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Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


The form of government (lasting from 1799 to 1804) established in France after the coup of brumaire . A new constitution, largely drafted by sieyès , one the conspirators of Brumaire, provided for three consuls, of whom Napoleon Bonaparte (see napoleon i ), as First Consul, was the most influential. He appointed the officers of state and controlled the more important of the two elected bodies, the senate, which had the authority to issue decrees. Napoleon used his influence to initiate a series of domestic reforms, to restore order and security as well as to end – albeit temporarily – the french revolutionary wars begun in 1792. He used these successes to consolidate his position. In 1802 a plebiscite confirmed him as Consul for Life by an overwhelming majority. The Consulate endured until 1804, when Napoleon used a conspiracy against him to argue that France needed the security of the hereditary principle. The senate declared him emperor in May, a title confirmed in a subsequent plebiscite. (See also french revolution of 1789) ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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