Barras, Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de

Barras, Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de

(pōl fräNswä` zhäN nēkōlä`, vēkôNt` də bärä`), 1755–1829, French revolutionary. Although of a noble family, he joined the JacobinsJacobins
, political club of the French Revolution. Formed in 1789 by the Breton deputies to the States-General, it was reconstituted as the Society of Friends of the Constitution after the revolutionary National Assembly moved (Oct., 1789) to Paris.
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 in the Revolution and was a member of the Convention. He participated in the reprisals against counterrevolutionaries in Toulon after the recapture of the city from the British (1793). Having turned against the revolutionary dictator Maximilien RobespierreRobespierre, Maximilien Marie Isidore
, 1758–94, one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. Early Life

A poor youth, he was enabled to study law in Paris through a scholarship.
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, Barras was a leader of the coup against him on 9 ThermidorThermidor
, 11th month of the French Revolutionary calendar. The coup of 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) marked the downfall of Robespierre and the end of the Reign of Terror.
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 (July 27, 1794). As commander of Paris, he suppressed a royalist uprising on 13 VendémiaireVendémiaire
, first month of the French Revolutionary calendar. 13 Vendémiaire of the year iv (Oct. 5, 1795) was the day when Napoleon Bonaparte, until then an obscure general, won fame by putting down a serious insurrection.
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 (Oct. 5, 1795) by turning the troops over to a young officer, Napoleon Bonaparte. Subsequently, Barras became (1795) a member of the DirectoryDirectory,
group of five men who held the executive power in France according to the constitution of the year III (1795) of the French Revolution. They were chosen by the new legislature, by the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients; each year one director, chosen
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. He was notorious for his corruption and ostentation. During Napoleon's 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.
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 (Nov. 9, 1799), Barras consented to resign from the Directory, thus contributing to Napoleon's success. After the coup, he lost prominence.
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