In 1799, Napoleon Bonaparte was confronted by
Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès – one of five
Directors constituting the executive branch of the French government—who sought his support for a coup d'état to overthrow the
Constitution of the Year III. The plot included Bonaparte's brother
Lucien, then serving as speaker of the
Council of Five Hundred,
Roger Ducos, another Director, and
Talleyrand. On 9 November 1799 (
18 Brumaire (VIII under the
French Republican Calendar)) and the following day, troops led by Bonaparte seized control . They dispersed the legislative councils, leaving a rump legislature to name Bonaparte, Sieyès and Ducos as provisional Consuls to administer the government. Although Sieyès expected to dominate the new regime, the
Consulate, he was outmaneuvered by Bonaparte, who drafted the
Constitution of the Year VIII and secured his own election as First Consul. He thus became the most powerful person in France, a power that was increased by the
Constitution of the Year X, which made him First Consul for life.
Battle of Marengo (14 June 1800) inaugurated the political idea that was to continue its development until Napoleon's Moscow campaign. Napoleon planned only to keep the
Duchy of Milan for France, setting aside Austria, and was thought to prepare a new campaign in the East. The
Peace of Amiens, which cost him control of
Egypt, was a temporary truce. He gradually extended his authority in Italy by annexing the
Piedmont and by acquiring
Parma, Tuscany and
Naples, and added this Italian territory to his
Cisalpine Republic. Then he laid siege to the Roman state and initiated the
Concordat of 1801 to control the material claims of the
pope. When he recognised his error of raising the authority of the pope from that of a figurehead, Napoleon produced the
Articles Organiques (1802) wanting, like
Charlemagne, to be the legal protector of the papacy. To conceal his plans before their actual execution, he aroused French colonial aspirations against Britain and the memory of the 1763
Treaty of Paris, exacerbating British envy of France, whose borders now extended to the
Rhine and beyond, to
Hanover, Hamburg and
Cuxhaven. Napoleon would have ruling elites from a fusion of the new bourgeoisie and the old aristocracy.
On 12 May 1802, the French
Tribunat voted unanimously, with exception of
Carnot, in favour of the Life Consulship for the leader of France.
 This action was confirmed by the
Corps Législatif. A general
plebiscite followed thereafter resulting in 3,653,600 votes aye and 8,272 votes nay.
 On 2 August 1802 (14 Thermidor, An X), Napoleon Bonaparte was proclaimed Consul for life.
Pro-revolutionary sentiment swept through Germany aided by the "Recess of 1803", which brought
Baden to France's side.
William Pitt the Younger, back in power over Britain, appealed once more for an Anglo-Austro-Russian
coalition against Napoleon to stop the ideals of revolutionary France from spreading.
On 18 May 1804, Napoleon was given the title of emperor by the
Senate; finally, on 2 December 1804, he was
solemnly crowned, after receiving the
Iron Crown of the
Lombard kings, and was consecrated by
Pope Pius VII in
Notre-Dame de Paris.
In four campaigns, the Emperor transformed his "
federal empire into one modelled on the
Roman Empire. The memories of imperial Rome were for a third time, after
Julius Caesar and
Charlemagne, used to modify the historical evolution of France. Though the vague plan for an invasion of Great Britain was never executed, the
Battle of Ulm and the
Battle of Austerlitz overshadowed the defeat of
Trafalgar, and the camp at
Boulogne put at Napoleon's disposal the best military resources he had commanded, in the form of
La Grande Armée.