What government was created by the Constitution of 1795?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The Constitution of 1795, or Year III in the French revolutionary calendar, was a response to the excesses of the Reign of Terror in the preceding years. Essentially, the government that it created was the Directory, a five-man executive branch that ruled the country along with a bicameral Assembly. The purpose of establishing the Directory, as well as the bicameral legislature, was to reduce the possibility that radicals might seize control. Both branches of government, it was thought, would be unable to act swiftly and rashly in response to popular will. In short, the constitution, while still providing for basic civil liberties, sought to limit democratic the reforms of the Constitution of 1793. The requirements for voting were increased, and certain passages forbade people from engaging in mass political activity. The main thrust of the Constitution was to protect private property, a liberal departure from the more radical politics of the previous two years. The Directory proved to be an ineffective and corrupt government, and was loathed by radicals, who viewed it as reactionary, and conservatives, who were disappointed that it did not go far enough in rolling back the reforms of the Revolution. Napoleon himself rose to prominence due to his role in breaking up a royalist riot against the Directory.


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