The proclamation of Empire, 18 May 1804

Contrary to a widely held belief, it was not the coronation (Sacre) of 2 December, 1804, which “created” the Napoleonic Empire but rather a Sénatus-consulte adopted by the Sénat during its meeting of 18 May, 1804. The ensemble of documents presented on Napoleonica makes it possible to follow this apparently “parliamentary” inception to what was the denouement of a political manoeuvre on a large scale.

First page of the Sénatus-consulte organique du 28 floréal an XII (18 May 1804)