Early expedition and Rise of Directory

Early expedition of Napoleon

He gain trust and loyalty of the Directory after protecting them from the royalist insurgency. His first ever major expedition was in Italy. In 1796, he began a military campaign against the Austrians and their Italian allies, scoring decisive victories and becoming a national hero.

Egypt’s campaign

  • March towards Egypt was for a purpose to defeat English powers in the East and control the trade routes to Asia.
  • In 1798 Napoleon began military campaign to Egypt. France won the Battle of Pyramids but severely lost to British forces in Battle of Nile.
  • He later tried to invade Syria but failed.

Fall of Directory

  • Internal reasons: there was never ending feud among the directors who faced stiff criticism from the non-cooperative legislature consisting Royalist and extremists. Then there were series of coup against the Directors.
  • External factors: Switzerland was invaded and its polity was changed, Pope was humiliated and republic was established in Rome, Geneva and Piedmont were captured. This annoyed many powers in Europe and led to the formation of coalition including England, Austria and Russia.
  • France was driven out of Germany by the coalition.
  • Seeing advantage in this crisis, Abbe Sieyes and Napoleon organised a coup d’etat (a coup from top or self-coup) and overthrew Directory (1799). A provisional Consulate (1799-1804) was appointed to draw up a counsellor constitution and to carry on the government.

New Constitution of France under Napoleon


  • Real power in the hand of three counsel (one being the First counsel) elected by the Senate for 10 years.
  • First counsel will take all decision while other two would be for consultative process.
  • Council of State would draft bill, Tribunate would discuss a bill and Legislative body would pass it.
  • Senate consisting of 60 members could accept or reject measures of legislative body. Senate and Council of State to be nominated by the First Counsel.

Foreign Campaign under Consulate

  • Napoleon defeated Austria and got back Italian territories (1800)
  • France was unable to defeat naval might of Britain so it came to an agreement called Peace of Amiens (1802). Under this treaty, England restored all major conquests from France. France agreed to evacuate Naples and the Papal States and to restore Egypt to the Sultan of Turkey.

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