Helvetic Republic


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Helvetic Republic

(hĕlvē`tĭk), 1798–1803, Swiss state established under French auspices. In Sept., 1797, several exiled Swiss leaders in France (notably Frédéric César de La HarpeLa Harpe, Frédéric César de
, 1754–1838, Swiss statesman. He went (1782) to St. Petersburg, Russia, where he became the tutor of the future Czar Alexander I, in whom he attempted to instill liberal and democratic ideals.
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) formally urged the French Revolutionary government (the Directory) to help in liberating the subject districts of SwitzerlandSwitzerland
, Fr. Suisse, Ger. Schweiz, Ital. Svizzera, officially Swiss Confederation, federal republic (2005 est. pop. 7,489,000), 15,941 sq mi (41,287 sq km), central Europe. It borders on France in the west and southwest, with the Jura Mts.
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 and in overthrowing the aristocratic cantonal governments. The Directory, eager to secure the Alpine passes as well as the treasury of BernBern
or Berne
, canton (1990 pop. 937,365), 2,658 sq mi (6,883 sq km), W central Switzerland. The second most populous and second largest canton of the country, Bern comprises three sections—the Bernese Alps, or Oberland [Ger.
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, ordered the invasion of Switzerland (Jan., 1798); resistance was brief. A unified state, the Helvetic Republic, was set up. Lack of funds and constant French political and military intervention proved troublesome; finally, the French Revolutionary Wars shifted (1799) into Switzerland. An Austrian army defeated the French at Zürich (June), but Austro-Russian discord led to the victory (Sept.), again at Zürich, of André Masséna over a Russian army under General Korsakov. General Suvorov, who arrived from Italy to aid Korsakov, was obliged to retreat to Lindau in Germany. The survival of the Helvetic Republic until 1803 was largely due to the presence of French troops, since the Swiss were hostile to centralization. In Feb., 1803, Napoleon, imposing the Act of Mediation, established a confederation of 19 cantons, with a federal diet subservient to France.
References in periodicals archive ?
Summary: The Helvetic Republic, aka Switzerland, is historically a zebra-less zone.
The remaining cantons joined after the Napoleonic re-organisation of the Helvetic republic in 1803, and the aftermath of 1815.
But instead of resulting in a brave new Helvetic Republic, Napoleon's constitution prompted the divided Swiss to come together -- liberal and conservative, Catholic and Protestant -- in unanimous rejection of his imposed new order.
Ticino can hardly be said to have prospered during this period and languished in subservient relative obscurity until the French imposition of the Helvetic Republic in 1798, after which the inhabitants opted to remain in Switzerland by becoming a canton in 1803.