18 Brumaire

8 posts / 0 new
Last post
Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
May 7 2011 16:12
18 Brumaire
w.pedia wrote:
The coup of 18 Brumaire (often simply 18 Brumaire or Brumaire) was the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.

What is the real (materialist) history of this act, its run-up and aftermath?

Does anybody have comments or text suggestions?

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
May 8 2011 17:21

I hear some beardy German wrote an analysis of this a while ago.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire

(was that too obvious?)

Tojiah's picture
Tojiah
Offline
Joined: 2-10-06
May 8 2011 17:37

Marx's analysis was of Louis Napoleon's rise to power, AKA Napoleon III. The farce, not the tragedy.

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
May 8 2011 17:47

In name of everyone I express the shame we feel about our ignorance of Napoleon Bonaparte's power grab.

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
May 9 2011 01:09

Haha, oops. Sorry about that. God, I've even read the thing. Maybe I'll post again when I'm not drunk and have read the OP properly. (bad excuses, I know)

By way of apology, here's Mark Steel's very funny (and sort of materialist) biography of Napolean (the one this thread is actually about!): http://www.marksteelinfo.com/audiovideo/audio/NapoleonBonaparte.mp3

Noa Rodman's picture
Noa Rodman
Offline
Joined: 4-11-09
May 10 2011 19:19
Mark Steel and every other smartarse wrote:
Napoleon was actually abnormally tall for a man during his time period. It's a historical inaccuracy that he was short

Most on topic I found so far is Histoire du dix-huit Brumaire et de Buonaparte (1814) by a monarchist named Jean Pierre Gallais.

Boris Badenov
Offline
Joined: 25-08-08
May 10 2011 20:11
Noa Rodman wrote:
w.pedia wrote:
The coup of 18 Brumaire (often simply 18 Brumaire or Brumaire) was the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate. This occurred on 9 November 1799, which was 18 Brumaire, Year VIII under the French Republican Calendar.

What is the real (materialist) history of this act, its run-up and aftermath?

Does anybody have comments or text suggestions?

Sieyes was already planning a coup of his own. Napoleon, who upon his return to France received a rather cold welcome from the elites (save for Sieyes and Barras), I think, understood that it was both necessary and possible to take advantage of the Directory's politicking and sectarianism and "take over" the executive. After intimidating the Council of the 500 and the Elders into submission (his grenadiers stormed the Tuileries, hilariously driving some deputies to leap out the window), the whole thing was pretty much over. The revolution was proclaimed "over", national unity would be the order of the day. Bourgeois politicians of all stripes welcomed the coup. Conservative republicans saw him as a necessary strongman that would finally restore order, surviving Jacobins saw him as a pragmatic safeguard against the restoration of the monarchy, and the monarchists themselves (despite that whole "whiff of grapeshot" business) thought that his rule would perhaps at some point in the future lead to a reconciliation with the Bourbons. Everyone left to the Jacobins had either perished in the Terror or was in prison, so obviously there was no principled opposition of any kind, politically.
The masses were also supportive of the coup (it wasn't just out of sheer cockiness that Napoleon decided so often to turn to plebiscites), if only because of the widespread dislike of the Directory and its ultra-corrupt bourgeoiscracy. Caesarism must've seemed entirely more palatable than the charade of the pseudo-Roman "republic", and it was certainly preferable to the chaos of the Terror.
As in 1852, the working classes had no desire to uphold a republic that had done nothing but bleed them to death, figuratively and literally.

Some titles I'd recommend are:

Georges Lefebvre, The Directory (has a whole chapter on the 18 Brum.)
Felix Markham's monograph, Napoleon
Isser Woloch, Napoleon and his Collaborators: The Making of a Dictatorship

Valeriano Orobó...
Offline
Joined: 12-05-10
May 19 2011 22:43

Great summary. Didn't know Markham's neither Woloch's work.