Barras, Paul François Jean Nicolas, vicomte de (pōl fräNswäˈ zhäN nēkōläˈ, vēkôNtˈ də bäräˈ) [key], 1755–1829, French revolutionary. Although of a noble family, he joined the Jacobins 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 Robespierre, Barras was a leader of the coup against him on 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794). As commander of Paris, he suppressed a royalist uprising on 13 Vendémiaire (Oct. 5, 1795) by turning the troops over to a young officer, Napoleon Bonaparte. Subsequently, Barras became (1795) a member of the Directory. He was notorious for his corruption and ostentation. During Napoleon's coup of 18 Brumaire (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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