Napoleon returned to Paris in 5 December 1797 as the conquering hero and the dominant force in government. Upon his return, handed the government the Treaty of Campro-Formio signed by the Austrians, bringing peace to the European Continent. And within just one and one-half years, he had taken the dispirited, tattered French solders, marched with them for hundreds of miles, and defeated the army of the Austrian Empire without ever losing a battle.
He built upon his image as an enlightened military leader with each increase in his power. And twenty days after returning from Italy on 25 December 1797, he was elected to the prestigious Institut de France. Napoleon has also become far more popular than any of the Directors and even as he disobeyed their orders and radically undermined their authority, they had no choice because the force of Napoleon's popularity was already apparent.