Napoleon III
First President of the French Republic and last monarch of France
Napoleon III
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 2 December 1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation.
Biography
Napoleon III's personal information overview.
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EXCERPT; Excerpt - The Crimean War - By Orlando Figes
NYTimes - over 5 years
Introduction In the parish church of Witchampton in Dorset there is a memorial to commemorate five soldiers from this peaceful little village who fought and died in the Crimean War. The inscription reads: DIED IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY. THEIR BODIES ARE IN THE CRIMEA. MAY THEIR SOULS REST IN PEACE. MDCCCLIV In the communal cemetery of
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STREETSCAPES | UPPER WEST SIDE; Twins, but They Don't Dress Alike
NYTimes - over 5 years
THE unique development of one West Side block produced an unusual pair of near-twin buildings. But no matter how far out the windows they stretch, the residents of the Evanston, at 90th and West End, will never be able to see the facade of its mate, the Admaston, at 89th and Broadway. After the Civil War, big things were expected of Broadway on the
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Estate of Dallas Socialites Ray and Clare Stern Brings $175000+ at Heritage ... - Art Daily
Google News - over 5 years
The other top highlights from the Estate of Ray and Clare Stern include a pair of monumental French Napoleon III style bronze, gilt bronze and marble figural 13-light Torcheres, which realized an impressive $29875; a French gilt bronze and gilt wood
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Culture at its heart - The Riviera Times
Google News - over 5 years
The French statesman, who also served as prime minister to Napoleon III, had already been married to Blandine, daughter of Franz Liszt and sister of Cosima Wagner, for three years by that stage. Ollivier had many links to the literary and artistic
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Sentimental Journeys - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
Ms. Caro's husband is a stalwart admirer of Napoleon I. Her own hero, however, is the great emperor's underrated nephew Napoleon III, because it was he who hired master planner Baron Haussmann to clear the slums of Paris
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French and English Furniture and Decorative Arts Highlight June Auction at ... - Art Daily
Google News - over 5 years
$45000-65000, sold for $54900); an impressive Napoleon III gilt bronze, champlevé and onyx jardinière, third quarter 19th century (est. $20000-30000, sold for $28060); a Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted kingwood vitrine, late 19th century (est
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Winged Victory - Style.com
Google News - over 5 years
Her lavish cocktail in the museum's nineteenth-century apartments of Napoleon III, followed by a sit-down dinner in the Cour Marly sculpture hall, drew over 350 guests, almost all of whom stayed on for an auction under the glass pyramid,
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Cyanide - A Potential Threat to Humans and Animals - Pakistan Daily Times
Google News - over 5 years
Napoleon III was the first to employ hydrogen cyanide as chemical warfare agent. During World Wars I and II, the cyanide gas was used on the battlefield by both sides. Hydrogen cyanide in the form of Zyklon B was also used as a genocidal agent by the
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Not to shock, nor arouse, but to titillate - Daily Star - Lebanon
Google News - over 5 years
Ascending the throne in 1852, Napoleon III determined to clean up the city's act. He commissioned Baron Georges-Eugene Haussmann to redesign the center as an orderly, spacious and sanitary grid. Their radical project resulted in the Paris we know today
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TALK; Operation Seduction
NYTimes - almost 6 years
Elaine Sciolino on Seduction, and France It is not enough to conquer; one must also know how to seduce. - Voltaire, ''Merope'' The first time my hand was kissed a la francaise was in the Napoleon III salon of the Elysee Palace. The one doing the kissing was the president of France. In the fall of 2002, Jacques Chirac was seven years into his
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Some like it haute: French 'palaces' - Financial Times
Google News - almost 6 years
It was Empress Eugénie and Napoleon III's summer residence before it was transformed into a Belle Epoque grand hotel. Although by no means perfect, its imposing presence on the edge of the Atlantic, its spa and swimming pool all make it quite special
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Napoleon III
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  • 1873
    His last words were, "Isn't it true that we weren't cowards at Sedan?" He was given last rites, and died on 9 January 1873.
    More Details Hide Details Napoleon was originally buried at St Mary's, the Catholic Church in Chislehurst. However, after his son, an officer in the British Army, died in 1879 fighting against the Zulus in South Africa, Eugénie decided to build a monastery and a chapel for the remains of Napoleon III and their son. In 1888, the bodies were moved to the Imperial Crypt at St Michael's Abbey, Farnborough, Hampshire, England. Louis Napoleon has a historical reputation as a womanizer, yet he referred to his behaviour in the following manner: "It is usually the man who attacks. As for me, I defend myself, and I often capitulate." He had many mistresses. During his reign, it was the task of Count Felix Bacciochi, his social secretary, to arrange for trysts and to procure women for the emperor's favours. His 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. Among his numerous love affairs and mistresses were:
  • 1872
    Napoleon passed his time writing and designing a stove which would be more energy efficient. In the summer of 1872, his health began to worsen.
    More Details Hide Details Doctors recommended surgery to remove his gallstones. After two operations he became very seriously ill.
  • 1871
    Napoleon had limited funds; he sold properties and jewels, and arrived in England on 20 March 1871.
    More Details Hide Details Napoleon, Eugénie, their son and their entourage settled at Camden Place, a large three-story country house in the village of Chislehurst, a half-hour by train from London. He was received by Queen Victoria, who also visited him at Chislehurst. Louis-Napoleon 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. She had assisted his escape from French prison in 1846. He had also paid attention to another English girl, Elizabeth Howard, who later gave birth to a son, whose father (not Louis-Napoleon) settled property on her to support the son, via a trust whose trustee was Nathaniel Strode. Strode bought Camden Place in 1860 and spent large sums of money transforming it into a French chateau. Strode had also received money from the Emperor, possibly to buy Camden Place and maintain it as a bolt-hole.
  • 1870
    Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian Minister-President (his official title as head of the Prussian government), thought that French vanity would lead to war; he exploited that vanity in the Ems Dispatch in July 1870 and France took the bait and declared war on Prussia.
    More Details Hide Details In his memoirs written long after the war, Bismarck wrote: "I always considered that a war with France would naturally follow a war against Austria... I was convinced that the gulf which was created over time between the north and the south of Germany could not be better overcome than by a national war against the neighbouring people who were aggressive against us. I did not doubt that it was necessary to make a French-German war before the general reorganization of Germany could be realized." As the summer of 1870 approached, pressure mounted on Bismarck to have a war with France as quickly as possible. In Bavaria, the largest of the southern German states, unification with (mostly Protestant) Prussia was being opposed by the Patriotic Party, which favoured a confederacy of (Catholic) Bavaria with (Catholic) Austria. German Protestant public opinion was on the side of unification with Prussia, but might not remain so forever.
    From 5 September 1870 until 19 March 1871, Napoleon III and his entourage of thirteen aides were held in comfortable captivity in a castle at Wilhelmshöhe, near Kassel.
    More Details Hide Details Eugénie traveled incognito to Germany to visit Napoleon. General Bazaine, besieged with a large part of the remaining French army in the fortification of Metz, had on September 23 secret talks with Bismarck's envoys. The idea was that Bazaine established a conservative regime in France, for himself or for Napoleon's son. Bazaine's envoy, who spoke Bismarck at Versailles on October 14, declared that the army in Metz was still loyal to Napoleon. Bazaine was willing to take over power in France after the Germans had defeated the republic in Paris. Because of the weakening of the French overall position Bismarck lost interest in this option. Napoleon himself proposed on November 27 in a memorandum to Bismarck: After a peace and the surrender of Paris the Prussian king might call the French people to accept Napoleon again as Emperor. But this moment Metz had already fallen, leaving Napoleon without a power basis. Bismarck did not see much chance for a restored empire as Napoleon had looked like a marionette of the enemy. A last initiative of Eugénie failed in January also because of a late arrival of her envoy from London. Bismarck refused to acknowledge the former empress also as this had caused irritations with Britain and Russia. Shortly later, the Germans signed a truce with the French government.
    On 4 August 1870 the Germans attacked with overwhelming force against a French division in Alsatia at the Battle of Wissembourg (German: Weissenburg), forcing it to retreat.
    More Details Hide Details On 5 August the Germans defeated another French Army at the Battle of Spicheren in Lorraine. On 6 August, 140 000 Germans attacked 35 000 French soldiers at the Battle of Wörth; the French lost 19 200 soldiers killed, wounded and captured, and were forced to retreat. The French soldiers fought bravely, and French cavalry and infantry attacked the German lines repeatedly, but the Germans had superior logistics, communications, and leadership. The decisive weapon was the new German Krupp six pound field gun, which had a steel barrel and was loaded by the breech, and had a longer range, more rapid rate of fire, and more accuracy than the bronze muzzle-loading French cannons. The Krupp guns caused terrible casualties in the French ranks. When the news of the French defeats reached Paris on 7 August, it was greeted with disbelief and dismay. Prime Minister Ollivier and the chief of staff of the army, Marshal Leboeuf both resigned. The Empress Eugénie took it upon herself as the Regent to name a new government. She chose General Cousin-Montauban, better known as the Count of Palikao, seventy-four years old, the former commander of the French expeditionary force to China, as her new prime minister. The Count of Palikao named Maréchal François Achille Bazaine, the commander of the French forces in Lorraine, as the new military commander. Napoleon III proposed returning to Paris, realizing that he was doing no good for the army.
    The news of Leopold's candidacy, published 2 July 1870, aroused fury in the French parliament and press.
    More Details Hide Details The government was attacked by both the republicans and monarchist opposition, and by the ultra-bonapartists, for its weakness against Prussia. On 6 July Napoleon III held meeting of his ministers at the château of Saint-Cloud and told them that Prussia must withdraw the Hohenzollern candidacy or there would be a war. He asked Marshal Leboeuf, the chief of staff of the French army, if the army was prepared for a war against Prussia. Leboeuf responded that the French soldiers had a superior rifle to the Prussian rifle, that the French artillery was commanded by an elite corps of officers, and that the army "would not lack a button on its puttees." He assured the Emperor that the French army could have four hundred thousand men on the Rhine in less than fifteen days. King Wilhelm I did not want to be seen as the instigator of the war; he had received messages urging restraint from the Czar, Queen Victoria, and the King of the Belgians. On 10 July, he told Leopold's father that his candidacy should be withdrawn. Leopold resisted the idea, but finally agreed on the 11th, and the withdrawal of the candidacy was announced on the 12th, a diplomatic victory for Napoleon. On the evening of the 12th, after meeting with the Empress and with his foreign minister, Gramont, he decided to push his success a little further; he would ask King Wilhelm to guarantee the Prussian government would never again make such a demand for the Spanish throne.
    In France, patriotic sentiment was also growing. On 8 May 1870, French voters had overwhelmingly supported Napoleon III's program in a national plebiscite, with 7 358 000 votes yes against 1 582 000 votes no, an increase of support of two million votes since the legislative elections in 1869.
    More Details Hide Details The Emperor was less popular in Paris and the big cities, but highly popular in the French countryside. Napoleon had named a new foreign minister, Antoine Agenor, the Duke de Gramont, the French ambassador to Berlin, who was hostile to Bismarck. The Emperor was weak and ill, but the more extreme Bonapartists were prepared to show their strength against the republicans and monarchists in the parliament. In July 1870, Bismarck found a cause for a war in an old dynastic dispute. In September 1868, Queen Isabella II of Spain had been overthrown and exiled to France. The new government of Spain considered several candidates, including Leopold, Prince of Hohenzollern, a cousin of King Wilhelm I of Prussia. At the end of 1869 Napoleon III had let it be known to the Prussian king and his Chancellor Bismarck that a Hohenzollern prince on the throne of Spain would not be acceptable to France. King Wilhelm had no desire to enter into a war against Napoleon III and did not pursue the subject further. At the end of May, however, Bismarck wrote to the father of Leopold, asking him to put pressure upon his son to accept the candidacy to be King of Spain. Leopold, solicited by both his father and Bismarck, agreed.
    By 1870, France had 20 000 kilometers of railway, linked to the French ports and to the railway systems of the neighbouring countries, which carried over 100 million passengers a year and transported the products of France's new steel mills, mines and factories.
    More Details Hide Details New shipping lines were created and ports rebuilt in Marseille and Le Havre, which connected France by sea to the USA, Latin America, North Africa and the Far East. During the Empire the number of steamships tripled, and by 1870 France possessed, after England, the second-largest maritime fleet in the world. Napoleon III backed the greatest maritime project of the age, the construction of the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869. The canal 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. 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 going 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, which opened in 1869, which 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.
  • 1869
    Napoleon presented a proposed treaty of alliance on 4 June 1869, the anniversary of the joint French-Italian victory at Magenta.
    More Details Hide Details The Italians responded by demanding that France withdraw its troops who were protecting the Pope, in Rome. Given the opinion of fervent French Catholics, this was a condition Napoleon III could not accept. While Napoleon III was having no success finding allies, Bismarck signed secret military treaties with the southern German states, who promised to provide troops in the event of a war between Prussia and France. In 1868, Bismarck signed an accord with Russia, giving Russia liberty of action in the Balkans in exchange for neutrality in the event of a war between France and Prussia. This treaty put additional pressure on Austria, which also had interests in the Balkans, not to ally itself with France. Bismarck also reached out to the liberal government of William Gladstone in London, offering to protect the neutrality of Belgium against a French threat. The British Foreign Office under Lord Clarendon mobilized the British Fleet, to dissuade France against any aggressive moves against Belgium. In any war between France and Prussia, France would be entirely alone.
  • 1867
    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.
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    Also, the French attempt to install the archduke Maximilian, the brother of the Austrian Emperor, was just coming to its disastrous conclusion; the French troops had just been withdrawn from Mexico in February 1867, and the unfortunate Maximilian would be captured, judged and shot by a firing squad on 19 June.
    More Details Hide Details 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 also made one last attempt to persuade Italy to be his ally against Prussia.
    Following the defeat of Austria, Napoleon resumed his search for allies against Prussia. In April 1867, he proposed an alliance, defensive and offensive, with Austria.
    More Details Hide Details If Austria joined France in a victorious war against Prussia, Napoleon promised that Austria could form a new confederation with the southern states of Germany and could annex Silesia, while France took for its part the left bank of the Rhine River. But the timing of Napoleon's offer was poorly chosen; Austria was in the process of a major internal reform, creating a new twin monarchy structure with two components, one being the Empire of Austria and the other being the Kingdom of Hungary.
    In the autumn of 1867, Napoleon III proposed a form of universal military service, similar to the Prussian system, to increase the size of the French Army, if needed, to one million.
    More Details Hide Details His proposal was opposed by many French officers, such as Marechal Randon, who preferred a smaller, more professional army; he said: "This proposal will only give us recruits; it's soldiers we need." It was also strongly opposed by the republican opposition in the French parliament, who denounced the proposal as a militarization of French society. The republican deputy, Émile Ollivier, who later became Napoleon's prime minister, declared: "The armies of France, which I always considered too large, are now going to be increased to an exorbitant size. Why? What is the necessity? Where is the danger? Who is threatening us? If France were to disarm, the Germans would know how to convince their governments to do the same. " Facing almost certain defeat in the parliament, Napoleon III withdrew the proposal. It was replaced in January 1868 by a much more modest project to create a garde mobile, or reserve force, to support the army.
  • 1866
    On 12 June 1866, France signed a secret treaty with Austria, guaranteeing French neutrality in a Prussian-Austrian war.
    More Details Hide Details In exchange, in the event of an Austrian victory, Austria would give Veneto to France, and also would create a new independent German state on the Rhine, which would become an ally of France. At the same time, Napoleon proposed a secret treaty with Bismarck, promising that France would remain neutral in a war between Austria and Prussia. In the event of a Prussian victory, France would recognize Prussia's annexation of smaller German states, and France, in exchange, would receive a portion of German territory, the Palatinate region north of Alsatia. Bismarck, rightly confident of success due to the modernization of the Prussian Army, summarily rejected Napoleon's offer. On 15 June, the Prussian Army invaded Saxony, an ally of Austria. On 2 July, Austria asked Napoleon to arrange an armistice between Italy, which had allied itself with Prussia, and Austria, in exchange for which France would receive the Veneto Region. But on 3 July, the Prussian army crushed the Austrian army at the Battle of Sadowa, in Bohemia. The way to Vienna was open for the Prussians, and Austria asked for an armistice. The armistice was signed on 22 July; Prussia annexed the kingdom of Hannover, the Electorate of Hesse-Kassel, the Duchy of Nassau and the Free City of Frankfurt on the Main, with a combined population of four million people.
    In 1866 he added to this an "Edict of Tolerance," which gave factory workers the right to organize.
    More Details Hide Details He issued a decree regulating the treatment of apprentices, limited working hours on Sundays and holidays, and 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. Napoleon III and the Empress Eugénie worked to give girls and women greater access to public education. In 1861, through the direct intervention of the Emperor and the Empress, Julie-Victoire Daubié became the first woman in France to receive the baccalauréat diploma. In 1862, the first professional school for young women was opened, and Madeleine Brès became the first woman to enroll in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Paris. In 1863, he made Victor Duruy, the son of a factory worker and a respected historian, his new Minister of Public Education. Duruy greatly accelerated the pace of the reforms, often coming into conflict with the Catholic church, which wanted the leading role in education. Despite the opposition of the church, Duruy opened schools for girls in each commune with more than five hundred residents, a total of eight hundred new schools.
  • 1864
    His most important social reform was the 1864 law which gave French workers the right to strike, which had been forbidden since 1810.
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  • 1862
    He also sponsored Viollet-le-Duc's restoration of the Château de Vincennes and the Château 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.
    More Details Hide Details From the beginning of his reign Napoleon III launched a series of social reforms aimed at improving the life of the working class. He began with small projects, such as opening up two clinics in Paris for sick and injured workers, a program of legal assistance to those unable to afford it, and subsidies to companies which built low-cost housing for their workers. He 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. In 1866, he encouraged the creation of a state insurance fund to help workers or peasants who became disabled, and to help their widows and families. To help the working class, Napoleon III offered a prize to anyone who could develop an inexpensive substitute for butter; the prize was won by the French chemist Hippolyte Mège-Mouriès, who in 1869 patented a product he named oleomargarine, later shortened to simply margarine.
    In southeast Asia Napoleon III was more successful in establishing control one slice at a time. He took over Cochinchina (the southernmost part of modern Vietnam, including Saigon) in 1862, as well as a protectorate over Cambodia in 1863.
    More Details Hide Details Additionally, France had a sphere of influence during the 19th century and early 20th century in southern China, including a naval base at Kuangchow Bay (Guangzhouwan). Following the model of the Kings of France and of his uncle, Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III moved his official residence to the Tuileries Palace, where he had a suite of rooms on the ground floor of the south wing between the Seine and the "Pavillon de l'Horloge" (Clock pavilion), facing the garden. The word Tuilerie, plural Tuileries, means Brickworks or Tile-making works. The Palace was given that name because the neighbourhood in which it had been built in 1564 was previously known for its numerous mason and tiler businesses. Napoleon III's bedroom was decorated with a talisman from Charlemagne, a symbol of good luck for the Bonaparte family, while his office featured a portrait of Julius Caesar by Ingres, and a large map of Paris, which he used to show his ideas for the reconstruction of Paris to his prefect of the Seine department, Baron Haussmann. The Emperor's rooms were overheated and were filled with smoke, as he smoked cigarette after cigarette. The Empress occupied a suite of rooms just above his, highly decorated in the style of Louis XVI with a pink salon, a green salon and a blue salon.
  • 1859
    Napoleon III, though he had very little military experience, decided to lead the French army in Italy himself. Part of the French army crossed over the Alps, while the other part, with the Emperor, landed in Genes (Genoa) on 18 May 1859.
    More Details Hide Details Fortunately for Napoleon and the Piedmontese, the commander of the Austrians, General Giulay, was not very aggressive. His forces greatly outnumbered the Piedmontese army at Turin, but he hesitated, allowing the French and Piedmontese to unite their forces. Napoleon III wisely left the fighting to his professional generals. The first great battle of the war, on 4 June 1859, was fought at the town of Magenta. It was long and bloody, and the French center was exhausted and nearly broken, but the battle was finally won by a timely attack on the Austrian flank by the soldiers of General MacMahon. The Austrians had seven thousand men killed and five thousand captured, while the French forces had four thousand men killed. The battle was largely remembered because, soon after it was fought, patriotic chemists in France gave the name of the battle to their newly discovered bright purple chemical dye; the dye and the colour took the name magenta.
    It was the Emperor Franz Joseph, growing impatient, who finally unleashed the war. On 23 April 1859 he sent an ultimatum to the government of Piedmont-Sardinia demanding that they stop their military preparations and disband their army.
    More Details Hide Details On 26 April Count Cavour rejected the demands, and on 27 April the Austrian army invaded Piedmont.
  • 1858
    Still facing strong opposition within his own government, In the spring of 1858 Napoleon III offered to negotiate a diplomatic solution with the twenty-eight-year-old Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria, but the Austrians demanded the disarmament of Piedmont-Sardinia first, and sent a fleet with thirty thousand soldiers to reinforce their garrisons in Italy.
    More Details Hide Details Napoleon III responded on 26 January 1859 by signing a treaty of alliance with Piedmont-Sardinia; Napoleon 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.
    Bernard was in London, where, since he was a political exile, the British government refused to extradite him, but Orsini was tried, convicted and executed on 13 March 1858.
    More Details Hide Details The bombing focused the attention of France, and particularly of Napoleon III, on the issue of Italian nationalism. Part of Italy, particularly the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia (officially "Kingdom of Sardinia"), was independent, but Central Italy was still ruled by the Pope and Lombardy, Venice and much of the north was ruled by Austria. Other states were de jure independent (e.g. the Duchy of Parma or the Grand Duchy of Tuscany) but de facto totally under Austrian influence. 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. The British Government was also hostile to the idea of promoting nationalism in Italy. Despite the opposition in his government and in his own palace, Napoleon III did all that he could to support the cause of Piedmont-Sardinia. The King of Piedmont-Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel II, was invited to Paris in November 1855, and given the same royal treatment as Queen Victoria.
    On the evening of 14 January 1858, he and the Empress escaped an assassination attempt unharmed.
    More Details Hide Details A group of conspirators threw three bombs at the royal carriage as it made its way to the opera. Eight members of the escort and bystanders were killed and over one hundred people injured. The culprits were quickly arrested. The leader was an Italian nationalist, Felice Orsini, who was aided by a French surgeon Simon Bernard. They believed that, if Napoleon III were killed, a republican revolt would immediately follow in France, and the new republican government would help all Italian states win independence from Austria and achieve national unification.
  • 1856
    The Paris Peace Conference of 1856 represented a high-water mark for the regime in foreign affairs.
    More Details Hide Details It encouraged Napoleon III to make an even bolder foreign policy venture in Italy.
    Alexander II sought a political solution, and negotiations were held in Paris in the new building of the French Foreign Ministry on the Quai d'Orsay, from 25 February to 8 April 1856.
    More Details Hide Details The Crimean War added three new place names to Paris; Alma, named for the first French victory on the river of that name, Sevastopol, and Malakoff, named for a tower in the center of the Russian line captured by the French. It had two important diplomatic consequences; Alexander II became an ally of France, and Britain and France were reconciled. In April 1855 Napoleon III and Eugénie went to England and were received by the Queen; in turn Victoria visited Paris, the first English monarch to do so in centuries. The defeat of Russia and the alliance with Britain gave France increased authority and prestige in Europe. This was the first war between European powers since the close of the Napoleonic Wars and the Congress of Vienna, marking a breakdown of the alliance system that had maintained peace for nearly half a century. The war also effectively ended the Concert of Europe and the Quadruple Alliance, or "Waterloo Coalition" that the other four powers had established.
  • 1855
    The death of Czar Nicholas I on 2 March 1855, and his replacement by Alexander II, changed the political equation.
    More Details Hide Details In September, after a massive bombardment, the Anglo-French army of fifty thousand men stormed the Russian positions, and the Russians were forced to evacuate Sevastopol.
  • 1853
    He soon had an opportunity; in early 1853, Czar Nicholas I of Russia put pressure on the weak Turkish government, demanding that Turkey give Russia a protectorate over the Christian countries of the Balkans as well as control over Constantinople and the Dardanelles.
    More Details Hide Details Turkey, backed by Britain and France, refused the Russian demands. A joint British-French fleet was sent to support Turkey. When Russia refused to leave the Romanian territories it had occupied, on 27 March 1854 Britain and France declared war. It took France and Britain six months to organize a full-scale military expedition to the Black Sea. The Anglo-French fleet landed thirty thousand French and twenty thousand British soldiers in the Crimea on 14 September, and began to lay siege to the major Russian port of Sevastopol. As the siege dragged on, the French and British armies were reinforced, and troops from the Kingdom of Sardinia joined them, reaching a total of 140 000 soldiers, but they suffered terribly from epidemics of typhus, dysentery and cholera. During the 332 days of the siege, the French lost 95 000 soldiers, 75 000 to disease. The suffering of the army in the Crimea was carefully concealed from the French public by press censorship.
    The civil ceremony took place at Tuileries Palace on 22 January 1853, and a much grander ceremony was held a few days later at Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. In 1856, Eugénie gave birth to a son and heir-apparent, Napoléon, Prince Imperial.
    More Details Hide Details Safe with an heir, 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. In foreign policy, Napoleon III aimed to reassert French influence in Europe and around the world. He was a supporter of popular sovereignty, and of nationalism. In Europe, he allied 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 Piedmont-Sardinia. In return, in 1860 France received Savoy and the county of Nice. Later, however, to appease fervent French Catholics, he sent soldiers to defend the residual Papal States against annexation by Italy.
  • 1852
    Beginning in 1852, he 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.
    More Details Hide Details Crédit Lyonnais was founded in 1863, and Société Générale in 1864. These banks provided the funding for Napoléon 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 Napoléon 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.
    In Bordeaux, on 9 October 1852, he gave his principal speech:
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    A decree on 23 January 1852 forbade the late King's family to own property in France, and annulled the inheritance he had given to his children before he became King.
    More Details Hide Details The National Guard, whose members had sometimes joined anti-government demonstrations, was re-organized, and largely used only in parades. Government officials were required to wear uniforms at official formal occasions. The Minister of Education was given the power to dismiss professors at the universities, and to review the content of their courses. Students at the universities were forbidden to wear beards, seen as a symbol of republicanism. An election was held for a new National Assembly on 29 February 1852, and all the resources of the government were used on behalf of the candidates backing the Prince-President. Of eight million eligible voters, 5,200,000 votes went to the official candidates, and 800,000 to opposition candidates. About one third of the eligible voters abstained. The new assembly included a small number of opponents of Louis-Napoleon, including 17 monarchists, 18 conservatives, two liberal democrats, three republicans and 72 independents.
  • 1851
    The 1851 constitution was retained, with the word "president" replaced by the word "emperor."
    More Details Hide Details One of the first priorities of Napoleon III was the modernization of the French economy, which had fallen far behind that of the United Kingdom and some of the German states. Political economics had long been a passion of the Emperor; while in Britain he had visited factories and railway yards, and in prison he had studied and written about the sugar industry and policies to reduce poverty. He wanted the government to play an active, not a passive role in the economy; in 1839, he had written: "Government is not a necessary evil, as some people claim; it is instead the benevolent motor for the whole social organism." He did not advocate the government getting directly involved in industry. Instead, the government took a very active role in building the infrastructure for economic growth: stimulating the stock market and investment banks (to provide credit); building railways, ports, canals and roads; and providing training and education. He also opened up French markets to foreign goods, such as railway track from England, forcing French industry to become more efficient and competitive.
  • 1850
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Louis-Napoléon 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.
  • 1849
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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. 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.
  • 1848
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He toured the country and gained support from many of the regional governments, and the support of 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 just short of the two-thirds majority needed to amend the constitution. 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 began to quietly 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.
    Louis-Napoléon 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.
    More Details Hide Details 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 Republican Guard, and chose the title of "Prince-President." He also made his first venture into foreign policy, in Italy, where as a youth he had joined in the patriotic uprising against the Austrians. The previous government had sent an expeditionary force to Rome to help restore the 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. 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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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. The conservative 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."
    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.
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    In February 1848, Louis Napoleon learned that the French Revolution of 1848 had broken out, and that Louis-Philippe, faced with opposition within his government and army, had abdicated.
    More Details Hide Details 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."
  • 1846
    They had met in 1846, soon after his return to England.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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. He returned to England, and quickly resumed his place in British society. He lived on King Street in St James's, 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 England. More important for his future career, he had an affair with the wealthy heiress Harriet Howard (1823–65).
  • 1840
    Huge crowds had gathered in Paris on 15 December 1840 when the ashes 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.
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    Living in the comfort of London, he had not given up the dream of returning to France to complete his destiny. 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.
    More Details Hide Details The attempted coup turned into an even greater fiasco than 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. 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." He had a mistress, a young woman from the nearby town named Éléonore Vergeot, who gave birth to two of his children.
  • 1838
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
  • 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 Strasbourg, in the uniform of an officer of artillery, and rallied the regiment to his side.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Louis-Philippe demanded that the Swiss government return Louis-Napoleon to France, but the Swiss pointed out that he was a Swiss 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 Arenenberg in time to be with his mother on 5 October 1837, when she died.
  • 1833
    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 in six languages.
    More Details Hide Details His doctrine was based 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." "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." 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 One Hundred Days, France would rise up and join him. He began to plan a coup against King Louis-Philippe.
  • 1831
    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.
    More Details Hide Details During their flight Napoleon-Louis contracted measles and, on 17 March 1831, died in his brother's arms. Hortense joined her son and together they evaded the police and Austrian army and finally reached the French border. Hortense and Louis-Napoléon travelled incognito to Paris, where the old regime had just fallen and had 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.
  • 1810
    Charles-Louis was baptized at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 5 November 1810, with Emperor Napoleon serving as his godfather and Empress Marie-Louise as his godmother.
    More Details Hide Details His father stayed away, once again separated from Hortense. At the age of seven, Louis-Napoleon visited his uncle at the Tuileries Palace in Paris. Napoleon held him up to the window to see the soldiers parading in the courtyard of the Carousel below. He last saw his uncle with the family at the Château de Malmaison, shortly before Napoleon departed for Waterloo. All members of the Bonaparte dynasty were forced into exile after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo and the Bourbon Restoration of monarchy in France. Hortense and Louis-Napoleon moved from Aix to Berne to Baden, and finally to a lakeside house at Arenenberg in the Swiss canton of Thurgau. He received some of his education in Germany at the gymnasium school at Augsburg, Bavaria. As a result, for the rest of his life his French had a slight but noticeable German accent. His tutor at home was Philippe Le Bas, an ardent republican and the son of a revolutionary and close friend of Robespierre. Le Bas taught him French history and radical politics.
    His father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the King of Holland from 1806 until 1810.
    More Details Hide Details His mother was Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter by the first marriage of Napoleon's wife Joséphine de Beauharnais. As empress, Joséphine proposed the marriage as a way to produce an heir for the Emperor, who agreed, as Joséphine was by then infertile. Louis married Hortense when he was twenty-four and she was nineteen. They had a difficult relationship, and only lived together for brief periods. Their first son died in 1807, and, though separated, they decided to have a third. They resumed their marriage for a brief time in Toulouse in July 1807, and Louis was born premature, two weeks short of nine months. 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. (see Ancestry)
  • 1808
    Born on April 20, 1808.
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