chapter  4
Paradise Regained: Thermidor to Fructidor, 1794-1797
Pages 23

The fall of Robespierre on 9 thermidor brought a rapid end to the terror and a violent reaction against both its personnel and policies. The structures of the revolutionary government and the powers of the Committee of Public Safety were rapidly diluted, and before the end of the year, the Paris J acobin club had been forced to close its doors, with several provincial clubs soon following suit. Bands ofjeunesse doree, enjoying the open collusion ofleading politicians, physically eliminated J acobin and sans-culotte influence from the streets of Paris and of several provincial cities, and in the spring of 1795 two sans-culotte risings were crushed in the capital, bringing an end to the street power of popular radicalism. By the summer of 1795 the constitution of 1793 had been replaced by the more moderate constitution of Year III, which restored political predominance to the propertied classes and introduced the novelty of a bicameral legislature, discussed and rejected in September 1789. The Directory was officially inaugurated at the beginning of brumaire Year IV, and by then the revolution appeared to have returned to the path of moderate constitutional politics. Yet it was not to be, for the scars of five years of revolution went too deep. Instead, over the next four years, the Directory proved unable to find an adequate political consensus and progressively slid towards arbitrary government. Attacked from the outset by the radical left . and counter-revolutionary right, wooed by Jacobins and the moderate left, as well as by constitutional monarchists, buffeted and bankrupted by the effects of the continuing European war, it became increasingly beleaguered.