Napoleon Bonaparte seized power in France by plotting a coup within another coup.
And he did it all withoutshedding a drop of blood.
One year before the coup,
France was at war with Great Britain
澳大利亚 奥斯曼帝国 德国和
and Russia, Austria,the Ottoman Empire, and
some German and Italian states.
But Napoleon wasfocused on Great Britain
and wanted to cut off the country’s roots
to its profitable trading outposts in India.
Even though much of his fleetwas captured or destroyed
by the British at the Battle of the Nile,
Napoleon still managed to capture and hold Egypt
to cut off British traderoutes and even attack targets
deeper into the Ottoman Empire.
But back home, the Frenchweren’t faring as well,
suffering a series of defeatsagainst their European enemies
across the first half of 1799.
The French people became fedup with their current system
of government known as the Directory,
the fourth different system of government
since the beginning ofthe French Revolution 10 years earlier.
The Directory system includedtwo legislative bodies,
a council of 500,
a chamber of elected men that proposed laws,
and the Council of Ancients,250 elected men over 40
years old that approved laws.
The two bodies also work together to choose the directors themselves,
five executives of equal power responsible for enforcing laws.
But by 1799, the Directoryhad brought France into war
and near economic ruin.
The people largely lookedto the country’s military
This is where Napoleonsaw his chance.
When British ships temporarilyretreated from France’s ports,
拿破仑便离开埃及 回法国封神 同时
Napoleon left Egypt andreturned home a hero. Meanwhile,
had been plotting to seize powerfrom the weakened Directory.
Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes, betterknown by his religious title,
the Abb Sieyes, was elected as a director in May of 1799.
He had long been one of the mostinfluential political figures
for his writings that partlyinspired the French Revolution.
But Sieyes hated the Directory,finding the executive
too weak to effectively govern.
So soon after Napoleon’sreturn to Paris,
the two men met in secret.
They agreed to a coup that
would allow Sieyes to place himself
at the head of a newgovernment formed with the help
of Napoleon and his loyal army.
There were other conspirators,including Minister of Foreign
Affairs Talleyrandand Lucien Bonaparte,
President of the Council of 500and Napoleon’s younger brother.
On the morning of 18Brumarie, or November 9,
the plan was set into motion.
Sieyes and LucienBonaparte informed
their respective legislativebodies there was a plot
to overthrow the government.
But they lied and said it
was being led by the Jacobins,
the party that had carriedout France’s reign of terror
five years earlier.
The lawmakers weremoved for their safety
to a palace in St. Cloud,a suburb of France. Conveniently,
Napoleonhimself was placed
in charge of their protection. Meanwhile,
three of the five directors had resigned
in coordination with the coup, Sieyes, his ally
Roger Ducos, and PaulBarras, a former lover
of Napoleon’s wife Josephine.
Talleyrand had been given 2 million francs to bribe Barras to resign,
but he resigned on his own.
So Talleyrand just pocketedthe money for himself.
The next day, theCouncil of Ancients
were receptive to Napoleon’s argument that the government needed to be reorganized.
But the Council of 500needed more convincing.
So Napoleon marched intotheir chamber with grenadiers
by his side.
The legislators eruptedin anger, some charging
at Napoleon with daggers.
Amidst the chaos,Lucien Bonaparte
used the attacks on hisbrother as an excuse
to dissolve the Council of 500.
Napoleon’s troops dispersedthe rest of the council.
The Council of Ancients thendissolved the Constitution,
replacing the Directorywith three consuls, Sieyes,
Roger Ducos, and Napoleon.
Sieyes’ coup was complete.
But Napoleon was notinterested in sharing power.
The new government quicklydrew up the Constitution
of the Year VIII,and Napoleon made
sure he was its chief editor.
With the new constitution,Napoleon wrested
control away from Sieyes,using his supreme popularity
to declare himself first consulwith Sieyes and Ducos secondary
Napoleon had succeeded inhis coup within a coup,
setting himself up toultimately become dictator,
and all without asingle life lost.