Constitution of the Year VIII

The Constitution of the Year 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). 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 no longer Robespierre's Republic, which was more radical, or the oligarchic liberal Republic of the Directory, but 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: Consul, Senator, Tribune.