N & E
Napoleon & Empire

The Tribunate

Liste of Tribunate members  List of the members of the Tribunate.

The Tribunate was created by the Constitution of An VIII. It owes its existence and its name to Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès (Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès), a reference to the ancient Roman magistracy of the Tribunate of the Plebs. Its sessions are held at the Palais-Royal .

The Palais-Royal in Paris
View of the Palais-Royal

Officially installed on 11 Nivôse An VIII (January 1, 1800), the Tribunate met for the last time on September 18, 1807.

The tribunes

The Tribunate has one hundred members, elected for a five-year term and renewable annually by fifths. They are chosen by the Conservative Senate from the national confidence list, and must be at least twenty-five years old.

The Constitution of Year X reduced the Tribunate to fifty members and divided it into three sections (legislation, interior, finance); that of Year XII increased the Tribunes' term of office to ten years and provided for renewal by half every five years.

Napoleon visiting the Palais-Royal
Napoleon visiting the Palais-Royal, seat of the Tribunate
by Merry-Joseph Blondel


The Tribunate is responsible for discussing bills presented by the executive. It can propose the adoption or rejection of bills, but cannot prevent their presentation to the Legislative Body, which votes on them. Three members of the Tribunate are responsible for presenting the wishes of their assembly to the Corps Législatif.

After Year X, the various sections of the Tribunate examined the bills, each limiting itself to those for which it was competent. The Constitution of Year XII even deprived these sections of the right to convene a general assembly for this purpose.


Despite issuing only seven unfavorable votes out of ninety-four in two years, the Tribunat quickly attracted the hostility of the First Consul, who was irritated by the criticisms voiced by a minority of republican opponents to the regime.

In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte had the Senate eliminate the twenty tribunes most hostile to him, including Benjamin Constant, Pierre Daunou (the first to preside over the assembly when it was installed) and Marie-Joseph Chénier.

From 1803 to 1807, the gradual reduction in the number of tribunes (from one hundred to fifty members) provided an opportunity to gradually eliminate any remaining opponents. During this period, the Tribunate no longer issued any unfavorable votes.

However, this did not prevent it from being abolished by a sénatus-consulte on August 19, 1807.

Title: The Tribunate.