- Administrative officers, as known to history and, in some places, even in modern times. Functionaries well known in the Roman law, and under the empire clothed with extensive powers, both judicial and administrative. With the decline of the empire they seem to have lost their importance and finally to have disappeared; but hundreds of years later, the office was revived in the French Republic in 1800, and was bestowed upon the heads of departments into which the country had been divided by the national assembly in 1790. These prefects were assisted by a council of prefecture. The prefect was charged with the administration of local affairs, and was practically the representative of the central government in public matters. The title was carried into several states of the Union whose legislation was framed upon the Code Napoleon, but until the establishment of the Republic, was apparently unknown in Mexico. It seems to have been recognized there prior to 1836, being mentioned in the constitutional law of that year. Crespin v United States, 168 US 208, 213, 42 L Ed 438, 440, 18 S Ct 53.
Ballentine's law dictionary. Anderson, W.S.. 1998.
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