embrace their former faith and had often experienced the political divisive-ness of the Revolution more deeply. These divisions hindered the renewal of worship in Marseille, Montauban, Caen, and Bordeaux and its surrounding area. Regular practice did not begin again in Marseille until 1801 and until as late as 1805 in Toulouse.
When Napoleon overthrew the Directory with the coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), the religious situation in France remained deeply problematic. Although Catholics and Protestants, laity and clergy, had displayed persistence and imagination in reviving their faith, most believers longed for a return to normalcy - in terms of both public practice and a clarified legal stature for their religions.
The Napoleonic Era: The Concordat and its impact
As Napoleon sought to consolidate his power in the early years of the Consulate, he recognized the urgent need to achieve a new religious settlement. Dissident clergy continued to re-enter the country; armed resistance persisted in the ever troublesome Vendee. The First Consul hoped to defuse the potent linkbetween Catholicism and royalism and, more generally, he wanted to garner popular support by regularizing the religious situation. While not spiritually inclined, Napoleon believed that religion was useful to instil moral behaviour and social stability. Ever the pragmatist, Napoleon later claimed that he aimed 'to govern as the majority desires to be governed. That, I believe, is the best way to recognize popular sovereignty. By turning Catholic I ended the war in the Vendee, by becoming a Moslem I established myself in Egypt... If I governed a people ofJews, I would rebuild the temple of Solomon.'6 Bonaparte knew that an accord with Rome would make it easier for him to assimilate newly conquered Catholic areas, such as Belgium or northern Italy. Finally, he also sought to put the church under state control. If Napoleon had good reasons for resolving France's religious dilemmas, the new pope, Pius VII, was also anxious to end the religious schism within the French church and to restore public worship. Agreement between representatives of pope and Consul did not come easily however. Only after twenty-one drafts and eight months of discussion in 1800-1801 did a hard-won compromise emerge.
This agreement, promulgated in churches across France on Easter Sunday 1802, was known as the Concordat. It granted Catholics the full freedom to public worship and put an end to the Directory's experiment with separating church and state. But the Concordat did not re-create the confessional state of the ancien regime. In this post-revolutionary France that accorded legal status
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