What makes the government of the Directory a return to a moderate, or "bourgeois" revolution

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The Directory was the political response to the Reign of Terror.  The leaders of the Directory understood that the Jacobin rule was an absolute disaster.  The lawlessness and sense of disarray that took place within the Reign of Terror necessitated an intense change. The Directory responds to this condition in the world. Thus, it defines itself in strict opposition to what the Reign of Terror represented.

Leaders of the Directory believed that the Reign of Terror and Jacobin rule was a form of government in need of dire change.  "Reforming the entire system of government" became the highest concern.  The Directory believed that a more moderate form of government was needed as response to the excessive lawlessness intrinsic to the Reign of Terror.  The establishment of a bicameral legislation represents a more moderate form of government.  It was designed to reduce the amount of mob rule that had become such an integral part to the Reign of Terror.  The members of the legislature were wealthy landowners.  It had become clear that the Directory saw that moving towards a more "traditional" form of government was the appropriate response to what had emerged in terms of the Reign of Terror.

This movement was more moderate.  It reflected a government that distinctly kept control as one of its primary concerns.  Given the lack of control in the Jacobin rule, the Director was much more moderate, conservative by comparison.  At the same time, given how the legislators who had an active role in the Directory were land owners, and thus possessed wealth, one sees how the bourgeois element was present.  From a system where there was so much challenge to those in the position of power, the Directory marked a return to clearly establishing power structures in the hands of the powerful.  It is here in which the government of the Directory was a more moderate and "bourgeois" revolution.

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