History 3429F/G Lecture Notes - Colin Lucas, Bourgeoisie

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Published on 14 May 2013
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The article Failure of the Liberal Republic in France by Hunt, Lansky and
Hanson explains the failure of the Republic in France in terms of political instability
and disorganization within the Directory. This regime is often thought of, by both
historians and contemporaries, as both corrupt and ineffectual and was believed to
have nothing in common with the early ideals and desires at the beginning of the
Revolution in 1789. The Brumaire coup stems from the fundamental contradictions
between the ways that the notable Revolutionaries thought about the politics of the
Directory and how they were actually enacted. The development of a political
system based on elected officials was one of the main goals of the Revolution since
1789 and most Frenchmen were qualified to vote. However, the holding of elections
annually became dangerous to the political system. This was to be a republic based
on elected bourgeoisie, not aristocratic or popular, and therefore their management
had to change. These changes to the electoral process are one of the main reasons
why people began to question the way that their country was being run and became
distrustful of the Directory. It was believed that the system was corrupt again and
therefore needed to be overthrown and replaced.
Howard Brown’s article Revolt and Repression in the Midi Toulousain (1799)
gives proof that the political insurrections and demonstrations in Toulouse in
August of 1799 is evidence of the growing anarchy in France before the Brumaire
coup. What makes this argument interesting is that displays by unhappy and radical
people were not limited to the city of Paris and its surrounding areas alone. There
was growing discontent throughout France with the Directory. Some historians
view this movement in Toulouse as a sign of the imminent collapse of the Directory
in the years that followed and ultimately the succession of Napoleon. The revolt in
Toulouse is seen less as an ideological movement, but more of an opportunistic one.
However, the Directory was able to prove in this instance that it was in fact resilient
to popular uprisings as would continue to operate as normal. This uprising has
been deemed much less dangerous than has been previously thought by historians,
however, its role in the collapse of the Directory and Napoleon’s rise to power is
undeniable.
The article Rules of the Game in Local Politics under the Directory by Colin
Lucas calls into question the idea of a crumbling political life under the Directory
and whether provincial French politics were really as disjointed and unstructured
as they appeared. The most disordered and turbulent political region in France at
the time was undoubtedly the southeast, spanning from Lyon, south through the
Rhone valley to Marseille. Lucas argues that if a firm political system could have
been established in these areas, it would have set a solid example for the rest of the
provinces of France and more stable political could have been set up.
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Document Summary

The article failure of the liberal republic in france by hunt, lansky and. Hanson explains the failure of the republic in france in terms of political instability and disorganization within the directory. This regime is often thought of, by both historians and contemporaries, as both corrupt and ineffectual and was believed to have nothing in common with the early ideals and desires at the beginning of the. The brumaire coup stems from the fundamental contradictions between the ways that the notable revolutionaries thought about the politics of the. The development of a political system based on elected officials was one of the main goals of the revolution since. 1789 and most frenchmen were qualified to vote. However, the holding of elections annually became dangerous to the political system. This was to be a republic based on elected bourgeoisie, not aristocratic or popular, and therefore their management had to change.

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