Lucien Bonaparte

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Lucien Bonaparte, Prince Français, 1st Prince of Canino and Musignano (21 May 1775 – 29 June 1840), born Luciano Buonaparte, was the third surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and his wife Letizia Ramolino.

Lucien was a younger brother of Joseph and Napoleon Bonaparte, and an older brother of Elisa, Louis, Pauline, Caroline and Jérôme Bonaparte. Lucien held genuinely revolutionary views, which led to an often abrasive relationship with his brother Napoleon, who seized control of the French government in 1799, when Lucien was 24.[1]

Contents

Revolutionary activities

Born in Ajaccio, Corsica, and educated in mainland France, Lucien returned to Corsica at the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789 and became an outspoken speaker in the Jacobin Club at Ajaccio, where he renamed himself "Brutus". An ally of Maximilien Robespierre during the Reign of Terror, he was briefly imprisoned (at Aix-en-Provence) after the coup of 9 Thermidor.

As president of the Council of Five Hundred — which he removed to the suburban security of Saint-Cloud — Lucien Bonaparte's combination of bravado and disinformation was crucial to the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire (date based on the French Revolutionary Calendar) in which General Bonaparte overthrew the government of the Directory to replace it by the Consulate. Lucien mounted a horse and galvanized the grenadiers by pointing a sword at his brother and swearing to run him through if he ever betrayed the principles of Liberté, égalité, fraternité. The following day Lucien arranged for Napoleon's formal election as First Consul.

Napoleon made him Minister of the Interior under the Consulate, which enabled Lucien to falsify the results of the plebiscite but which brought him into competition with Joseph Fouché, the chief of police, who showed Napoleon a subversive pamphlet that was probably written by Lucien, and effected a breach between the brothers. Lucien was sent as ambassador to the court of Charles IV of Spain, (November, 1800), where his diplomatic talents won over the Bourbon royal family and, perhaps as importantly, the minister Manuel de Godoy.[2]

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