France: Presidents of the Executive Directory: 1795-1799

Président du Directoire exécutif
2 Nov 1795 - 31 Jan 1796 Jean-François Reubell
31 Jan 1796 - 30 Apr 1796 Étienne-François Le Tourneur
30 Apr 1796 - 29 Jul 1796 Lazare Carnot
29 Jul 1796 - 1 Nov 1796 Louis-Marie La Revellière-Lépeaux
1 Nov 1796 - 30 Jan 1797 Paul Barras
30 Jan 1797 - 30 Apr 1797 Jean-François Reubell (x)
30 Apr 1797 - 26 May 1797 Étienne-François Le Tourneur (x)
26 May 1797 - 24 Aug 1797 Lazare Carnot (x)
24 Aug 1797 - 27 Nov 1797 Louis-Marie La Revellière-Lépeaux (x)
27 Nov 1797 - 25 Feb 1798 Paul Barras (x)
25 Feb 1798 - 26 May 1798 Philippe-Antoine Merlin, dit Merlin de Douai
26 May 1798 - 24 Aug 1798 Jean-François Reubell (x)
24 Aug 1798 - 27 Nov 1798 Jean-Baptiste Treilhard
27 Nov 1798 - 25 Feb 1799 Louis-Marie La Revellière-Lépeaux (x)
25 Feb 1799 - 26 May 1799 Paul Barras (x)
26 May 1799 - 18 Jun 1799 Philippe-Antoine Merlin, dit Merlin de Douai (x)
19 Jun 1799 - 23 Sep 1799 Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès
23 Sep 1799 - 10 Nov 1799 Louis-Jérôme Gohier
History:

Art. 141 of the Constitution of the Year III (1795) provided each member of the Directoire exécutif (Executive Directory) with the right to preside at the meetings for three months. The Constitution, however, did not specify any rules for election of the president. La Revellière-Lépeaux wrote in his memoirs [3] that he proposed the rotation by order of age, but the Directory proceeded with the election of its first president (Reubell) by lot. There is no evidence of any later agreement for trimestrial rotation in order of age, but at least the original members succeeded to the presidency exactly in the order of age: Reubell (born on 8 Oct 1747), Le Tourneur (15 Mar 1751), Carnot (13 May 1753), La Revellière-Lépeaux (24 Aug 1753), Barras (30 Jun 1755). The post of president was rather ceremonial and did not impose any additional authority except for keeping the seals, making public speeches on national holidays and signing the documents issued by the Directory first. If a member of the Directory could not continue to preside at the meetngs, his colleague, who occupied the chair before him, acted as president until the vacancy was filled. Information source: [1][2]


[1] Recueil des Actes du Directoire exécutif (Procès-verbaux, arrêtés, instructions, lettres et actes divers)", published by Antonin Debidour in "Collection de documents inédits sur l'histoire de France publiés par les soins du ministre de l'Instruction publique (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1910-1917).
[2] Les procès-verbaux du Directoire exécutif, an V - an VIII. Inventaire des registres des delibérations et des minutes des arrêtés, lettres et actes du Directoire faisant suite au Recueil des actes du Directoire exécutif d'Antonin Debidour, ed. by Pierre-Dominique Cheynet (Paris: Centre historique des Archives nationales, 2000-).
[3] "Mémoires de Larevéllière-Lépeaux: suivis de pièces justificatives et de correspondances inédites" (Paris: Plon, 1895).
Last updated on: 04 Oct 2013 12:14:35