The powers, functions and duties of prior presidential offices, and their relation with the Prime Minister and Cabinet, have over time differed with the various French constitutions since 1848 (the final end of the French Monarchy). The President of the French Republic is also the ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra, Grand Master of the Légion d'honneur and the National Order of Merit, and honorary proto-canon of the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
The presidency of France was first publicly proposed during the July Revolution of 1830, when it was offered to the Marquis de Lafayette, who demurred in favor of Prince Louis Phillipe. 18 years later, during the opening phases of the 2nd Republic, the title was created for a popularly elected Head of state, the first of whom was Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, nephew of the Emperor. Bonaparte served until he staged an auto coup against the republic, proclaiming himself Emperor Napoleon III.
Under the Third and Fourth Republic, which were parliamentary systems, the office of President of the Republic was a largely ceremonial and powerless one. The Constitution of the Fifth Republic greatly increased the President's powers. A 1962 referendum changed the constitution, so that the President would be directly elected by universal suffrage and not by the Parliament.