The French Directory was the last political experiment to provide the French Republic with a stable government. It was established by the French Constitution of 1795 framed by the National Convention. The executive authority was vested in a Board of Five Directors, commonly known as the Directory.
But the new Government suffered both from weakness and inefficiency. The Directors were men of mediocre talents. Also, they were corrupt and looked after their personal gains only forgetting the welfare of the State. Under weak and corrupt government plots and intrigues created confusion and there was again a financial crisis. To make matters worse, France was threatened by external aggressions. Thus, the internal disorder and external danger paved the way for the rise of a military dictator.
Napoleon Bonaparte was at this time in Egypt. He had already earned a name and fame by his Italian expedition. His Egyptian campaigns were not so successful, as he was defeated in the naval battle of the Nile by the English Admiral Nelson. But he kept himself informed about the happenings in France. He heard about the unpopularity of the French Directory which was discredited by its failure in both internal and external affairs.
In 1799 he slipped away from Egypt eluding the British warships and returned to France in triumphant procession. When he found that the public opinion was in favor of him, the French people were looking for a savior; he intrigued with Sieyes, one of the Directors, who overthrew the Directory by a military coup and seized power by force. He established a new government known as the Consulate with himself as the First Consul (1799). Thus the French Directory came to an end and a military dictator in the person of Napoleon Bonaparte appeared on the French political scene.
History of Modern World
(15th Century to World War II)
By: BARBARA F.Jala
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