13th Vendémiaire An IV (look here to see how the French Revolutionists counted time) or October 5 1795 was known as the Day of the Sections, an important day in Napoleon Bonaparte’s life.
Before Oct 5, Napoleon’s future did not look promising. He’d been imprisoned for a while after the coup d’état of 9 Thermidor, because he was a friend of Robespierre’s brother. After that he was unemployed and was thinking of leaving France.
But then rich Parisian royalists try to take over the National Convention by force and the Convention hires Compte de Barras to defend it. Barras enlists Napoleon’s help. (He also passes on his mistress to Napoleon; the mistress eventually became his Empress Josephine). Napoleon drives the mob away with a “whiff of grapeshot,” killing about 200 (or 1400, as another site said) and successfully saving the Palace of the Tuileries.
Five years after 13th Vendémiaire An IV, Napoleon launches his own coup d’etat and makes himself First Consul of France.
I’m used to thinking of Napoleon as “the enemy,” but he really did a bunch of great things, besides winning battles:
1. Established the Code of Napoleon
2. Established a public school system
3. Reconciled with the Catholic Church
4. Created the Bank of France, stabilizing the currency
5. Restored the Gregorian Calendar and did away with the Revolutionists’ way of counting time
What’s your opinion of Napoleon?