Napoleon III later proclaimed himself Emperor of the French and founded the Second Empire, reigning until the defeat of the French Army and his capture by Prussia and its allies at the Battle of Sedan in 1870.
201 Facts About Napoleon III
Napoleon III was a popular monarch who oversaw the modernization of the French economy and filled Paris with new boulevards and parks.
Napoleon III expanded the French overseas empire, made the French merchant navy the second largest in the world, and personally engaged in two wars.
Napoleon III commissioned a grand reconstruction of Paris carried out by the man he appointed as prefect of the Seine, Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann.
Napoleon III expanded and consolidated the railway system throughout the nation and modernized the banking system.
Napoleon III promoted the building of the Suez Canal and established modern agriculture, which ended famines in France and made the country an agricultural exporter.
In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world.
Napoleon III's regime assisted Italian unification by defeating the Austrian Empire in the Franco-Austrian War and later annexed Savoy and Nice through the Treaty of Turin as its deferred reward.
Napoleon III was favourable towards the 1859 union of the Danubian Principalities, which resulted in the establishment of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia.
Napoleon III doubled the area of the French colonial empire with expansions in Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
From 1866, Napoleon III had to face the mounting power of Prussia as its Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought German unification under Prussian leadership.
In July 1870, Napoleon III reluctantly declared war on Prussia after pressure from the general public.
The French Army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at Sedan.
Napoleon III was swiftly dethroned and the Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris.
Napoleon III's father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the king of Holland from 1806 until 1810.
Napoleon III's mother was Hortense de Beauharnais, the only daughter of Napoleon's wife Josephine by her first marriage to Alexandre de Beauharnais.
Napoleon III was the first Bonaparte prince born after the proclamation of the empire.
Napoleon III's mother was known to have lovers and Louis Napoleon's enemies, including Victor Hugo, spread the gossip that he was the child of a different man, but most historians agree today that he was the legitimate son of Louis Bonaparte.
Charles-Louis was baptized at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 5 November 1810, with Emperor Napoleon III serving as his godfather and Empress Marie-Louise as his godmother.
Napoleon III's father stayed away, separated from Hortense.
At the age of seven, Louis Napoleon III visited his uncle at the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
Napoleon III held him up to the window to see the soldiers parading in the courtyard of the Carousel below.
Napoleon III last saw his uncle with the family at the Chateau de Malmaison, shortly before Napoleon departed for the Battle of Waterloo.
Hortense and Louis Napoleon III moved from Aix to Bern to Baden, and finally to a lakeside house at Arenenberg in the Swiss canton of Thurgau.
Napoleon III received some of his education in Germany at the gymnasium school at Augsburg, Bavaria.
The lakeside house at Arenenberg, Switzerland, where Louis Napoleon III spent much of his youth and exile.
When Louis Napoleon III was fifteen, his mother Hortense moved to Rome, where the Bonapartes had a villa.
Napoleon III 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.
Napoleon III became friends with the French Ambassador, Francois-Rene Chateaubriand, the father of romanticism in French literature, with whom he remained in contact for many years.
Napoleon III was reunited with his older brother Napoleon-Louis; together they became involved with the Carbonari, secret revolutionary societies fighting Austria's domination of Northern Italy.
Napoleon III died in his brother's arms on 17 March 1831.
Hortense wrote an appeal to the King, asking to stay in France, and Louis Napoleon III offered to volunteer as an ordinary soldier in the French Army.
The new King agreed to meet secretly with Hortense; Louis Napoleon III had a fever and did not join them.
The King finally agreed that Hortense and Louis Napoleon III could stay in Paris as long as their stay was brief and incognito.
Louis-Napoleon III was told that he could join the French Army if he would simply change his name, something he indignantly refused to do.
Napoleon III believed a strong emperor existed to execute the will of the people.
Napoleon III published his Reveries politiques or "political dreams" in 1833 at the age of 25, followed in 1834 by Considerations politiques et militaires sur la Suisse, followed in 1839 by Les Idees napoleoniennes, a compendium of his political ideas which was published in three editions and eventually translated into six languages.
Napoleon III based his doctrine upon two ideas: universal suffrage and the primacy of the national interest.
Napoleon III 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".
Napoleon III intended to build a wider European community of nations.
Napoleon III began to plan a coup against King Louis-Philippe.
Napoleon III planned for his uprising to begin in Strasbourg.
On 29 October 1836, Louis Napoleon III arrived in Strasbourg, in the uniform of an artillery officer; he rallied the regiment to his side.
Louis Napoleon III was widely popular in exile and his popularity in France continuously grew after his failed coup in 1836 as it established him as heir to the Bonaparte legend and increased his publicity.
King Louis-Philippe demanded that the Swiss government return Louis Napoleon III to France, but the Swiss pointed out that he was a Swiss soldier and citizen, and refused to hand him over.
Louis Napoleon III thanked his Swiss hosts, and voluntarily left the country.
Louis Napoleon III traveled first to London, then to Brazil, and then to New York City.
Napoleon III met the elite of New York society and the writer Washington Irving.
Napoleon III hurried as quickly as he could back to Switzerland.
Napoleon III reached Arenenberg in time to be with his mother on 5 August 1837, when she died.
Napoleon III was finally buried in Rueil, in France, next to her mother, on 11 January 1838, but Louis Napoleon could not attend, because he was not allowed into France.
Louis Napoleon III returned to London for a new period of exile in October 1838.
Napoleon III had inherited a large fortune from his mother and took a house with 17 servants and several of his old friends and fellow conspirators.
Napoleon III was received by London society and met the political and scientific leaders of the day, including Benjamin Disraeli and Michael Faraday.
Napoleon III did considerable research into the economy of Britain.
Napoleon III strolled in Hyde Park, which he later used as a model when he created the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.
Napoleon III contributed articles to regional newspapers and magazines in towns all over France, becoming quite well known as a writer.
Napoleon III was busy in prison, but unhappy and impatient.
Napoleon III was aware that the popularity of Napoleon Bonaparte was steadily increasing in France; the Emperor was the subject of heroic poems, books and plays.
Napoleon III 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.
Napoleon III went back to his studies at the British Museum.
Napoleon III had an affair with the actress Rachel, the most famous French actress of the period, during her tours to Britain.
Napoleon III was sentenced to prison for life in the fortress of Ham in Northern France.
The room in the fortress of Ham where Louis Napoleon III studied, wrote, and conducted scientific experiments.
Louis Napoleon III met the wealthy heiress Harriet Howard in 1846.
Napoleon III became his mistress and helped fund his return to France.
In February 1848, Louis Napoleon III learned that the French Revolution of 1848 had broken out; Louis Philippe, faced with opposition within his government and army, abdicated.
Napoleon III 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 III to leave Paris "until the city is more calm, and not before the elections for the National Assembly".
Napoleon III did not run in the first elections for the National Assembly, held in April 1848, but three members of the Bonaparte family, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte, Pierre Napoleon Bonaparte, and Lucien Murat were elected; the name Bonaparte still had political power.
Napoleon III's followers were mostly on the left, from the peasantry and working class.
Napoleon III 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.
Louis Napoleon III established his campaign headquarters and residence at the Hotel du Rhin on Place Vendome.
Napoleon III was accompanied by his companion, Harriet Howard, who gave him a large loan to help finance his campaign.
Napoleon III rarely went to the sessions of the National Assembly and rarely voted.
Napoleon III was not a gifted orator; he spoke slowly, in a monotone, with a slight German accent from his Swiss education.
Napoleon III's campaign appealed to both the left and right.
Louis Napoleon III 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".
Louis Napoleon III was widely expected to win, but the size of his victory surprised almost everyone.
Napoleon III won 5,572,834 votes, or 74.2 percent of votes cast, compared with 1,469,156 for Cavaignac.
Louis Napoleon III won the support of all segments of the population: the peasants unhappy with rising prices and high taxes; unemployed workers; small businessmen who wanted prosperity and order; and intellectuals such as Victor Hugo.
Napoleon III won the votes of 55.6 percent of all registered voters, and won in all but four of France's departments.
Louis Napoleon III moved his residence to the Elysee Palace at the end of December 1848 and immediately hung a portrait of his mother in the boudoir and a portrait of Napoleon III Bonaparte, in his coronation robes, in the grand salon.
Napoleon III made his first venture into foreign policy, in Italy, where as a youth he had joined in the patriotic uprising against the Austrians.
Ledru-Rollin, from his headquarters in the Conservatory of Arts and Professions, declared that Louis Napoleon III was no longer President and called for a general uprising.
Louis Napoleon III broke with the Assembly and the conservative ministers opposing his projects in favour of the dispossessed.
Napoleon III 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.
Napoleon III demanded that the law be changed, but his proposal was defeated in the Assembly by a vote of 355 to 348.
Napoleon III toured the country and gained support from many of the regional governments and many within the Assembly.
Louis Napoleon III believed that he was supported by the people, and he decided to retain power by other means.
Louis Napoleon III followed the self-coup by a period of repression of his opponents, aimed mostly at the red republicans.
One such critic was Victor Hugo, who had originally supported Louis Napoleon III but had been infuriated by the coup d'etat, departed for Brussels on 11 December 1851.
Napoleon III became the most bitter critic of Louis Napoleon, rejected the amnesty offered to him, and did not return to France for twenty years.
Under the new constitution, Louis-Napoleon III was automatically reelected as president.
Napoleon III was given the absolute authority to declare war, sign treaties, form alliances and initiate laws.
Louis Napoleon III's government imposed new authoritarian measures to control dissent and reduce the power of the opposition.
The new Assembly included a small number of opponents of Louis Napoleon III, including 17 monarchists, 18 conservatives, two liberal democrats, three republicans and 72 independents.
Napoleon III wants to do extraordinary things but is only capable of extravagances.
One of the first priorities of Napoleon III was the modernisation of the French economy, which had fallen far behind that of the United Kingdom and some of the German states.
Napoleon III wanted the government to play an active, not a passive, role in the economy.
Napoleon III opened up French markets to foreign goods, such as railway tracks from England, forcing French industry to become more efficient and more competitive.
Napoleon III backed the greatest maritime project of the age, the construction of the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869.
Napoleon III began his regime by launching a series of enormous public works projects in Paris, hiring tens of thousands of workers to improve the sanitation, water supply and traffic circulation of the city.
Napoleon III installed a large map of Paris in a central position in his office, and he and Haussmann planned the new Paris.
Napoleon III completely rebuilt the Paris sewers and installed miles of pipes to distribute gas for thousands of new streetlights along the Paris streets.
Napoleon III built two new railway stations: the Gare de Lyon and the Gare du Nord.
Napoleon III completed Les Halles, the great cast iron and glass pavilioned produce market in the center of the city, and built a new municipal hospital, the Hotel-Dieu, in the place of crumbling medieval buildings on the Ile de la Cite.
Napoleon III wanted to build new parks and gardens for the recreation and relaxation of the Parisians, particularly those in the new neighbourhoods of the expanding city.
Napoleon III transformed the Bois de Boulogne into a park to the west of Paris.
Napoleon III created some twenty small parks and gardens in the neighbourhoods as miniature versions of his large parks.
The intention of Napoleon III's plan was to have one park in each of the eighty "quartiers" of Paris, so that no one was more than a ten-minute walk from such a park.
Georges-Eugene Haussmann and Napoleon III make official the annexation of eleven communes around Paris to the city.
Napoleon III was still attached to his companion Harriet Howard, who attended receptions at the Elysee Palace and traveled around France with him.
Napoleon III quietly sent a diplomatic delegation to approach the family of Princess Carola of Vasa, the granddaughter of deposed King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden.
Napoleon III's beauty attracted Louis-Napoleon, who, as was his custom, tried to seduce her, but Eugenie told him to wait for marriage.
Napoleon III traveled to Egypt to open the Suez Canal and officially represented him whenever he traveled outside France.
Napoleon III pressured the Ministry of National Education to give the first baccalaureate diploma to a woman and tried unsuccessfully to induce the Academie francaise to elect the writer George Sand as its first female member.
In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world as a supporter of popular sovereignty and nationalism.
Napoleon III was 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.
Napoleon III felt that new states created on the basis of national identity would become natural allies and partners of France.
Napoleon III expressed his conviction that "Louis-Napoleon was resolved on a forward foreign policy".
Napoleon III was actually determined to increase the country's naval power.
Napoleon III had lived there while in exile and saw Britain as a natural partner in the projects he wished to accomplish.
Napoleon III had fought with the Italian patriots against the Austrians when he was young and his sympathy was with them, but the Empress, most of his government and the Catholic Church in France supported the Pope and the existing governments.
In July 1858, Napoleon III arranged a secret visit by Count Cavour.
In exchange, Napoleon III asked for Savoy and the then bilingual County of Nice, which had been taken from France after Napoleon's fall in 1815 and given to Piedmont-Sardinia.
Napoleon III approached Lord Derby and his government; Britain was against the war, but agreed to remain neutral.
Still facing strong opposition within his own government, Napoleon III offered to negotiate a diplomatic solution with the twenty-eight-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in the spring of 1858.
Napoleon III responded on 26 January 1859 by signing a treaty of alliance with Piedmont-Sardinia.
Napoleon III promised to send two hundred thousand soldiers to help one hundred thousand soldiers from Piedmont-Sardinia to force the Austrians out of Northern Italy; in return, France would receive the County of Nice and Savoy provided that their populations would agree in a referendum.
Napoleon III wisely left the fighting to his professional generals.
Napoleon III's army had been reinforced and numbered 130,000 men, roughly the same as the French and Piedmontese, though the Austrians were superior in artillery.
Napoleon III was horrified by the thousands of dead and wounded on the battlefield.
Napoleon III wrote to the Pope and suggested that he "make the sacrifice of your provinces in revolt and confide them to Victor Emmanuel".
The Pope, furious, declared in a public address that Napoleon III was a "liar and a cheat".
Napoleon III's support for the Italian patriots and his confrontation with Pope Pius IX over who would govern Rome made him unpopular with fervent French Catholics, and even with Empress Eugenie, who was a fervent Catholic.
Napoleon III sought, but was unable to find, a diplomatic solution that would allow him to withdraw French troops from Rome while guaranteeing that the city would remain under Papal control.
Napoleon III was less engaged in governing and less attentive to detail, but still sought opportunities to increase French commerce and prestige globally.
In 1862, Napoleon III sent troops to Mexico in an effort to establish an allied monarchy in the Americas, with Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria enthroned as Emperor Maximilian I The Second Mexican Empire faced resistance from the republican government of President Benito Juarez, however.
Napoleon III's military was stretched very thin; he had committed 40,000 troops to Mexico, 20,000 to Rome to guard the Pope against the Italians, as well as another 80,000 in restive Algeria.
Napoleon III realised his predicament and withdrew his troops from Mexico in 1866.
In Southeast Asia, Napoleon III was more successful in establishing control with one limited military operation at a time.
Napoleon III's bedroom was decorated with a talisman from Charlemagne, while his office featured a portrait of Julius Caesar by Ingres and a large map of Paris that he used to show his ideas for the reconstruction of Paris to his prefect of the Seine department, Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann.
In July, the court moved to thermal baths for a health cure, first to Plombieres, then to Vichy, and then, after 1856, to the military camp and residence built at Chalons-sur-Marne, where Napoleon III could take the waters and review military parades and exercises.
Napoleon III had conservative and traditional taste in art: his favourite painters were Alexandre Cabanel and Franz Xaver Winterhalter, who received major commissions, and whose work was purchased for state museums.
Napoleon III's Majesty, wishing to let the public judge the legitimacy of these complaints, has decided that the works of art which were refused should be displayed in another part of the Palace of Industry.
Napoleon III began or completed the restoration of several important historic landmarks, carried out for him by Eugene Viollet-le-Duc.
Napoleon III restored the fleche, or spire, of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris, which had been partially destroyed and desecrated during the French Revolution.
Napoleon III sponsored Viollet-le-Duc's restoration of the Chateau de Vincennes and the Chateau de Pierrefonds, In 1862, he closed the prison which had occupied the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel since the French Revolution, where many important political prisoners had been held, so it could be restored and opened to the public.
Napoleon III began with small projects, such as opening up two clinics in Paris for sick and injured workers, a programme of legal assistance to those unable to afford it, as well as subsidies to companies that built low-cost housing for their workers.
Napoleon III outlawed the practice of employers taking possession of or making comments in the work document that every employee was required to carry; negative comments meant that workers were unable to get other jobs.
Napoleon III issued a decree regulating the treatment of apprentices and limited working hours on Sundays and holidays.
Napoleon III removed from the Napoleonic Code the infamous article 1781, which said that the declaration of the employer, even without proof, would be given more weight by the court than the word of the employee.
At the university level, Napoleon III founded new faculties in Marseille, Douai, Nancy, Clermont-Ferrand and Poitiers and founded a network of research institutes of higher studies in the sciences, history, and economics.
One of the centerpieces of the economic policy of Napoleon III was the lowering of tariffs and the opening of French markets to imported goods.
Napoleon III had been in Britain in 1846 when Prime Minister Robert Peel had lowered tariffs on imported grains, and he had seen the benefits to British consumers and the British economy.
Napoleon III signed the treaty, without consulting with the Assembly, on 23 January 1860.
Napoleon III did retain the right to change the budget estimates section by section.
Napoleon III smoked heavily, distrusted doctors and their advice and attributed any problems simply to "rheumatism", for which he regularly visited the hot springs at Vichy and other spas.
Napoleon III's writing became hard to read and his voice weak.
The British government was suspicious that Napoleon III wanted to take over Belgium and Luxembourg, felt secure with its powerful navy, and did not want any military engagements on the European continent at the side of the French.
In October 1865, Napoleon III had a cordial meeting with Bismarck at Biarritz.
Napoleon III felt he could extract a price from both Prussia and Austria for French neutrality.
Napoleon III still hoped to receive some compensation from Prussia for French neutrality during the war.
Bismarck swiftly intervened and showed the British ambassador a copy of Napoleon's demands; as a result, he put pressure on William III to refuse to sell Luxembourg to France.
Napoleon III gained nothing for his efforts but the demilitarization of the Luxembourg fortress.
Napoleon III was overconfident in his military strength and went into war even after he failed to find any allies who would support a war to stop German unification.
Napoleon III made these offers again in August 1867, on a visit to offer condolences for the death of Maximilian, but the proposal was not received with enthusiasm.
Napoleon III made one last attempt to persuade Italy to be his ally against Prussia.
Italian King Victor Emmanuel was personally favorable to a better relationship with France, remembering the role that Napoleon III had played in achieving Italian unification, but Italian public opinion was largely hostile to France; on 3 November 1867, French and Papal soldiers had fired upon the Italian patriots of Garibaldi, when he tried to capture Rome.
Napoleon III presented a proposed treaty of alliance on 4 June 1869, the anniversary of the joint French-Italian victory at Magenta.
Napoleon III had named a new foreign minister, Antoine Agenor, the Duke de Gramont, who was hostile to Bismarck.
King Wilhelm had no desire to enter into a war against Napoleon III and did not pursue the subject further.
Napoleon III asked Marshal Leboeuf, the chief of staff of the French army, if the army was prepared for a war against Prussia.
Napoleon III assured the Emperor that the French army could have four hundred thousand men on the Rhine in less than fifteen days.
Napoleon III was accompanied by the 14-year-old Prince Imperial in the uniform of the army, by his military staff, and by a large contingent of chefs and servants in livery.
Napoleon III chose General Cousin-Montauban, better known as the Count of Palikao, seventy-four years old and former commander of the French expeditionary force to China, as her new prime minister.
Napoleon III proposed returning to Paris, realizing that he was not doing any good for the army.
Napoleon III was at Chalons-sur-Marne with the army of Marshal Patrice de MacMahon.
Finally, at one o'clock in the afternoon, Napoleon III emerged from his reverie and ordered a white flag hoisted above the citadel.
Napoleon III expected to see King William, but instead he was met by Bismarck and the German commander, General von Moltke.
Napoleon III asked that his army be disarmed and allowed to pass into Belgium, but Bismarck refused.
Napoleon III told the King that he had not wanted the war, but that public opinion had forced him into it.
That evening, from the Chateau, Napoleon III wrote to the Empress Eugenie:.
Napoleon III continued to write political tracts and letters and dreamed of a return to power.
Napoleon III was received by Queen Victoria, who visited him at Chislehurst.
Louis-Napoleon III had a longtime connection with Chislehurst and Camden Place: years earlier, while exiled in England, he had often visited Emily Rowles, whose father had owned Camden Place in the 1830s.
Napoleon III had assisted his escape from French prison in 1846.
Napoleon III had paid attention to another English girl, Elizabeth Howard, who later gave birth to a son, whose father settled property on her to support the son, via a trust whose trustee was Nathaniel Strode.
Napoleon III passed his time writing and designing a stove which would be more energy efficient.
Napoleon III was given last rites and died on 9 January 1873.
Napoleon III was originally buried at St Mary's, the Catholic church in Chislehurst.
Napoleon III's affairs were not trivial sideshows: they distracted him from governing, affected his relationship with the empress, and diminished him in the views of the other European courts.
Napoleon III was coached by her mother and her friend, Prosper Merimee.
Napoleon III directed the building of the French railway network, which contributed to the development of the coal mining and steel industry in France.
The concert was based on stability and balance of powers, whereas Napoleon III attempted to rearrange the world map to France's advantage.
The historical reputation of Napoleon III is far below that of his uncle, and had been heavily tarnished by the empire's military failures in Mexico and against Prussia.
In France, such arch-opposition from the age's central literary figure, whose attacks on Napoleon III were obsessive and powerful, made it impossible for a very long time to assess his reign objectively.
Napoleon III forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.
Napoleon III is given high credits for the rebuilding of Paris with broad boulevards, striking public buildings, very attractive residential districts for upscale Parisians, and great public parks, including the Bois de Boulogne and Bois de Vincennes, used by all classes of Parisians.
Napoleon III badly mishandled the threat from Prussia and found himself without allies in the face of overwhelming force.