Meaning of DIRECTORY in English


French Directoire, the French Revolutionary government set up by the Constitution of the Year III, which lasted four years, from November 1795 to November 1799. It included a bicameral legislature known as the Corps Lgislatif. The lower house, or Council of Five Hundred (Conseil de Cinq-Cents), consisted of 500 delegates, 30 years of age or over, who proposed legislation; the Council of Ancients (Conseil des Anciens), consisted of 250 delegates, 40 years of age or over, who held the power to accept or veto the proposed legislation. The Ancients also picked the executivethe five Directors (Directeurs)from lists drawn up by the Five Hundred. A Director had to be at least 40 years old and to have formerly served as a deputy or minister; a new one was chosen each year, on rotation. The Directors chose governmental ministers, ambassadors, army generals, tax collectors, and other officials. However, though nominally inheriting many of the centralized powers of the former Committee of Public Safety (see Public Safety, Committee of), they had no funds to finance their projects or courts to enforce their will. The Directory was a fatal experiment in weak executive powers; it was created in reaction to the puritanical dictatorship that had existed under the Reign of Terror of 179394, and it would end up yielding to the more disciplined dictatorship of Napoleon Bonaparte. The Directory was perhaps the most corrupt regime that France has ever known. Its policies were aimed, first, at protecting and increasing the profits of those in political and economic power and, second, at preventing the return of the Bourbons or the establishment of any other regime that might endanger those in power by such means as the redistribution of national property. The period was also noted for extravagant fashions in dress, excesses in entertainment, and a loose morality.

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