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Napoleon III (Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte; 20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873), the nephew of Napoleon I, was the first president of France, from 1848 to 1852, and the last French monarch, from 1852 to 1870. First elected president of the French Second Republic in 1848, he seized power by force in 1851, when he could not constitutionally be re-elected, and became the emperor of the French. He founded the Second French Empire and was its only emperor until the defeat of the French Army and his capture by Prussia and its allies in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. He worked to modernize the French economy, rebuilt the center of Paris, expanded the French overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the Second Italian War of Independence.

Napoleon III commissioned a grand reconstruction of Paris carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann, and launched similar public works projects in Marseille, Lyon and other French cities. Napoleon III modernized the French banking system, expanded and consolidated the French railway system, and made the French merchant marine the second largest in the world. He promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made France an agricultural exporter. Napoleon III negotiated the 1860 Cobden–Chevalier free trade agreement with Britain and similar agreements with France's other European trading partners. Social reforms included giving French workers the right to strike and the right to organize. The first women students were admitted at the Sorbonne and educational opportunities for women were increased, as did the list of required subjects in public schools.

In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world. In Europe, he allied with Britain and defeated Russia in the Crimean War (1853–56). His regime assisted Italian unification by defeating the Austrian Empire in the Franco-Austrian War and later annexed Savoy and the County of Nice as its deferred reward. At the same time, his forces defended the Papal States against annexation by Italy. He was also favorable towards the union of the Danubian Principalities (24 January 1859), which resulted in the establishment of the modern state of Romania. Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. On the other hand, the French intervention in Mexico, which aimed to create a Second Mexican Empire under French protection, ended in total failure.

From 1866, Napoleon had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership. In July 1870, Napoleon declared war on Prussia without allies and with inferior military forces. The French Army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. He was swiftly dethroned and the French Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris. He went into exile in England, where he died in 1873.

  • The lakeside house at Arenenberg, Switzerland, where Louis Napoleon spent much of his youth and exile

  • Romantic revolutionary (1823–1835)

    When Louis Napoleon was fifteen, his mother Hortense moved to Rome, where the Bonapartes had a villa. He passed his time learning Italian, exploring the ancient ruins, and learning the arts of seduction and romantic affairs, which he used often in his later life. He became friends with the French Ambassador, When Louis Napoleon was fifteen, his mother Hortense moved to Rome, where the Bonapartes had a villa. He passed his time learning Italian, exploring the ancient ruins, and learning the arts of seduction and romantic affairs, which he used often in his later life. He became friends with the French Ambassador, François-René Chateaubriand, the father of romanticism in French literature, with whom he remained in contact for many years. He was reunited with his older brother Napoleon Louis, and together they became involved with the Carbonari, secret revolutionary societies fighting Austria's domination of northern Italy. In the spring of 1831, when he was twenty-three, the Austrian and papal governments launched an offensive against the Carbonari, and the two brothers, wanted by the police, were forced to flee. During their flight, Napoleon-Louis contracted measles and, on 17 March 1831, died in his brother's arms.[9] Hortense joined her son and together they evaded the police and Austrian army and finally reached the French border.[10]

    Hortense and Louis Napoleon travelled incognito to Paris, where the old regime of King Charles X had just fallen and been replaced by the more liberal regime of King Louis Philippe I. They arrived in Paris on 23 April 1831, and took up residence under the name "Hamilton" in the Hotel du Holland on Charles X had just fallen and been replaced by the more liberal regime of King Louis Philippe I. They arrived in Paris on 23 April 1831, and took up residence under the name "Hamilton" in the Hotel du Holland on Place Vendôme. Hortense wrote an appeal to the King, asking to stay in France, and Louis Napoleon offered to volunteer as an ordinary soldier in the French Army. The new King agreed to meet secretly with Hortense; Louis Napoleon had a fever and did not join them. The King finally agreed that Hortense and Louis Napoleon could stay in Paris as long as their stay was brief and incognito. Louis-Napoleon was told that he could join the French Army if he would simply change his name, something he indignantly refused to do. Hortense and Louis Napoleon remained in Paris until 5 May, the tenth anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. The presence of Hortense and Louis Napoleon in the hotel had become known, and a public demonstration of mourning for the Emperor took place on Place Vendôme in front of their hotel. The same day, Hortense and Louis Napoleon were ordered to leave Paris. They went to Britain briefly, and then back into exile in Switzerland.[11]

    Ever since the fall of Napoleon in 1815, a Bonapartist movement had existed in France, hoping to return a Bonaparte to the throne. According to the law of succession established by Napoleon I, the claim passed first to his own son, declared "King of Rome" at birth by his father. This heir, known by Bonapartists as Napoleon II, was living in virtual imprisonment at the court of Vienna under the title Duke of Reichstadt. Next in line was Napoleon I's eldest brother Joseph Bonaparte (1768–1844), followed by Louis Bonaparte (1778–1846), but neither Joseph nor Louis had any interest in re-entering public life. When the Duke of Reichstadt died in 1832, Charles-Louis Napoleon became the de facto heir of the dynasty and the leader of the Bonapartist cause.[12]

    In exile with his mother in Switzerland, he enrolled in the Swiss Army, trained to become an officer, and wrote a manual of artillery (his uncle Napoleon Bonaparte had become famous as an artillery officer). Louis Napoleon also began writing about his political philosophy – for as H. A. L. Fisher suggested, "the programme of the Empire was not the improvisation of a vulgar adventurer" but the result of deep reflection on the Napoleonic political philosophy and on how to adjust it to the changed domestic and international scenes.[13] He published his Rêveries politiques or "political dreams" in 1833 at

    In exile with his mother in Switzerland, he enrolled in the Swiss Army, trained to become an officer, and wrote a manual of artillery (his uncle Napoleon Bonaparte had become famous as an artillery officer). Louis Napoleon also began writing about his political philosophy – for as H. A. L. Fisher suggested, "the programme of the Empire was not the improvisation of a vulgar adventurer" but the result of deep reflection on the Napoleonic political philosophy and on how to adjust it to the changed domestic and international scenes.[13] He published his Rêveries politiques or "political dreams" in 1833 at the age of 25, followed in 1834 by Considérations politiques et militaires sur la Suisse ("Political and military considerations about Switzerland"), followed in 1839 by Les Idées napoléoniennes ("Napoleonic Ideas"), a compendium of his political ideas which was published in three editions and eventually translated into six languages. He based his doctrine upon two ideas: universal suffrage and the primacy of the national interest. He called for a "monarchy which procures the advantages of the Republic without the inconveniences", a regime "strong without despotism, free without anarchy, independent without conquest".[14]

    "I believe", Louis Napoleon wrote, "that from time to time, men are created whom I call volunteers of providence, in whose hands are placed the destiny of their countries. I believe I am one of those men. If I am wrong, I can perish uselessly. If I am right, then providence will put me into a position to fulfill my mission."[15] He had seen the popular enthusiasm for Napoleon Bonaparte when he was in Paris, and he was convinced that, if he marched to Paris, as Napoleon Bonaparte had done in 1815 during the Hundred Days, France would rise up and join him. He began to plan a coup against King Louis-Philippe.

    Louis Napoleon launching his failed coup in Strasbourg in 1836

    He planned for his uprising to begin in Strasbourg. The colonel of a regiment was brought over to the cause. On 29 October 1836, Louis Napoleon arrived in S

    He planned for his uprising to begin in Strasbourg. The colonel of a regiment was brought over to the cause. On 29 October 1836, Louis Napoleon arrived in Strasbourg, in the uniform of an artillery officer, and rallied the regiment to his side. The prefecture was seized, and the prefect arrested. Unfortunately for Louis-Napoleon, the general commanding the garrison escaped and called in a loyal regiment, which surrounded the mutineers. The mutineers surrendered and Louis-Napoleon fled back to Switzerland.[16]

    Travel

    King Louis-Philippe demanded that the Swiss government return Louis Napoleon to France, but the Swiss pointed out that he was a Swiss soldier and citizen, and refused to hand him over. Louis-Philippe responded by sending an army to the Swiss border. Louis Napoleon thanked his Swiss hosts, and voluntarily left the country. The other mutineers were put on trial in Alsace, and were all acquitted.

    Louis Napoleon traveled first to London, then to Brazil, and then to New York. He moved into a hotel, where he met the elite of New York society and the writer Washington Irving. While he was traveling to see more of the United States, he received word that his mother was very ill. He hurried as quickly as he could back to Switzerland. He reached

    King Louis-Philippe demanded that the Swiss government return Louis Napoleon to France, but the Swiss pointed out that he was a Swiss soldier and citizen, and refused to hand him over. Louis-Philippe responded by sending an army to the Swiss border. Louis Napoleon thanked his Swiss hosts, and voluntarily left the country. The other mutineers were put on trial in Alsace, and were all acquitted.

    Louis Napoleon traveled first to London, then to Brazil, and then to New York. He moved into a hotel, where he met the elite of New York society and the writer Washington Irving. While he was traveling to see more of the United St

    Louis Napoleon traveled first to London, then to Brazil, and then to New York. He moved into a hotel, where he met the elite of New York society and the writer Washington Irving. While he was traveling to see more of the United States, he received word that his mother was very ill. He hurried as quickly as he could back to Switzerland. He reached Arenenberg in time to be with his mother on 5 August 1837, when she died. She was finally buried in Reuil, in France, next to her mother, on 11 January 1838, but Louis Napoleon could not attend, because he was not allowed into France.[17]

    Louis Napoleon returned to London for a new period of exile in October 1838. He had inherited a large fortune from his mother and took a house with seventeen servants and several of his old friends and fellow conspirators. He was received by London society and met the political and scientific leaders of the day, including Benjamin Disraeli and Michael Faraday. He also did considerable research into the economy of Britain. He strolled in Hyde Park, which he later used as a model when he created the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.[18]

    Living in the comfort of London, he had not given up the dream of returning to France to seize power. In the summer of 1840 he bought weapons and uniforms and had proclamations printed, gathered a contingent of about sixty armed men, hired a ship called the Edinburgh-Castle, and on 6 August 1840, sailed across the Channel to the port of Boulogne. The attempted coup turned into an even greater fiasco than the Strasbourg mutiny. The mutineers were stopped by the customs agents, the soldiers of the garrison refused to join, the mutineers were surrounded on the beach, one was killed and the others arrested. Both the British and French press heaped ridicule on Louis-Napoleon and his plot. The newspaper Le Journal des Débats wrote, "this surpasses comedy. One doesn't kill crazy people, one just locks them up." He was put on trial, where, despite an eloquent defense of his cause, he was sentenced to life in prison in the fortress of Ham in the Somme department of northern France.[19]

    Activities

    The register of the fortress Ham for 7 October 1840 contained a concise description of the new prisoner: "Age: thirty-two years. Height: one meter sixty-six. Hair and eyebrows: chestnut. Eyes: Gray and sm

    The register of the fortress Ham for 7 October 1840 contained a concise description of the new prisoner: "Age: thirty-two years. Height: one meter sixty-six. Hair and eyebrows: chestnut. Eyes: Gray and small. Nose: large. Mouth: ordinary. Beard: brown. Moustache: blond. Chin: pointed. Face: oval. Complexion: pale. Head: sunken in his shoulders, and large shoulders. Back: bent. Lips: thick."[20] He had a mistress named Éléonore Vergeot, a young woman from the nearby town, who gave birth to two of his children.[21]

    While in prison, he wrote poems, political essays, and articles on diverse topics. He contributed articles to regional newspapers and magazines in towns all over France, becoming quite well known as a writer. His most famous book was L'extinction du pauperisme (1844), a study of the causes of pover

    While in prison, he wrote poems, political essays, and articles on diverse topics. He contributed articles to regional newspapers and magazines in towns all over France, becoming quite well known as a writer. His most famous book was L'extinction du pauperisme (1844), a study of the causes of poverty in the French industrial working class, with proposals to eliminate it. His conclusion: "The working class has nothing, it is necessary to give them ownership. They have no other wealth than their own labor, it is necessary to give them work that will benefit all....they are without organization and without connections, without rights and without a future; it is necessary to give them rights and a future and to raise them in their own eyes by association, education, and discipline." He proposed various practical ideas for creating a banking and savings system that would provide credit to the working class, and to establish agricultural colonies similar to the kibutzes later founded in Israel.[22] This book was widely reprinted and circulated in France, and played an important part in his future electoral success.

    He was busy in prison, but also unhappy and impatient. He was aware that the popularity of Napoleon Bonaparte was steadily increasing in France; the Emperor was the subject of heroic poems, books and plays. Huge crowds had gathered in Paris on 15 December 1840 when the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte were returned with great ceremony to Paris and handed over to Louis Napoleon's old enemy, King Louis-Philippe, while Louis Napoleon could only read about it in prison. On 25 May 1846, with the assistance of his doctor and other friends on the outside, he disguised himself as a laborer carrying lumber, and walked out of the prison. His enemies later derisively called him "Badinguet", the name of the laborer whose identity he had assumed. A carriage was waiting to take him to the coast and then by boat to England. A month after his escape, his father Louis died, making Louis Napoleon the clear heir to the Bonaparte dynasty.[23]

    He quickly resumed his place in British society. He lived on King Street in St James's, London, went to the theatre and hunted, renewed his acquaintance with Benjamin Disraeli, and met Charles Dickens. He went back to his studies at the British Museum. He had an affair with the actress Rachel, the most famous French actress of the period, during her tours to Britain. More important for his future career, he had an affair with the wealthy heiress Harriet Howard (1823–1865). They met in 1846, soon after his return to Britain. They began to live together, she took in his two illegitimate children and raised them with her own son, and she provided financing for his political plans so that, when the moment came, he could return to France.[24]

    Early political career

    1848 Revolution and birth of the Second Republic

    French Revolution of 1848 had broken out, and that Louis-Philippe, faced with opposition within his government and army, had abdicated. Believing that his time had finally come, he set out for Paris on 27 February, departing England on the same day that Louis-Philippe left France for his own exile in England. When he arrived in Paris, he found that the Second Republic had been declared, led by a Provisional Government headed by a Commission led by Alphonse de Lamartine, and that different factions of republicans, from conservatives to those on the far left, were competing for power. He wrote to Lamartine announcing his arrival, saying that he "was without any other ambition than that of serving my country". Lamartine wrote back politely but firmly, asking Louis-Napoleon to leave Paris "until the city is more calm, and not before the elections for the National Assembly". His close advisors urged him to stay and try to take power, but he wanted to show his prudence and loyalty to the Republic; while his advisors remained in Paris, he returned to London on 2 March 1848 and watched events from there.[25]

    He did not run in the first elections for the National Assembly, held in April 1848, but three members of the Bonaparte family, Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte, Pierre Napoléon Bonaparte, and Lucien Murat were elected; the name Bonaparte still had political power. In the next elections, on 4 June, where candidates could run in multiple departments, he was elected in four different departments; in Paris, he was among the top five candidates, just after the conservative leader Adolphe Thiers and Victor Hugo. His followers were mostly on the left, from the peasantry and working class. His pamphlet on "The Extinction of Pauperism" was widely circulated in Paris, and his name was cheered with those of the socialist candidates Barbès and Louis Blanc.[26]

    The Moderate Republican leaders of the provisional government, Lamartine and Cavaignac, considered arresting him as a dangerous revolutionary, but once again he outmaneuvered them. He wrote to the President of the Provisional Government: "I believe I should wait to return to the heart of my country, so that my presence in France will not serve as a pretext to the enemies of the Republic."[27]

    In June 1848, the June Days Uprising broke out in Paris, led by the far left, against the conservative majority in the National Assembly. Hundreds of barricades appeared in the working-class neighborhoods. General Cavaignac, the leader of the army, first withdrew his soldiers from Paris to allow the insurgents to deploy their barricades, and then returned with overwhelming force to crush the uprising; from 24 to 26 June, there were battles in the streets of the working class districts of Paris. An estimated five thousand insurgents were killed at the barricades, fifteen thousand were arrested, and four thousand deported.[28]

    His absence from Paris meant that Louis Napoleon was not connected either with the uprising, or with the brutal repression that had followed. He was still in London on 17–18 September, when the elections for the National Assembly were held, but he was a candidate in thirteen departments. He was elected in five departments; in Paris, he received 110,000 votes of the 247,000 cast, the highest number of votes of any candidate. He returned to Paris on 24 September, and this time he took his place in the National Assembly. In seven months, he had gone from a political exile in London to a highly visible place in the National Assembly, as the government finished the new Constitution and prepared for the first election ever of a President of the French Republic.Jérôme Napoléon Bonaparte, Pierre Napoléon Bonaparte, and Lucien Murat were elected; the name Bonaparte still had political power. In the next elections, on 4 June, where candidates could run in multiple departments, he was elected in four different departments; in Paris, he was among the top five candidates, just after the conservative leader Adolphe Thiers and Victor Hugo. His followers were mostly on the left, from the peasantry and working class. His pamphlet on "The Extinction of Pauperism" was widely circulated in Paris, and his name was cheered with those of the socialist candidates Barbès and Louis Blanc.[26]

    The Moderate Republican leaders of the provisional government, Lamartine and Cavaignac, considered arresting him as a dangerous revolutionary, but once again he outmaneuvered them. He wrote to the President of the Provisional Government: "I believe I should wait to return to the heart of my country, so that my presence in France will not serve as a pretext to the enemies of the Republic."[27]

    In June 1848, the June Days Uprising broke out in Paris, led by the far left, against the conservative majority in the National Assembly. Hundreds of barricades appeared in the working-class neighborhoods. General Cavaignac, the leader of the army, first withdrew his soldiers from Paris to allow the insurgents to deploy their barricades, and then returned with overwhelming force to crush the uprising; from 24 to 26 June, there were battles in the streets of the working class districts of Paris. An estimated five thousand insurgents were killed at the barricades, fifteen thousand were arrested, and four thousand deported.[28]

    His absence from Paris meant that Louis Napoleon was not connected either with the uprising, or with the brutal repression that had followed. He was still in London on 17–18 September, when the elections for the National Assembly were held, but he was a candidate in thirteen departments. He was elected in five departments; in Paris, he received 110,000 votes of the 247,000 cast, the highest number of votes of any candidate. He returned to Paris on 24 September, and this time he took his place in the National Assembly. In seven months, he had gone from a political exile in London to a highly visible place in the National Assembly, as the government finished the new Constitution and prepared for the first election ever of a President of the French Republic.[29]

    The new constitution of the Second Republic, drafted by a commission including Alexis de Tocqueville, called for a strong executive and a president elected by popular vote through universal male suffrage, rather than chosen by the National Assembly.[30] The elections were scheduled for 10–11 December 1848. Louis Napoleon promptly announced his candidacy. There were four other candidates for the post: General Cavaignac, who had led the suppression of the June uprisings in Paris; Lamartine, the poet-philosopher and leader of the provisional government; Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, the leader of the socialists; and Raspail, the leader of the far left wing of the socialists.[31]

    Louis Napoleon established his campaign headquarters and residence at the Hotel du Rhin on Place Vendôme. He was accompanied by his companion, Harriet Howard, who gave him a large loan to help finance his campaign. He rarely went to the sessions of the National Assembly and rarely voted. He was not a gifted orator; he spoke slowly, in a monotone, with a slight German accent from his Swiss education. His opponents sometimes ridiculed him, one comparing him to "a turkey who believes he's an eagle".[32]

    His campaign appealed to both the left and right. His election manifesto proclaimed his support for "religion, family, property, the eternal basis of all social order". But it also announced his intent "to give work to those unoccupied; to look out for the old age of the workers; to introduce in industrial laws those improvements which don't ruin the rich, but which bring about the well-being of each and the prosperity of all".[33]

    His campaign agents, many of them veterans from Napoleon Bonaparte's army, raised support for him around the country. Louis Napoleon won the grudging endorsement of the conservative leader Adolphe Thiers, who believed he could be the most easily controlled; Thiers called him "of all the candidates, the least bad".[34] He won the backing of

    Louis Napoleon established his campaign headquarters and residence at the Hotel du Rhin on Place Vendôme. He was accompanied by his companion, Harriet Howard, who gave him a large loan to help finance his campaign. He rarely went to the sessions of the National Assembly and rarely voted. He was not a gifted orator; he spoke slowly, in a monotone, with a slight German accent from his Swiss education. His opponents sometimes ridiculed him, one comparing him to "a turkey who believes he's an eagle".[32]

    His campaign appealed to both the left and right. His election manifesto proclaimed his support for "religion, family, property, the eternal basis of all social order". But it also announced his intent "to give work to those unoccupied; to look out for the old age of the workers; to introduce in industrial laws those improvements which don't ruin the rich, but which bring about the well-being of each and the prosperity of all".[33]

    His campaign agents, many of them veterans from Napoleon Bonaparte's army, raised support for him around the country. Louis Napoleon won the grudging endorsement of the conservative leader Adolphe Thiers, who believed he could be the most easily controlled; Thiers called him "of all the candidates, the least bad".[34] He won the backing of L'Evenement, the newspaper of Victor Hugo, which declared, "We have confidence in him; he carries a great name."[35] His chief opponent, General Cavaignac, expected that Louis Napoleon would come in first, but that he would receive less than fifty percent of the vote, which would mean the election would go to the National Assembly, where Cavaignac was certain to win.

    The elections were held on 10–11 December. Results were announced on 20 December. Louis Napoleon was widely expected to win, but the size of his victory surprised almost everyone. He won 5,572,834 votes, or 74.2 percent of votes cast, compared with 1,469,156 for Cavaignac. The socialist Ledru-Rollin received 376,834; the extreme left candidate Raspail 37,106, and the poet Lamartine only 17,000 votes. Louis Napoleon won the support of all segments of the population: the peasants unhappy with rising prices; unemployed workers; small businessmen who wanted prosperity and order; and intellectuals such as Victor Hugo. He won the votes of 55.6 percent of all registered voters, and won in all but four of France's departments.[36]

    The 1848 presidential campaign pitted Louis Napoleon against General Cavaignac, the Minister of Defense of the Provisional Government, and the leaders of the socialists.

  • Prince-President (1848–1851)

    Louis Napoleon moved his residence to the Élysée Palace at the end of December 1848 and immediately hung a portrait of his mother in the boudoir and a portrait of Napoléon Bonaparte, in his coronation robes, in the grand salon. Adolphe Thiers recommended that he wear clothing of "democratic simplicity," but, following the model of his uncle, he chose instead the uniform of the General-in-Chief of the National Guard, and chose the title of "Prince-President".Élysée Palace at the end of December 1848 and immediately hung a portrait of his mother in the boudoir and a portrait of Napoléon Bonaparte, in his coronation robes, in the grand salon. Adolphe Thiers recommended that he wear clothing of "democratic simplicity," but, following the model of his uncle, he chose instead the uniform of the General-in-Chief of the National Guard, and chose the title of "Prince-President".[37]

    temporal authority of Pope Pius IX, who was being threatened by the troops of the Italian republicans Mazzini and Garibaldi. The French troops came under fire from Garibaldi's soldiers. The Prince-President, without consulting his ministers, ordered his soldiers to fight if needed in support of the Pope. This was very popular with French Catholics, but infuriated the republicans, who supported Garibaldi.[37] To please the radical republicans, he asked the Pope to introduce liberal reforms and the Code Napoleon to the Papal States. To gain support from the Catholics, he approved the Loi Falloux in 1851, which restored a greater role for the Catholic Church in the French educational system.[38]

    Elections were held for the National Assembly on 13–14 May 1849, only a few months after Louis Napoleon had become president, and were largely won by a coalition of conservative republicans—which Catholics and monarchists called "The Party of Order"—led by Adolphe Thiers. The socialists and "red" republicans, led by Ledru-Rollin and Raspail, also did well, winning two hundred seats. The moderate republicans, in the middle, did very badly, taking just 70-80 seats. The Party of Order had a clear majority, enough to block any initiatives of Louis Napoleon.[39]

    On 11 June 1849 the socialists and radical republicans made an attempt to seize power. Ledru-Rollin, from his headquarters in the Conservatory of Arts and Professions, declared that Louis Napoleon was no longer President and called for a general uprising. A few barricades appeared in the working-class neighborhoods of Paris. Louis Napoleon acted swiftly, and the uprising was short-lived. Paris was declared in a state of siege, the headquarters of the uprising was surrounded, and the leaders arrested. Ledru-Rollin fled to England, Raspail was arrested and sent to prison, the republican clubs were closed, and their newspapers closed down.

    The National Assembly, now without the left republicans and determined to keep them out forever, proposed a new election law that placed restrictions on universal male suffrage, imposing a three-year residency requirement. This new law excluded 3.5 of 9 million French voters, the voters that the leader of the Party of Order, Adolphe Thiers, scornfully called "the vile multitude".[40] This new election law was

    Elections were held for the National Assembly on 13–14 May 1849, only a few months after Louis Napoleon had become president, and were largely won by a coalition of conservative republicans—which Catholics and monarchists called "The Party of Order"—led by Adolphe Thiers. The socialists and "red" republicans, led by Ledru-Rollin and Raspail, also did well, winning two hundred seats. The moderate republicans, in the middle, did very badly, taking just 70-80 seats. The Party of Order had a clear majority, enough to block any initiatives of Louis Napoleon.[39]

    On 11 June 1849 the socialists and radical republicans made an attempt to seize power. Ledru-Rollin, from his headquarters in the Conservatory of Arts and Professions, declared that Louis Napoleon was no longer President and called for a general uprising. A few barricades appeared in the working-class neighborhoods of Paris. Louis Napoleon acted swiftly, and the uprising was short-lived. Paris was declared in a state of siege, the headquarters of the uprising was surrounded, and the leaders arrested. Ledru-Rollin fled to England, Raspail was arrested and sent to prison, the republican clubs were closed, and their newspapers closed down.

    The National Assembly, now without the left republicans and determined to keep them out forever, proposed a new election law that placed restrictions on universal male suffrage, imposing a three-year residency requirement. This new law excluded 3.5 of 9 million French voters, the voters that the leader of the Party of Order, Adolphe Thiers, scornfully called "the vile multitude".[40] This new election law was passed in May 1850 by a majority of 433 to 241, putting the National Assembly on a direct collision course with the Prince-President.[41] Louis Napoleon broke with the Assembly and the conservative ministers opposing his projects in favour of the dispossessed. He secured the support of the army, toured the country making populist speeches that condemned the Assembly, and presented himself as the protector of universal male suffrage. He demanded that the law be changed, but his proposal was defeated in the Assembly by a vote of 355 to 348.[42]

    According to the Constitution of 1848, he had to step down at the end of his term, so Louis Napoleon sought a constitutional amendment to allow him to succeed himself, arguing that four years were not enough to fully implement his political and economic program. He toured the country and gained support from many of the regional governments and many within the Assembly. The vote in July 1851 was 446 to 278 in favor of changing the law and allowing him to run again, but this was short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution.[43]

    Louis Napoleon believed that he was supported by the people, and he decided to retain power by other means. His half-brother Morny and a few close advisors quietly began to organize a coup d'état. They brought Major General Jacques Leroy de Saint Arnaud, a former captain from the French Foreign Legion and a commander of French forces in Algeria, and other officers from the French army in North Africa, to provide military backing for the coup. The date set for the coup was 2 December, the anniversary of the Battle of Austerlitz and the anniversary of the coronation of Louis Napoleon's uncle Napoleon I. On the night of 1–2 December, Saint Arnaud's soldiers quietly occupied the national printing office, the Palais Bourbon, newspaper offices, and the strategic points in the city. In the morning, Parisians found posters around the city announcing the dissolution of the National Assembly, the restoration of universal suffrage, new elections, and a state of siege in Paris and the surrounding departments. Sixteen members of the National Assembly were arrested in their homes. When about 220 deputies of the moderate right gathered at the city hall of the 10th arrondissement, they were also arrested.[44] On 3 December, writer Victor Hugo and a few other republicans tried to organize an opposition to the coup. A few barricades appeared, and about 1,000 insurgents came out in the streets, but the army moved in force with 30,000 troops and the uprisings were swiftly crushed, with the killing of an estimated 300 to 400 opponents of the coup.[45] There were also small uprisings in the more militant red republican towns in the south and center of France, but these were all put down by 10 December.[46]

    Louis Napoleon followed the self-coup by a period of repression of his opponents, aimed mostly at the red republicans. About 26,000 people were arrested, including 4,000 in Paris alone. The 239 inmates who were judged most severely were sent to the penal colony in Cayenne.[47] 9,530 followers were sent to French Algeria, 1,500 were expelled from France, and another 3,000 were given forced residence away from their homes.[48] Soon afterwards, a commission of revision freed 3,500 of those sentenced. In 1859, the remaining 1800 prisoners and exiles were amnestied, with the exception of the republican leader Ledru-Rollin, who was released from prison but required to leave the country.[49]

    Strict press censorship was enacted by a decree from 17 February 1852. No newspaper dealing with political or social questions could be published without the permission of the government, fines were increased, and the list of press offenses was expanded. After three warnings, a newspaper or journal could be suspended or even permanently closed.[50]

    Louis Napoleon wished to demonstrate that his new government had a broad popular mandate, so self-coup by a period of repression of his opponents, aimed mostly at the red republicans. About 26,000 people were arrested, including 4,000 in Paris alone. The 239 inmates who were judged most severely were sent to the penal colony in Cayenne.[47] 9,530 followers were sent to French Algeria, 1,500 were expelled from France, and another 3,000 were given forced residence away from their homes.[48] Soon afterwards, a commission of revision freed 3,500 of those sentenced. In 1859, the remaining 1800 prisoners and exiles were amnestied, with the exception of the republican leader Ledru-Rollin, who was released from prison but required to leave the country.[49]

    Strict press censorship was enacted by a decree from 17 February 1852. No newspaper dealing with political or social questions could be published without the permission of the government, fines were increased, and the list of press offenses was expanded. After three warnings, a newspaper or journal could be suspended or even permanently closed.[50]

    Louis Napoleon wished to demonstrate that his new government had a broad popular mandate, so on 20–21 December a national plebiscite was held asking if voters agreed to the coup. Mayors in many regions threatened to publish the names of any electors who refused to vote. When asked if they agreed to the coup, 7,439,216 voters said yes, 641,737 voted no, and 1.7 million voters abstained.[51] The fairness and legality of the referendum was immediately questioned by Louis Napoleon's critics,[52] but Louis Napoleon was convinced that he had been given a public mandate to rule.

    Hugo, who had originally supported Louis Napoleon but had been infuriated by the coup d'état, departed Paris for Brussels by train on 11 December 1851. He became the most bitter critic of Louis Napoleon, rejected the amnesty offered him, and did not return to France for twenty years.[53]

    D'Allonville's cavalry patrolled Paris during Napoleon's 1851 coup. Three to four hundred people were killed in street fighting after the coup d'état.

  • A caricature of Victor Hugo by Honoré Daumier from July 1849. Hugo supported Louis

    A caricature of Victor Hugo by Honoré Daumier from July 1849. Hugo supported Louis Napoleon in the election for president, but after the coup d'état went into exile and became his most relentless and eloquent enemy.

  • Middle years

    A New Empire

    California and Australia increased the European money supply. In the early years of the Empire, the economy also benefited from the coming of age of those born during the baby boom of the Restoration period.[63] The steady rise of prices caused by the increase of the money supply encouraged company promotion and investment of capital.

    Beginning in 1852, Napoleon III encouraged the creation of new banks, such as Crédit Mobilier, which sold shares to the public and provided loans to both private industry and to the government. Crédit Lyonnais was founded in 1863 and Société Générale in 1864. These banks provided the funding for Napoleon III's major projects, from railway and canals to the rebuilding of Paris.

    In 1851, France had only 3,500 kilometers of railway, compared with 10,000 kilometers in England and 800 kilometers in Belgium, a country one-twentieth the size of France. Within days of the coup d'état of 1851, Napoleon III's Minister of Public Works launched a project to build a railway line around Paris, connecting the different independent lines coming into Paris from around the country. The government provided guarantees for loans to build new lines and urged railway companies to consolidate. There were 18 railway companies in 1848 and six at the end of the Empire. By 1870, France had 20,000 kilometers of railway linked to the French ports and to the railway systems of the neighbouring countries that carried over 100 million passengers a year and transported the products of France's new steel mills, mines and factories.[64]

    New shipping lines were created and ports rebuilt in Marseille and Le Havre, which connected France by sea to the US, Latin America, North Africa and the Far East. During the Empire, the number of steamships tripled, and by 1870, France possessed the second-largest maritime fleet in the world after England.[65] Napoleon III backed the greatest maritime project of the age, the construction of the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869. The canal project was funded by shares on the Paris stock market and led by a former French diplomat, Ferdinand de Lesseps. It was opened by the Empress Eugénie with a performance of Verdi's opera Aida.[66]

    The rebuilding of central Paris also encouraged commercial expansion and innovation. The first department store, Bon Marché, opened in Paris in 1852 in a modest building and expanded rapidly, its income increasing from 450,000 francs a year to 20 million. Its founder, Aristide Boucicaut, commissioned a new glass and iron building designed by Louis-Charles Boileau and Gustave Eiffel that opened in 1869 and became the model for the modern department store. Other department stores quickly appeared: Au Printemps in 1865 and La Samaritaine in 1870. They were soon imitated around the world.[67]

    Napoleon III's program also included reclaiming farmland and reforestation. One such project in the Gironde department drained and reforested 10,000 square kilometers (3,900 square miles) of moorland, creating the Landes forest, the largest maritime pine forest in Europe.

    Reconstruction of Paris (1854–1870)

  • The Paris Opera was the centerpiece of Napoleon III's new Paris. The architect, Charles Garnier, described the style simply as "Napoleon the Third".

  • Paris Opera was the centerpiece of Napoleon III's new Paris. The architect, Charles Garnier, described the style simply as "Napoleon the Third".

  • The Bois de Boulogne, transformed by Napoleon III betwee

    The Bois de Boulogne, transformed by Napoleon III between 1852 and 1858, was designed to give a place for relaxation and recreation to all the classes of Paris.

  • Search for a wife

    Harriet Howard, who attended receptions at the Élysée Palace and traveled around France with him. He quietly sent a diplomatic delegation to approach the family of Princess Carola of Vasa, the granddaughter of deposed King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. They declined because of his Catholic religion and the political uncertainty about his future, as did the family of Princess Adelheid of Hohenlohe-Langenburg, a niece of Queen Victoria.

    Louis-Napoleon finally announced that he found the right woman: a Spaniard called Eugénie du Derje de Montijo, age 23, 20th Countess of Teba and 15th Marchioness of Ardales. She received much of her education in Paris. Her beauty attracted Louis-Napoleon, who, as was his custom, tried to seduce her, but Eugénie told him to wait for marriage. The civil ceremony took place at Tuileries Palace on 22 January 1853, and a much grander ceremony was held a few days later at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. In 1856, Eugénie gave birth to a son and heir-apparent, Napoléon, Prince Imperial.[74]

    Eugénie du Derje de Montijo, age 23, 20th Countess of Teba and 15th Marchioness of Ardales. She received much of her education in Paris. Her beauty attracted Louis-Napoleon, who, as was his custom, tried to seduce her, but Eugénie told him to wait for marriage. The civil ceremony took place at Tuileries Palace on 22 January 1853, and a much grander ceremony was held a few days later at the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. In 1856, Eugénie gave birth to a son and heir-apparent, Napoléon, Prince Imperial.[74]

    With an heir to the throne secured, Napoleon III resumed his "petites distractions" with other women. Eugénie faithfully performed the duties of an empress, entertaining guests and accompanying the Emperor to balls, opera, and theater. She traveled to Egypt to open the Suez Canal and officially represented him whenever he traveled outside France.

    Though a fervent Catholic and conservative on many other issues, she strongly advocated equality for women. She pressured the Ministry of National Education to give the first baccalaureate diploma to a woman and tried unsuccessfully to induce the Académie française to elect the writer George Sand as its first female member.[75]

    Foreign policy (1852–1860)Though a fervent Catholic and conservative on many other issues, she strongly advocated equality for women. She pressured the Ministry of National Education to give the first baccalaureate diploma to a woman and tried unsuccessfully to induce the Académie française to elect the writer George Sand as its first female member.[75]

    In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world as a supporter of popular sovereignty and nationalism.[76] In Europe, he allied himself with Britain and defeated Russia in the Crimean War (1854–56). French troops assisted Italian unification by fighting on the side of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In return, France received Savoy and the county of Nice in 1860. Later, however, to appease fervent French Catholics, he sent soldiers to defend the residual Papal States against annexation by Italy.[77][78]

    Principle of Nationalities

    In a speech at Bordeaux shortly after becoming Emperor, Napoleon III proclaimed that "The Empire means peace" ("L'Empire, c'est la paix"), reassuring foreign governments that he would not attack other European powers in order to extend the French Empire. He was, however, determined to follow a strong foreign policy to extend France's influence and warned that he would not stand by and allow another European power to threaten its neighbour.

    At the beginning of his reign, he was also an advocate of a new "principle of nationalities" (principe des nationalités) that supported the creation of new states based on nationality, such as Italy, in place of the old multinational empires, such as the Habsburg Monarchy (or Empire of Austria, known since 1867 as Austria-Hungary). In this he was influenced by his uncle's policy as described in the Mémorial de Sainte-Hélène. In all of his foreign policy ventures, he put the interests of France first. Napoleon III felt that new states created on the basis of national identity would become natural allies and partners of France.[79]

    Alliance with Britain and the Crimean War (1853–1856)