World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Constitution of the Year VIII

 

Constitution of the Year VIII

Constitution of the Year VIII

The Constitution of the Year VIII (French: Constitution de l'an VIII) was a national constitution of France, adopted December 24, 1799 (during the Year VIII of the French Revolutionary Calendar), which established the form of government known as the Consulate. The coup of 18 Brumaire (November 9, 1799) effectively gave all power to Napoleon Bonaparte, and in the eyes of some, ended the French Revolution.

After the coup, Napoleon and his allies legitimized his position by creating the "short and obscure Constitution of the Year VIII" (as Malcolm Crook has called it[1]). The constitution tailor-made the position of First Consul to give Napoleon most of the powers of a dictator. It was the first constitution since the Revolution without a Declaration of Rights.

The executive power was vested in three Consuls, but all actual power was held by the First Consul, Bonaparte. This was unlike Robespierre's Republic, which was more radical, or the oligarchic liberal Republic of the Directory, but more similar to the autocratic Roman Republic of Caesar Augustus, a Conservative Republic, which reminded the French of stability, order, and peace. To emphasize this, Napoleon used classical Roman terms in the Constitution, such as Consul, Senator and Tribune.

The Constitution of Year VIII established a legislature of three houses, which was composed of a Conservative Senate of 80 men over the age of 40, a Tribunate of 100 men and a Legislative Body (Corps législatif) of 300 men.

The Constitution also used the term "notables". The term "notables" was a common usage under the monarchy; every Frenchman understood it, and it was comforting. It referred to prominent, "distinguished" men — landholders, merchants, scholars, professionals, clergymen and officials. The people in each district chose a slate of "notables" by popular vote. The First Consul, Tribunate, and Corps Législatif each nominated one Senatorial candidate to the rest of the Senate, which chose one candidate from among the three. Once all of its members were picked, it would then appoint the Tribunate, the Corps Législatif, the judges of cassation, and the commissioners of accounts from the slate of notables.

Napoleon held a plebiscite on the Constitution in December. The vote was not binding, but it allowed Napoleon to maintain a veneer of democracy. The vote was 3,000,000 in favor, and 1,500 against.

This Constitution was amended, first, by the Constitution of the Year X, which made Napoleon First Consul for Life, more extensively altered by the Constitution of the Year XII which established the Bonaparte dynasty with Napoleon as a hereditary Emperor, abolished by the first, brief Bourbon Restoration of 1814, revived and at once virtually replaced by the so-called "Additional Act" of April 1815 promulgated on Napoleon's brief return; and definitively abolished by the return of Louis XVIII later in 1815 (following the Hundred Days). The Napoleonic constitutions were then completely replaced by the Charter of 1814.

Sources

Connelly, Owen (2000). The French Revolution and Napoleonic Era. 3rd Edition. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt. pp. 201–203.

References

  1. ^ Crook, Malcolm (1999). "The Myth Of The 18 Brumaire". H-France Napoleon Forum. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 

External links

  • Constitution of the Year VIII
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.