ABSTRACT

It might have proved fatal to the Directory to allow the royalists to exploit fully their electoral successes. Confronted by this threat, the Directory split: two directors accepted the electoral results, but three others did not. Since the Directory had no constitutional authority to dissolve the legislature, some of its members decided upon a coup. eir resolve was stiened by several generals, notably Bonaparte, who sent an aide, Augereau. On the night of 17 Fructidor Year V, his troops occupied the legislative chambers and arrested the leading Clichyens. Several, including Pichegru, were deported. Carnot, one of the directors who had been willing to compromise with the royalists, ed the country. Barthélémy was deported along with 53 deputies. With the co-operation of a rump of the councils, the Directory completely annulled elections in 49 departments and partially annulled others, resulting in the expulsion of 179 new deputies. Hundreds of departmental administrators and judges were purged and over 30 royalist newspapers were closed. e coup was justied as having saved the Republic from the collusion of royalists with a foreign enemy. However, by violating the Constitution, the coup of 18 Fructidor put an end to the liberal experience attempted by the ermidorians and thwarted any possibility of compromise between the Republic and the Right.4