Fouché, Joseph, duke of Otranto


Fouché, Joseph, duke of Otranto
(1759-1820)
   administrator, political figure
   Known as the founder of modern political espionage, Joseph Fouché was born in Pellerin, near Nantes. A student of the Oratorians in Paris, then professor at the oratory (although he never became a priest), Fouché in 1789 embraced the ideas of the revolution. Elected to the Convention (1792), he sat with the montagnard deputies and voted for the death of the king. Ordered to suppress the federalist insurrection in Lyon, he organized the terror there, earning the name "Assassin of Lyon." An intransigent and unscrupulous individual without any sense of loyalty, he was one of the planners of the events of 9 Thermidor Year II (July 27, 1794), which led to the overthrow of maximilien Robespierre. Nonetheless, he was excluded from the Thermidorian Convention and arrested, but was later pardoned. Thanks to paul barras, Fouché was named minister of police in 1799 (30 Prairial Year VII), then joined the service of Napoléon Bonaparte (see napoléon i) (after waiting to see the outcome of the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire), using the system of agents and spies that he had created. Supported in his work by charles Maurice de talleyrand, he was made duke of Otranto (1809) and governor of the Illyrian Provinces. Minister of police during the hundred days, he was a member of the provisional government after waterloo, and helped to pave the way for the return of the Bourbons. He then again briefly served as minister of police and later ambassador to saxony (1815), but he was considered a regicide under the Law of 1816 and was exiled. He settled in Prague, then in Linz, before becoming an Austrian citizen and retiring to Trieste.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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