To honor
and serve our emperor is, therefore, to honor and serve God Himself.
Secondly, because our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, both by His teaching
and His example, has taught us what we owe to our sovereign. Even at
His very birth He obeyed the edict of Cæsar Augustus; He paid the
established tax and while He commanded us to render to God those things
which belong to God, He also commanded us to render unto Cæsar those
things which are Cæsar's.

"_Question_. What must we think of those who are wanting in their
duties towards our emperor?

"_Answer_. According to the Apostle Paul, they are resisting the
order established by God Himself, and render themselves worthy of
eternal damnation."

[Sidenote: Military Ambition of Napoleon]

With opposition crushed in France and with the loyalty of the French
nation secured, Napoleon as emperor could gratify his natural instincts
for foreign aggrandizement and glory. He had become all-powerful in
France; he would become all-powerful in Europe. Ambitious and
successful in the arts of peace, he would be more ambitious and more
successful in the science of war. The empire, therefore, meant war
quite as clearly as the Consulate meant peace. To speculate upon what
Napoleon might have accomplished for France had he restrained his
ambition and continued to apply his talents entirely to the less
sensational triumphs of peace, is idle, because Napoleon was not that
type of man. He lived for and by selfish ambition.

[Sidenote: The Empire Military]

The ten years of the empire (1804-1814) were attended by continuous
warfare. Into the intricacies of the campaigns it is neither possible
nor expedient in the compass of this chapter to enter. It is aimed,
rather, to present only such features of the long struggle as are
significant in the general history of Europe, for the wars of Napoleon
served a purpose which their prime mover only incidentally had at
heart--the transmission of the revolutionary heritage to Europe.

[Sidenote: Renewal of War between France and Great Britain]

When the empire was established, war between France and Great Britain,
interrupted by the truce of Amiens, had already broken forth afresh.
The struggle had begun in first instance as a protest of the British
monarchy against the excesses of the French Revolution, especially
against the execution of Louis XVI, and doubtless the bulk of the
English nation still fancied that they were fighting against revolution
as personified in Napoleon Bonaparte. But to the statesmen and
influential classes of Great Britain as well as of France, the conflict
had long assumed a deeper significance. It was an economic and
commercial war. The British not only were mindful of the assistance
which France had given to American rebels, but also were resolved that
France should not regain the colonial empire and commercial position
which she had lost in the eighteenth century. The British had struggled
to maintain their control of the sea and the monopoly of trade and
industry which attended it. Now, when Napoleon extended the French
influence over the Netherlands and Holland, along the Rhine, and
throughout Italy, and even succeeded in negotiating an alliance with
Spain, Britain was threatened with the loss of valuable commercial
privileges in all those regions, and was further alarmed by the
ambitious colonial projects of Napoleon. In May, 1803, therefore, Great
Britain declared war. The immediate pretext for the resumption of
hostilities was Napoleon's positive refusal to cease interfering in
Italy, in Switzerland, and in Holland.

Napoleon welcomed the renewal of war. He understood that until he had
completely broken the power of Great Britain all his Continental
designs were imperiled and his colonial and commercial projects
hopeless. The humiliation of the great rival across the Channel would
be the surest guarantee of the prosperity of the French bourgeoisie,
and it was in last analysis from that class that his own political
support was chiefly derived. The year 1803-1804 was spent by the
emperor in elaborate preparations for an armed invasion of England.
Along the Channel coast were gradually collected at enormous cost a
host of transports and frigates, a considerable army, and an abundance
of supplies. To the amazing French armament, Spain was induced to
contribute her resources.

[Sidenote: The Third Coalition Against France]

Great Britain replied to these preparations by covering the Channel
with a superior fleet, by preying upon French commerce, and by seizing
Spanish treasure-ships from America. And William Pitt, the very
embodiment of the Englishman's prejudice against things French,
returned to the ministry of his country. Pitt was unwilling to risk
British armies against the veterans of Napoleon, preferring to spend
liberal sums of money in order to instigate the Continental Powers to
combat the French emperor. Pitt was the real bone and sinews of the
Third Coalition, which was formed in 1805 by Great Britain, Austria,
Russia, and Sweden to overthrow Napoleon.

Austria naturally smarted under the provisions of the treaty of
Lunéville quite as much as under those of Campo Formio. Francis II was
aroused by French predominance in Italy and now that he himself had
added the title of "hereditary emperor of Austria" to his shadowy
dignity as "Holy Roman Emperor" he was irritated by the upstart
Napoleon's assumption of an imperial title.

In Russia the assassination of the Tsar Paul, the crazy admirer of

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