Napoleon Comes to Power: Democracy and Dictatorship in Revolutionary France 1795-1804 (Past in Perspective Series)

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Malcom Crook

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This volume traces Napoleon's rise to power and also examines the events before and after the coup d'??tat of 1799. Recent research has suggested that the Bonapartist dictatorship was by no means a foregone conclusion, the inevitable outcome of a corrupt and discredited revolutionary regime. There is now greater awareness of the difficulties faced by the Directory (as the constitutional system was called after 1795) in steering a middle course between royalism and jacobinism and also a greater recognition of its achievements.
By the time that Napoleon crowned himself Emperor in 1804, the Revolution was effectively over. An ingenious balance had been struck between democracy and authority, between hierarchy and equality, in short between the old order and the new, a synthesis which disarmed radicals and attracted conservatives. This hybrid of revolution and tradition only lasted for a further decade in France, but it exerted a profound influence over nineteenth-century political culture. The Napoleonic episode thus repays careful attention at a deeper level than the personal and militaryheroics that usually predominate, as this study will demonstrate.????


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