Front Page Titles (by Subject) 147.: On the 18th Brumaire (November 9, 1799) and the Consulate - Judgments on History and Historians
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
147.: On the 18th Brumaire (November 9, 1799) and the Consulate - Jacob Burckhardt, Judgments on History and Historians 
Judgments on History and Historians, ed. Alberto R. Coll (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1999).
About Liberty Fund:
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
On the 18th Brumaire (November 9, 1799) and the Consulate
Actual military rule had of necessity arisen from the preceding exertion of force, through terrorism at home and wars abroad.
Napoleon’s rule was at that time the least humiliating of all imaginable regimes. It really seemed as though France were rushing into the arms of a guardian angel. Napoleon had the great good fortune of soon being able to cap it with the Marengo campaign.
It is futile to shed any tears over the Constitution of the Year III and the persons involved. They are in part the residuum of 1793, artificially maintained against the continually onrushing genuine majority by the coups d’état of Vendémiaire, 1795, Fructidor, 1797, and Floréal, 1798.
And France wanted to be no longer dependent upon deliberating assemblies; it had had enough of them. People urgently desired concrete, permanent results of the Revolution rather than its prolongation by parliaments and clubs.
Even without any Brumaire the Constitution of the Year III was long since doomed and could have continued to lead a semblance of an existence only through the customary violent measures.
Property (i.e., the beginning world epoch of industry and communication) issues a call for order, and particularly the property arisen from national estates calls for a complete cessation of all further movement.
The great problem was the monarchy without the Bourbons. In the final analysis, even Orléans was too much of a Bourbon. From all Bourbons people at bottom feared less the restoration of the burdensome past than the necessity of adopting a false position toward them after all that had happened. They had been insulted too terribly. People might have been ashamed before them and thus had to continue being emotionally brutal toward them (Enghien).
Given the wretchedness of public affairs, there was absolutely no other possibility of forestalling the restoration of the house of Bourbon but by elevating a quite different ruler who soon would have to adopt royal prerogatives.