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Fouché, Joseph

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1763–1820), prominent jacobin during the french revolution of 1789 and Minister of Police (1799–1802, 1804–10, 1815). The son of a naval captain, Fouché worked as a teacher for the Oratorians at Paris and Nantes before his election to the convention in 1792. He voted for the execution of louis xvi and the establishment of a republic. As a representative-on-mission in the Nièvre and at Lyon, he distinguished himself by his ruthless pursuit of counter-revolutionaries and his radical measures of dechristianization . He was part of the conspiracy of thermidor that overthrew robespierre in 1794. After a spell as ambassador in the Cisalpine Republic he returned to France and was appointed minister of police in 1799, a position he continued to hold after the coup of brumaire with a short interlude between 1802 and 1804. Although napoleon i valued Fouché's talent for police work and made him Duke of Otranto in 1808, he mistrusted his minister's scheming opportunism. Following the emperor's fall, Fouché was briefly recalled as police chief by louis xviii , but remained hated by royalists. After a period as ambassador in Saxony he was exiled and died at Trieste. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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