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The French Revolution "Conservative" Phase: 1795-1799. By: Susan M. Pojer Horace Greeley H. S. Chappaqua, NY. The “Thermidorian Reaction”. Curtailed the power of the Committee for Public Safety. Closed the Jacobin Clubs. Churches were reopened.

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The French Revolution "Conservative" Phase: 1795-1799

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The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

The French Revolution

"Conservative" Phase:

1795-1799

By: Susan M. PojerHorace Greeley H. S. Chappaqua, NY


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

The “Thermidorian Reaction”

  • Curtailed the power of the Committee for Public Safety.

  • Closed the Jacobin Clubs.

  • Churches were reopened.

    • 1795  freedom of worship for all cults was granted.

  • Economic restrictions were lifted in favor of laissez-faire policies.

  • August, 1795  a new Constitution is written

    • more conservative republicanism.


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

Characteristics of the Directory

  • The Paris Commune was outlawed.

  • The Law of 22 Prairial was revoked.

  • People involved in the original Terror were now attacked “White” Terror

  • Inflation continues.

  • Rule by rich bourgeois liberals.

  • Self-indulgence  frivolous culture;salons return; wild fashions.

  • Political corruption.

  • Revival of Catholicism.


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

The Government Structure of the New Directory

  • 5-man executive committee or oligarchy [to avoid a dictatorship].

  • Tried to avoid the dangers of a one-house legislature.

    • Council of 500 initiates legislation.

    • Council of Elders [250 members]  married or widowed males over 40 years of age.

      • They accepted or rejected the legislation.

    • Both houses elected by electors who owned or rented property worth 100-200 days’ labor [limited to 30,000 voters].

    • The electors were elected by all males over 21 who were taxpayers.


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

Political Instability: 1795-1796

  • April, 1795  Inflation; bread riots.

  • May 20, 1795  Revolt of Prairial [Year III]

  • October, 1795 :

    • Vendée and Brittany revolted.

    • Military suppressed them.

  • May, 1796  First “communist” revolt

    • Gracchus Babeufand the Conspiracy of Equals”


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

18 Brumaire (Nov. 9, 1799)

  • Coup d’état by Napoleon.

  • Approved by a plebiscite in December.

  • Abbe Sieyès: Confidence from below; authority from above.


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

A British Cartoon about Napoleon’s Coup in 1799


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

Read More About the Revolution


The french revolution conservative phase 1795 1799

Bibliographic Resources

  • “Hist210—Europe in the Age of Revolutions.”http://www.ucl.ac.uk/history/courses/europe1/chron/rch5.htm

  • “Liberty, Fraternity, Equality: Exploring the French Revolution.”http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/

  • Matthews, Andrew. Revolution and Reaction: Europe, 1789-1849. CambridgeUniversity Press, 2001.

  • “The Napoleonic Guide.” http://www.napoleonguide.com/index.htm


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