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Directory,group of five men who held the executive power in France according to the constitution of the year III (1795) of the French RevolutionFrench Revolution,
political upheaval of world importance in France that began in 1789. Origins of the Revolution
Historians disagree in evaluating the factors that brought about the Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. . They were chosen by the new legislature, by the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients; each year one director, chosen by lot, was to be replaced. The Directory was balanced by two representative assemblies elected indirectly by property holders. Governing a nearly bankrupt nation, the Directory had a stormy history. Politically, it walked a narrow course between Jacobins on the left and royalists on the right. During its history, the Directory instituted positive monetary reforms, which helped revive trade and agriculture, and provided the basis for Napoleon's restoration of order. But full recovery from the Revolution was not possible. The Directory not only faced a series of political crises, but was riddled with inefficiency and corruption. It suppressed the conspiracies of "Gracchus" BabeufBabeuf, François Noël
, 1760–97, French revolutionary, organizer of a communist uprising against the Directory. Of petty bourgeois origin, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the French Revolution.
..... Click the link for more information. on the left and royalist uprisings on the right and later annulled some results in the elections of 1797 and 1798. Its increasingly repressive measures resulted in political isolation and bankruptcy. In the coup of 18 FructidorFructidor
, 12th month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 18 Fructidor (Sept. 4, 1797), in which General Augereau was a key figure, annulled the previous elections and removed Lazare Carnot and François de Barthélemy from the Directory.
..... Click the link for more information. (Sept. 4, 1797), the more conservative directors, Lazare CarnotCarnot, Lazare Nicolas Marguerite
, 1753–1823, French revolutionary, known as the organizer of victory for his role in the French Revolutionary Wars. A military engineer by training, Carnot became the military genius of the Revolution and was chiefly responsible for the
..... Click the link for more information. and François de BarthélemyBarthélemy, François, marquis de,
1747?–1830, French statesman. While minister to Switzerland, he negotiated the Treaties of Basel (1795), which took Prussia and Spain out of the French Revolutionary Wars.
..... Click the link for more information. were ousted, and measures against the church and émigrés were revived. In addition, the Directory lost control of foreign policy to the generals in the field, especially Napoleon Bonaparte. Some of Napoleon's actions, such as negotiating the Treaty of Compo Formio and the Egyptian expedition, may have led to the formation of the Second Coalition against France. Discontent with the Directory rose to a high pitch with the military reverses of 1799 in which the republics from Holland to S Italy fell to the combined assault of Russian, Austrian, and British forces. Despite the fact that an invasion of France was prevented and these forces were defeated before Napoleon's return, the Abbé SieyèsSieyès, Emmanuel Joseph
, 1748–1836, French revolutionary and statesman. He was a clergyman before the Revolution and was known as Abbé Sieyès.
..... Click the link for more information. , elected a director in May, 1799, secretly prepared the coup of 18 BrumaireBrumaire
, second month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 18 (actually 18–19) Brumaire (Nov. 9–10, 1799), engineered chiefly by Sieyès, overthrew the Directory and established the Consulate under Napoleon.
..... Click the link for more information. (Nov. 9, 1799), which put Bonaparte in power, replacing the Directory with the ConsulateConsulate,
1799–1804, in French history, form of government established after the coup of 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9–10, 1799), which ended the Directory. Three consuls were appointed to rule France—Napoleon Bonaparte (see Napoleon I), Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès,
..... Click the link for more information. .
See M. Lyons, France under the Directory (1975).
(more precisely, Executive Directory), the government of the French Republic, which existed from Nov. 4, 1795, to Nov. 10, 1799. The Directory consisted of five members (directors) elected by the Council of the 500 and the Council of Elders. The government of the Directory expressed the interests of the big bourgeoisie. Its internal policy was directed against the revolutionary movement, and its external policy bore an expansionist character. The increase in the activity of the royalists prompted the Directory to carry out the coup d’etat of 18 Fructidor (Sept. 4, 1797), as a result of which many monarchist supporters were excluded from the Council of the 500 and the Council of the Elders and measures were taken to prevent the return of émigré noblemen to France and to combat the counterrevolutionary agitation of the priests who would not swear allegiance to the new government.
New elections to the Council of the 500 and the Council of Elders in April 1798 resulted in the victory of the republican-democrats, with the election of a significant number of Jacobins. After this, the Directory swung to the right, promulgating the decree of 22 Floreal (May 11, 1798) annulling the election of the democratic deputies. In the summer of 1799 the Directory once again swung to the left. The open reactionaries were removed from the Directory on 30 Prairial (June 18, 1799), and a progressive tax was levied on the big bourgeoisie. The “swing policy,” as it was defined by contemporaries, reflected the internal weakness of the Directory regime and provoked discontent among the big bourgeoisie, who dreamed of a firm authority that would dependably protect its ruling position in the country. The defeats of the French army in 1799 further undermined the position of the Directory. The coup d’etat of 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9, 1799), carried out by Napoleon Bonaparte with the support of part of the army and the big financiers, put an end to the Directory’s existence and led to the establishment of a military-bourgeois dictatorship.
REFERENCESSciout, L. Le Directoire, vols. 1-4. Paris, 1895-97.
Guyot, R. Le Directoire et la paix de l’Europe, des traités de Bâle á la deuxième coalition (1795-1799). Paris, 1911.
Soboul, A. Le Directoire et le Consulat (1795-1804). Paris, 1967.
A. I. MOLOK
(Council of Five), a board of five ministers of the bourgeois Provisional Government in Russia. The Directory consisted of the minister-chairman, A. F. Kerensky; the minister of foreign affairs, M. I. Tereshchenko; the minister of war, A. I. Verkhovskii; the minister of the navy, D. N. Verderevskii; and the minister of posts and telegraph, A. M. Nikitin. It was formed by the decree of the Provisional Government of Sept. 1 (14), 1917. The Directory was created in order to find a way out of the acute government crisis that had arisen with the mutiny of L. Q. Kornilov and the fall of the second coalition of the Provisional Government. The Directory was entrusted with the “administration of the affairs of state until the formation of a cabinet.” It served as an instrument of Bonapartist policy and of the consolidation of the personal power of Kerensky. With the formation of the third coalition government on September 25 (October 8), the Directory ceased to exist.
directory(1) A simulated file folder on disk. "Directory" was first used in the Unix and DOS environments. Apple introduced "folder" for the same structure on the Macintosh, and Windows followed. See folder.
(2) A database of users and devices in a network. See network directory and metadirectory.
(3) A database of Web sites organized by subject that is used by the search engines. Yahoo was a directory site in its early days, but then added search bots to automatically index pages as the Web grew too large to manually index. Google uses information from the Open Directory Project for its directory site (http://directory.google.com). See Open Directory Project, Web search engines, metasearch sites and Yahoo.