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Directory; Failure and Achievements

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by

Joel Barber

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Directory; Failure and Achievements

Failure
THEY WERE UNABLE TO PRODUCE A STABLE GOVERNMENT.
Their failure to create stability was partly due to the constitution of Year 3, with its annual provisions for settling disputes between the executive and the legislature or change the constitution in a reasonable way.
In order to try and maintain a non-jacobin/royalist majority in the councils, the directors interfered with election results. As a result, people lost respect for it.
Increasing reliance on the army to settle political disputes. This started with the Thermidorians in the risings of the Prairial. The army made an army takeover a distinct possibility.
Finally, most of the people who would have normally supported the directory (owners of biens, wealthy notables) were alienated by its policies.
Directory
The Director was a body of five directors that held executive power in France following the National Convention. The Directors wanted to provide a stable and liberal government, which would maintain the gains of the revolution. Yet the problems they faced were daunting; the war appeared to be endless and it had to be paid for. The treasury was also empty, taxes were unpaid and the assignat had plummeted in value. Many did not expect the directory to last longer than any of the revolutionary regimes........

But.. it did last
Because... The directory was committed to restoring the rule of law.
Many of their key opponents were discredited. Few wanted a return either to the Jacobin terror of year 2 or to the absolute monarchy of the Ancien regime.
Public apathy - after six years of revolution and three years of war, revolutionary enthusiasm had all but disappeared.
The army supported the directory, as a royalist restoration would mean an end to the war. Army officers did not wish to be deprived of any opportunity provided by war for promotion or plunder.
Achievements of the directory
Directory; Failure and Achievements
It lasted for a while; whether due to apathy or not.
They managed to stabilize France.
It managed to successfully see off opposition such as Babeuf.
They managed to deal with the emigres by giving them two weeks to leave or they would be executed.
In 1798 four basic forms of direct taxation were established:
a tax on trading licenses, a land tax, a tax on movable property and a tax on doors and windows.
Ramel changed the method of colleting direct taxes. Commissioners appointed by the directors were to assess and levy taxes.
The impact of these policies was positive. Although very unpopular, the 'bankruptcy of the two-thirds' helped to stabilize french finances for a time. Ramel was able to balance the budget for the first time since the revolution began.

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