The Convention drew up a new constitution, setting up the Directory and a bicameral legislature. The constitution went into effect after the royalist insurrection of Vendémiaire (Oct., 1795) had been put down by armed force. The rule of the Directory was marked by corruption, financial difficulties, political purges, and a fateful dependence on the army to maintain control. Conflict among the five directors led to the coup of 18 Fructidor (Sept. 4, 1797).
Discontent with Directory rule was increased by military reverses. In 1799 Napoleon Bonaparte, the hero of the Italian campaign, returned from his Egyptian expedition and, with the support of the army and several government members, overthrew the Directory on 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9) and established the Consulate. Until the Restoration of the Bourbons (1814), Napoleon (see Napoleon I) ruled France.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.