His purely political career ended in 1802, when he was eliminated with others from the tribunate for his opposition to Napoleon.
These two bodies nominally formed the legislature, the Tribunate merely discussing the bills sent to it by an important body, the Council of State; while the Corps Legislatif, sitting in silence, heard them defended by councillors of state and criticized by members of the Tribunate; thereupon it passed or rejected such proposals by secret voting.
They were excluded from the tribunate and the council of the plebs, which had become important instruments of government, and were only eligible for one place in the consulship and censorship, while both were open to plebeians.
The tribunate called into existence a purely plebeian assembly, firstly, for the election of plebeian magistrates; secondly, for jurisdiction in cases where these magistrates had been injured; thirdly, for presenting petitions on behalf of the plebs through the consuls to the comitia centuriata.
This body received the right of deciding by senatus consulta all questions not provided for by the constitution; the Corps Legislatif and Tribunate might also thenceforth be dissolved at its bidding.
The final and all-important act of selection from among these men was, however, to be made by a personage, styled the proclamateur-electeur, who chose all the important functionaries, and, conjointly with the notabilities of the nation, chose the members for the Council of State (wielding the chief executive powers), the Tribunate and the Senate.
The following year saw the work of Sulla undone; the tribunate was restored, and the administration of justice was no longer left exclusively to the senate, but was to be shared by it with the wealthier portion of the middle class, the equites and the tribuni aerarii.
It is significant that Bonaparte proposed this bill (drafted in the Council of State) to the Tribunate and the Corps Legislatif on the very day on which it was first certainly known that France had accepted the new constitution.
These were (i) the command of an auxiliary cohort; (2) the tribunate of a legion; (3) the command of an auxiliary cavalry squadron, this order being as a rule strictly adhered to.
Suetonius tells us that he threw himself into the agitation for the restoration of the ancient powers of the tribunate curtailed by Sulla, and that he secured the passing of a law of amnesty in favour of the partisans of Sertorius.