Constitution of the Year III

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Constitution de la République Française du 5 Fructidor l'an III (22 août 1795)

The Constitution of the Year III is the constitution that founded the Directory. Adopted by the Convention on 5 Fructidor Year III (22 August 1795) and approved by plebiscite on September 6, it preambled the Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and Citizen of 1795 during the French Revolution.

It remained in effect until the coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799) effectively ended the Revolution and began the ascendancy of Napoleon Bonaparte. It was more conservative than the abortive democratic French Constitution of 1793. The Constitution of the Year III established a liberal republic with a franchise based on the payment of taxes, similar to that of the French Constitution of 1791; a bicameral legislature, (Council of Ancients, and a Council of 500) to slow down the legislative process; and a five-man Directory. The central government retained great power, including emergency powers to curb freedom of the press and freedom of association. The Declaration of Rights and Duties of Mankind at the beginning of the constitution included an explicit ban on slavery. It was succeeded by the Constitution of the Year VIII, which established the Consulate.

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