France: Transitional Authorities: 1795 - Archontology
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France: Transitional Authorities: 1795

Transitional Period (26 Oct 1795 - 4 Nov 1795)

The Constitution of the Year III enacted by the National Convention (Convention nationale) on 5 Fructidor, Year III (22 Aug 1795) provided for election of a new legislature, Corps législatif, consisting of the Council of Ancients (Conseil des Anciens) and the Council of Five Hundred (Conseil des Cinq-Cents), and a new executive body, the Executive Directory (Directoire exécutif).

Two decrees passed by the National Convention 22 Aug 1795 and 30 Aug 1795 appointed 4 Brumaire, Year IV (26 Oct 1795) as the last day of the Convention's sessions. Foreseeing a hiatus in transition to a new political structure of the French Republic, the Convention passed the Law of 30 Vendémiaire, Year IV (22 Oct 1795), which among other provisions proclaimed that starting at 12:00 (noon) 26 Oct 1795 the Committee of General Security (Comité de sûreté générale) would assume administrative functions exercised by the Committee of Legislation (Comité de législation) and that the Committee of Public Safety (Comité de salut public) would take over the functions of all other committees of the National Convention.

Avoiding an explicit reference to the exercise of executive functions, the Law of 30 Vendémiaire invested the Committee of Public Safety with broad authority until the installation of the Executive Directory. The Committee continued to sit until 4 Nov 1795 when it issued the last of its resolutions.

As provided by the decrees of 22 Aug 1795 and 30 Aug 1795, the National Convention held its last session on 26 Oct 1795. The next day (27 Oct 1795), 379 former members of the Convention who had won election to the Corps législatif convened in the salle des Machines of the Palais des Tuileries and formed an electoral college which selected 104 more deputies out of their former colleagues and closed its session by 21:00 27 Oct 1795. The Corps législatif immediately proceeded with the election of the Council of Five Hundred and the Council of Ancients. The election results were proclaimed in the early hours of 28 Oct 1795 at which point the Corps législatif adjourned until 14:00 28 Oct 1795. When it convened again, the new legislature was inaugurated and continued their deliberations in separate sessions held in the Salle des Machines, Palais des Tuileries (Ancients) and Salle du Manège (Five Hundred). A list of 50 candidates nominated by the Five Hundred was passed to the Ancients for final selection of five Directory members. Elected by the Ancients on 1 Nov 1795, four members of the Executive Directory met 2 Nov 1795 at the Palais du Luxembourg and immediately assumed executive authority, making a number of appointments of state officials. The official proclamation on the installation was delayed until 4 Nov 1795 due to election of the fifth director in view of resignation of Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès. [1]

[1] Recueil des Actes du Directoire exécutif, 1:1-17.