Research Subjects: Government & Politics


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Law for Reorganizing the Administrative System

February 17, 1800 (28 Pluviôse, Year VIII).

This was a sort of organic act upon the administrative system. It deserves careful attention for three reasons: (1) the system here established has been one of the most substantial of Napoleon's institutions existing to the present day with but little change; (2) under all French governments the administrative system is one of the most important features; (3) political scientists are now giving more attention to administration than ever before.

Law for Reorganizing the Administrative System.

Title I. Division of the Territory.

  1. The European territory of the Republic shall be divided into departments and communal districts, in conformity with the table annexed to the present law. [This table made but one change in the existing departments.]

Title II. Administration.

Section I. Department administration.

  1. There shall be in each department a prefect, a council of prefecture, and a department general council, which shall discharge the functions now performed by the administrations and department commissioners.
    [The remainder of the article provides for the number of members in the councils of prefecture and the department general councils. The former have three, four, or five members; the latter have sixteen, twenty, or twenty-four members.]
  2. The prefect alone shall be charged with the administration
  3. The council of prefecture shall pronounce:
    Upon time requests of individuals seeking to obtain the discharge or the reduction of their share of the direct taxes;
    Upon disputes which may arise between the contractors for public works and the administration over the meaning or execution of articles in their contracts;
    Upon the claims of individuals who shall complain of injuries and damages proceeding from the personal acts of the contractors and not the acts of the administration;
    Upon requests and contests over indemnities due to individuals by reason of lands taken or excavated for the making of roads, canals, and other public works;
    Upon disputes which may arise in the matter of the great highway commission;
    Upon requests which shall be presented by city town of village communities to be authorised to litigate;
    Finally, upon litigation over the national lands.
  4. When the prefect shall attend the council of prefecture, he shall preside; in case of equal division, he shall have the casting vote.
  5. The department general council shall meet each year:
    the time of its meeting shall be determined by the government; the duration of its session cannot exceed fifteen days.
    It shall appoint one of its members for president, another for secretary.
    It shall make the division of the direct taxes among the communal districts of the department.
    It shall decide upon the requests for reductions made by the councils of the districts, cities, towns, and villages.
    It shall determine, within the limits fixed by the law, the number of additional centimes, the imposition of which shall be requested for the expenses of the department.
    It shall hear the annual account which the prefect shall render of the employment of the additional centimes which shall have been set aside for these expenses.
    It shall express its opinion upon the condition and the needs of the department and shall address it to the minister of the interior.
  6. A general secretary for the prefecture shall have the custody of the papers and shall sign the documents.

Section II. Communal administration.

  1. In each communal district there shall be a sub-prefect and a district council composed of eleven members.
  2. The sub-prefect shall discharge the functions now performed by the municipal administrations and the cantonal commissioners, with the exception of those which are assigned hereafter to the district council and the municipalities.
  3. The district council shall meet each year: the time of its meeting shall be determined by the government; the duration of its session cannot exceed fifteen days.
    it shall appoint one of its members for president and another for secretary.
    It shall make the division of the direct taxes among the cities, towns, and villages of the district.
    It shall give its opinion, with a statement of reasons, upon the requests for discharge which shall be formulated by the cities, towns and villages.
    It shall hear the annual account which the sub-prefect shall render of the employment of the additional centimes set apart for the expenses of the district.
    It shall express an opinion upon the condition and the needs of the district and shall address it to the prefect.
  4. In the communal districts in which the head-town of the department shall be situated, there shall not be any sub-prefect.

Section III. Municipalities.

  1. In the cities, towns, and other places for which there are now a municipal agent and deputy, and whose population shall not exceed two thousand five hundred inhabitants, there shall be a mayor and a deputy; in the cities or towns of two thousand five hundred to five thousand inhabitants, a mayor and two deputies; in the cities of five thousand to ten thousand inhabitants, a mayor, two deputies, and a commissioner of police; in the cities whose population shall exceed ten thousand inhabitants, besides the mayor, two deputies and a commissioner of police, there shall, be a deputy for each twenty thousand inhabitants in excess and a commissioner for each ten thousand in excess.
  2. The mayors and deputies shall discharge the administrative functions now performed by the municipal agent and the deputy: in relation to the police and the civil state, they shall discharge the functions now performed by the municipal administrations of the canton, the municipal agents, and the deputies.
  3. In the cities of one hundred thousand inhabitants and upwards, there shall be a mayor and a deputy in the place of each municipal administration; there shall be in addition a commissioner-general of police, to whom the commissioners of police shall be subordinate, and who shall be subordinate to the prefect: nevertheless, he shall execute the orders which he shall receive directly from the minister in charge of the police.
  4. There shall he a municipal council in each city, town, or other place for which there is now a municipal agent and a deputy.
    The number of its members shall be ten in the places whose population does not exceed two thousand five hundred inhabitants; twenty, in those in which it does not exceed five thousand; thirty, in those in which the population is more numerous.
    This council shall meet each year on 15 Pluviôse and can remain in session fifteen days.
    It can be assembled extraordinarily by order of the prefect.
    It shall hear and can discuss the account of the municipal receipts and expenditures which shall be rendered by the mayor to the sub-prefect, who shall determine it definitively.
    It shall control the division of the common woods, pastures, harvests, and fruits.
    It shall regulate the division of labor necessary for the maintenance and repair of the property which is under the control of the inhabitants.
    It shall deliberate upon the particular and local needs of the municipality, the loans, the octrois or taxes of additional centimes which may be necessary in order to supply these needs, and the lawsuits which it shall be expedient to institute or sustain for the exercise and preservation of the common rights.
  5. At Paris, in each of the municipal districts, a mayor and two deputies shall be charged with the administrative part and with the functions relative to the civil state.
    A prefect of police shall be charged with what concerns the police and shall have under his orders commissioners distributed in the twelve municipalities.
  6. At Paris the department council shall discharge the functions of municipal council.

Section IV. Of the Appointments.

  1. The First Council shall appoint the prefects, the councillors of prefecture, the numbers of the general councils of the departments, the general secretary for the prefecture, the sub-prefects, the members of the district councils, the mayors and deputies of the cities of more than five thousand inhabitants, the commissioners-general of police and prefects of police in the cities in which they shall be established.
  2. The members of the general councils of departments and those of time councils of the communal districts shall be appointed for three years: they can be continued.
  3. The prefects shall appoint and can suspend from their functions the members of the municipal councils; they shall appoint and can suspend the mayors and deputies in cities whose population is less than five thousand inhabitants. The members of the municipal councils shall be appointed for three years: they can be continued.

Section V. Of the Salaries.

  1. In the cities whose population does not exceed fifteen thousand inhabitants the salary of the prefect shall be eight thousand francs;
    In those of fifteen to thirty thousand inhabitants, it shall be twelve thousand francs;
    In those of thirty to forty-five thousand inhabitants, it shall be sixteen thousand francs;
    In those of forty-five thousand to one hundred thousand, it shall be twenty thousand francs;
    In those of one hundred thousand and upwards, twenty-four thousand francs.
    At Paris it shall be thirty thousand francs.
  2. The salary of time councillors for the prefecture shall be in each department one-tenth of that of the prefect; it shall be twelve hundred francs in the departments in which the salary of the prefect shall be only eight thousand francs.
  3. The salary of the sub-prefects in the cities whose population shall exceed twenty thousand inhabitants shall be four thousand francs, and three thousand francs in the others.
  4. The government shall fix for each department the amount of the office expenses which shall be used for the administration.

[The table of the departments and communal districts is omitted.]

Bibliography

Title: The constitutions and other select documents illustrative of the history of France, 1789-1901
Author(s): Anderson, Frank Maloy, 1871-
Publication: Minneapolis, The H.W. Wilson company,
Year: 1904
Description: xxvi, 671 p. p., 20 cm.

References

Dickinson, Revolution and Reaction in Modern France, 41-42 ; Cambridge Modern History, IX, 11-13; Fournier, Napoleon, 223-225; Rose, Napoleon, I, 246-249; Sloane, Napoleon, II, 139-140; Lanfrey, Napoleon, I, 436-441: Rambaud, Civilisation contemporaine. 69-7 ; Lavisse and Rambaud, Histoire générale, IX, 16-18: Aulard. Révolution française, 716-719 ; Jaurès, Histoire socialiste, VI, 57-60.


 

 

Placed on the Napoleon Series 5/00

 

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