Coup of 18 fructidor an V

The Coup of 18 fructidor an V was a seizure of power under the Directory, on 4 September 1797.

The three Directors, Barras, Rewbell and La Révellière-Lépeaux, staged a coup d'État supported by the military against the moderates and the royalists who had a majority in the two chambers, the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients. Though actual royalists accounted for a small minority of the chambers, the Directors accused the entire body of plotting against the works of the Revolution. Hoche, then in command of the Army of Sambre-et-Meuse, visited Paris and sent troops, while Bonaparte sent General Augereau. Deputies were exiled to Cayenne, the chambers were purged, and elections were partly canceled, marking a rise of the power of the executive at the expense of that of the legislative.

Some of the deputies, notably including Barthélemy,Pichegru, Barbé-Marbois and Laffon de Ladebat were deported to Cayenne [1]. Carnot made good his escape. The two vacant places in the Directory were filled by Merlin de Douai and Nicolas-Louis François de Neufchâteau. Then the government frankly returned to Jacobin methods. The law against the relatives of émigrés was reenacted, and military tribunals were established to condemn émigrés who should return to France.

The nonjuring priests were again persecuted. Many hundreds were either sent to Cayenne or imprisoned in the hulks of Ré and Oléron. La Révellière Lépeaux seized the opportunity to propagate his religion. Many churches were turned into Theophilanthropic temples. The government strained its power to secure the recognition of the décadi as the day of public worship and the non-observance of Sunday. Liberty of the press ceased. Newspapers were confiscated and journalists were deported wholesale. It was proposed to banish from France all members of the old noblesse. Although the proposal was dropped, they were all declared to be foreigners and were forced to obtain naturalisation if they would enjoy the rights of other citizens. A formal bankruptcy of the state, the cancelling of two-thirds of the interest on the public debt, crowned the misgovernment of this disastrous time.