Coronation of Napoleon as Emperor (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The coronation of Napoleon as emperor indicates a symbolic break with the forces of revolution that brought him to power and visibly confirms his absolute control of France.
Summary of Event
The coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor of the French on December 2, 1804, marked the official beginning of the First Empire; however, the actual establishment of the regime dated from the coup d’état of 18-19 Brumaire in the Year VIII (November 9-10, 1799), when a conspiracy, which included Napoleon and Lucien Bonaparte, the Abbé Sieyès, Talleyrand, and a number of others, overthrew the Directory. Within a month, the Consulate was well established. Under the Constitution of the Year VIII, General Bonaparte was named First Consul and, in effect, given dictatorial powers for ten years.
This constitution, originally a complicated system of checks and balances, was the work of the political theorist Sieyès. It was altered by Bonaparte to concentrate far-reaching powers in the office of First Consul, while the trappings of republicanism were maintained. After some disagreements and political maneuvering, Sieyès and his fellow consul, Roger-Ducos, retired to the senate and were replaced by Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès and Charles François Lebrun as Second and Third Consuls with very limited responsibilities. Bonaparte made much of the fact that the new constitution restored...
(The entire section is 1507 words.)
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