Research Subjects: Government & Politics

Brumaire Decree


Brumaire Decree

November 10, 1799 (19 Brumaire, Year VIII)

By the coup d'état of Brumaire the government of the Directory was overthrown. This decree was passed by remnants of the councils of the Five Hundred and of the Ancients after the dispersion of those bodies. Thereby some semblance of legality was imparted to the coup d'état.

The Council of the Five Hundred, considering the situation of the Republic, approves the act of urgency and the following resolution:

  1. The Directory is no more, and the following named persons, owing to the excesses and the crimes in which they have constantly engaged, and especially as regards the majority of them in the session of this morning, are no longer members of the national representation: [Here follow the names of sixty-one persons.]
  2. The legislative body creates provisionally a consular executive commission, consisting of Citizens Siéyès, Roger-Ducos and General Bonaparte who shall bear the name of Consuls of the French Republic.
  3. This commission is invested with the plentitude of directorial power and is particularly charged to organize order in all parts of the administration, to re-establish internal tranquility, and to procure honorable and enduring peace.
  4. It is authorized to send out delegates having powers which are fixed and are within the limits of its own [powers].
  5. The legislative body adjourns to the following 1 Ventôse [Feb. 20, 1800]; it shall reassemble of full right upon that date in its palace at Paris.
  6. During the adjournment of the legislative body the adjourned members preserve their indemnity and their constitutional guarantee.
  7. Without loss of their character as representatives of the people, they can be employed as ministers, diplomatic agents, delegates of the consular executive commission, and in all other civil functions. They are even invited in the name of the public welfare to accept these [employments].
  8. Before its separation and during the sitting, each council shall appoint from its own body a commission consisting of twenty-five members.
  9. The commissions appointed by the two councils with the formal and requisite proposal of the consular executive commission, shall decide upon all urgent matters of police, legislation and finance.
  10. The commission of the Five Hundred shall exercise the initiative; the commission of the Ancients, the approval.
  11. The two commissions are further charged, in the same order of labor and co-operation, to prepare the changes to be brought about in the organic arrangements of the constitution of which experience has made known the faults and inconveniences.
  12. These changes shall have for their object only to consolidate, guarantee, and consecrate inviolably the sovereignty of the French people, the republic one and indivisible, the representative system, the division of powers, liberty, equality, security and property.
  13. The consular executive commission can present its views to them in this respect.
  14. Finally, the two commissions arc charged to prepare a civil code.
  15. They shall sit at Paris in the place of the legislative body and they can convoke it in extraordinary session for the ratification of peace or in a great public danger.
  16. The present [document] shall be printed, sent by extraordinary couriers into the departments, and solemnly published and posted in all the communes of the Republic.
  17. Signed by, Lucien Bonaparte, president. Emile Gaudin and Bara, secretaries.


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.

Proclamation of the Consuls on Brumaire, 12 November 1799

In this document the new consuls frame the debate over the change of government. Factionalism is once again pointed out as the villain to a French people tired of political upheaval. Contrast this proclamation by the three consuls with that of Napoleon on Brumaire.

Proclamation of the Consuls to the French.

Paris, 21st Brumaire (12th Nov.) [1799]

The constitution of the third year has perished. It knew not how to protect your rights, or to support itself. Multiplied attacks deprived it for ever of the respect of the people. Heinous and ambitious factions divided the republic between them. France at length approached to the last term of a general disorganization.

The patriots have made themselves heard. Every thing that could injure you has been removed. Every thing that could serve you, every thing that remained pure in the national representation, is united under the banners of liberty.

Frenchmen! the republic thus re-established and replaced in Europe in the rank which she never should have lost, will proceed to realize all the hopes of citizens, and will accompany its glorious destinies.

Take with us the oath which we have made, "to be faithful to the republic, one and indivisible, founded on equality, liberty, and the representative system."

By the consuls of the republic,

Roger Ducos.

(True copy)
Hugues Bernard Maret, sec.-gen.


The Annual Register, or, A View of the History, Politics, and Literature for the Year 1799. London: Printed by R. Wilks for W. Otridge and Sons, etal. (Publisher varies by year.) Published for the years 1758-1837 in 80 vols.; illus., maps; 21-23 cm. Alternate titles for some years include: Annual Register, or, a View of the History and Politics of the Year... and New Annual Register, or General Repository of History, Politics, and Literature, for the Year... Succeeded by: Annual Register of World Events.


Fyffe, Modern Europe, I, 197-207 (Popular ed., 133-139) ; Cambridge Modern History, VIII. Ch. 22 ; Fournier, Napoleon. 166-182: Rose, Napoleon I, Ch. x ; Sloane, Napoleon, II, Chs. x-xi ; Lanfrey. Napoleon, I, Ch. xii ; Lavisse and Rambaud. Histoire générale, VIII, 403-411 ; Aulard, Révolution française, Part III, Ch. v ; Jaurès, histoire socialiste, V, Ch. 22.



Placed on the Napoleon Series 5/00


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