[Picture: Napoléon Bonaparte in the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire]
The new régime met with opposition from remaining Jacobins and the royalists. The army suppressed riots and counter-revolutionary activities. In this way the army and its successful general, Napoleon Bonaparte eventually gained much power.
The coup was first prepared not by Bonaparte, but by the Abbé Sieyès, then one of the five Directors, attempting to head off a return to Jacobinism. Dazzled by Bonaparte's victories in the East, the public ignored the impending calamitous ending of the Egyptian expedition, and received Bonaparte with an ardour which convinced Sieyès he had found the general indispensable to his coup—however, beginning with his return from Egypt in September 1799, Bonaparte began a coup within the coup, ultimately gaining power for himself rather than Sieyès.
Using troops conveniently arrayed around Paris, the plan was, first, to persuade the Directors to resign, then, second, persuade the two Councils (the upper and lower houses of the legislature) to appoint a pliant commission to draw a new constitution.
On the morning of 18 Brumaire, members of the Council of Elders sympathetic to the coup warned their colleagues of a Jacobin conspiracy and persuaded them to remove to Saint-Cloud, west of Paris; General Bonaparte was charged with the safety of the two Councils. Later that morning Sieyès and Roger Ducos resigned as Directors; Talleyrand persuaded Barras to do the same.
By the following day, the deputies had, for the most part, realized that they were facing an attempted coup rather than being protected from a Jacobin rebellion. Faced with their recalcitrance, Bonaparte stormed into the chambers accompanied by a small escort of grenadiers. While perhaps unplanned, this proved to be the coup within the coup: from this point, this was a military affair.
Bonaparte met with heckling as he addressed the Council of Ancients with such "home truths" as, "the Republic has no government" and, most likely, "the Revolution is over." One deputy called out, "And the Constitution?" Bonaparte replied, referring to earlier parliamentary coups, "The Constitution! You yourselves have destroyed it. You violated it on 18 Fructidor; you violated it on 22 Floreal; you violated it on 30 Prairial. It no longer has the respect of anyone."
Bonaparte withdrew to the Orangerie, where the Council of Five Hundred was meeting. Upon entering, Napoleon was first jostled, and then outright assaulted. A motion was raised in the Council of Five Hundred to declare Napoleon Bonaparte an outlaw. At this point, Lucien Bonaparte apparently slipped out of the chamber and told the soldiers guarding the parliament that the majority of the Five Hundred were being terrorised by a group of deputies brandishing daggers.
Lucien ordered the troops to expel the violent deputies from the chamber. Grenadiers under the command of General Murat marched into the Orangerie and dispersed the Council. This was, effectively the end of the Directory.