The following men and one woman have served as the State Ministers of the French Empire, the second-most powerful position within the Empire next to the Emperor and one of the most influential government posts in world affairs.
List of Ministers of State
|Napoleon Francois Charles Bonaparte||1832-1844|
|Paul Jerome Seychard||1853-1858|
|Pascal Charles-Francois Giles||1858-1859|
|Hippolyte de Bray||1875-1880|
|Jean Poul de Bray||1890-1894|
|Jacques de Celestine||1900-1903|
|Jules Edouard Roels||1908-1911|
|Albert Bonaparte/Albert I||1918-1925|
|Fredric de Blount||1936-1938|
|Roger de Narantal||1943-1947|
|Jacques Stephon de Bray||1950-1952|
|Patric St. Joseph||1956-1961|
Role of the State Minister
The State Minister is the chief officer of the Ministry of State and thus a member of the Imperial Cabinet, which itself is a wing of the French Imperial Office as a whole. While this effectively makes the State Minister a role equal to that of the other powerful Ministers (Foreign, Interior, Defense, Security, Churat, Trade, Financial, etc.), the role of the Ministry of State - that of the Ministry which runs the other Ministries and is in charge of managing the day-to-day affairs of the French State and its bureacracy - mean that the Minister of State is afforded a level of influence under the Imperial Office that other ranking bureaucrats do not enjoy.
Also, the role of the State Minister is traditionally that of the Emperor's second-in-command. During the 1800's, the State Minister was seen as the most capable bureaucrat in the Emperor's service, typically one who commanded a great deal of respect. Michel Ney, Napoleon I's most trusted general, was the first State Minister, and he was succeeded by Napoleon's own son. After the death of Clemency d'Epignay, Louis I's closest ally and trusted statesman, the role of the State Minister was diminished somewhat for the next fifty years, in particular due to the "taint upon the office" by Paul Seychard, who actively warred with Louis I from his role and was the first State Minister to be dismissed from the role, which set a precedent of the Emperor firing State Ministers he disagreed with. Previously, all other State Ministers had died (d'Epignay), resigned (Ney, Raphael Aubergine) or ascended to the Emperorship (Napoleon II). With the disgraceful dismissal of Seychard and the prompt death of his successor, Pascal Giles, the office lost much of its luster. Similarly, the assassinations of ambitious State Ministers such as the de Bray brothers knocked the role of the State Minister down to the chief of the bureaucracy, especially during the strong, personality-driven reigns of Philippe and Louis II.
Gaspard LaRouche, the State Minister during the height of the Colonial Wars, changed the role of the State Minister significantly. LaRouche was an ambitious, driven politician who had also served as the head of the Grand Assembly and understood basic Imperial politics. Arguing that the size of the Empire now required a larger government, he led sweeping reforms to assume more direct power over the expanded bureaucracy under his seven years in the office. LaRouche is credited as the father of the "modern State Ministry," and his belief in a strong central government with bureaucrats recruited from strong local governments was not lost on two of his proteges, Philippe Nife and Francois Baptiste, who are two of the men directly credited with helping Albert I come to power.
Albert I, Louis II's younger of two sons, was given the State Ministry due to Louis II's personal distaste of the power LaRouche had influenced on the Empire and Colonial Wars themselves, in order to keep Imperial power within the family. Albert I would later topple his elder brother, Napoleon III, in the Iron Revolution much thanks to the power he had assembled as State Minister, thus fulfilling his father's greatest fears.
Throughout the Albertine age, the State Minister, a role held by a variety of Albert's allies, was a position used by the Emperor to combat his political enemies indirectly - this made the role largely that of a figurehead. Following the French Civil War, the State Minister became the effective head of government during reconstruction alongside the President of the Grand Assembly, who was the head of the legislature, both equal to one another under the Emperor. With the establishment of the Imperial Office in 1950 under Sebastien, the office of State Minister was an important governmental role. Sebastien's State Ministers often acted as head of state as well, going abroad as the face of the Empire while the increasingly reclusive Sebastien stayed at home. Every single State Minister during the rule of Sebastien was routinely dismissed whenever the Emperor grew displeased with them, and the control Sebastien exercised over government diminished the actual power of the role.
Coupled with the coronation of the more liberal Albert II, State Ministers with strong personalities such as Patric Renaud, Valery d'Estaing and Francois Mitterand wielded a greater amount of influence than their predecessors. However, the disastrous wars in Vietnam and Siam ruined the reputation of Mitterand's successor Bernard Gattainon, who was fired in 1993 during a nationally televised broadcast by Albert II on Shroud Day.
Alexander Neveshkin, Gattainon's successor, was referred to as the most powerful State Minister since the Albertine era as he got the Empire out of Siam while butting heads with the powerful, entrenched military. In 2002, Marie Baptiste-Thibodeau, daughter of celebrated two-time Grand Assembly President Xavier Thibodeau, was appointed by Albert II to be the first female State Minister in French history in the wake of firing Henri Alustaine due to an ongoing financial crisis. She would serve for five years and resign office in 2007 as one of the most influential State Ministers in history, due to her expansion of the bureaucracy to integrate more thoroughly at the local and nationwide levels and for seeing through the transition of power between Albert II and Maurice Napoleon I. The current State Minister is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who previously served as Grand Marshal of the French Empire until he was tabbed to replace Dimitri Woolles on Shroud Day 2011. |}