Napoleon III

Napoleon III
Franz Xaver Winterhalter Napoleon III.jpg
Emperor of the French
Reign2 December 1852 –
4 September 1870
Cabinet ChiefsSee list
President of France
In office20 December 1848 –
2 December 1852
Prime MinistersSee list
BornCharles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte
(1808-04-20)20 April 1808
Paris, French Empire
Died9 January 1873(1873-01-09) (aged 64)
Chislehurst, Kent, England, United Kingdom
IssueLouis Napoléon, Prince Imperial
Full name
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
FatherLouis I of Holland
MotherHortense de Beauharnais
ReligionRoman Catholicism

Napoleon III (born 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 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 overseas empire, and engaged in the Crimean War and the Second Italian War of Independence.

Napoleon III commissioned the grand reconstruction of Paris, carried out by his prefect of the Seine, Baron Haussmann. He 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. He was a supporter of popular sovereignty and of nationalism. 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 as its deferred reward later annexed Savoy and the County of Nice. At the same time, his forces defended the Papal States against annexation by Italy. Napoleon III doubled the area of the French overseas empire in Asia, the Pacific and Africa, however his army's 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 entered the Franco-Prussian War without allies and with inferior military forces. The French army was rapidly defeated and Napoleon III was captured at the Battle of Sedan. The French Third Republic was proclaimed in Paris and Napoleon went into exile in England, where he died in 1873.

Childhood and family

Early life

Charles-Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, later known as Louis Napoleon and then Napoleon III, was born in Paris on the night of 20–21 April 1808. His father was Louis Bonaparte, the younger brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, who made Louis the King of Holland from 1806 until 1810. His mother was Hortense de Beauharnais, the only daughter of Napoleon's wife Joséphine de Beauharnais by her first marriage to Alexandre 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.[1] 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 prematurely, 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[2][3] (see ancestry).[4]

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. 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.[5]

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.[6]

Romantic revolutionary (1823–35)

When Louis Napoleon was fifteen, 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.[7] Hortense joined her son and together they evaded the police and Austrian army and finally reached the French border.[8]

Hortense and Louis Napoleon 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. They went to Britain briefly, and then back into exile in Switzerland.[9]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Napoléon III.
አማርኛ: ናፖሌኦን 3ኛ
azərbaycanca: III Napoleon
Bân-lâm-gú: Napoléon 3-sè
беларуская: Напалеон III
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Напалеон III Банапарт
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Deutsch: Napoleon III.
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Esperanto: Napoleono la 3-a
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íslenska: Napóleon 3.
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پنجابی: نپولین تیجا
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ណាប៉ូលេអុងទី៣
Piemontèis: Napoleon III
русский: Наполеон III
sicilianu: Napuliuni III
Simple English: Napoléon III
slovenščina: Napoleon III.
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Tiếng Việt: Napoléon III
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