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Napoleon III

(1808—1873)


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(1808–73)

Emperor of the French (1852–70). He was the third son of Hortense de Beauharnais stepdaughter of Napoleon I and Louis Bonaparte (1778–1846), brother of Napoleon I and King of Holland (1806–10). After the fall of Napoleon I, Napoleon III began a long period of exile in Switzerland. On the death of Napoleon I's only son, the Roi de Rome, in 1832, he became Bonapartist pretender to the French throne and twice attempted to overthrow Louis Philippe, as a result of which he was deported. In 1840 embarked upon the disastrous “Boulogne Conspiracy” to gather supporters. He was arrested and imprisoned in the fortress of Ham. He escaped to London (1846) disguised as a mason by the name of “Badinguet”, which thereafter became his nickname. During the Revolutions of 1848, he returned to France, and in December under the new constitution was elected President of the French Republic. In 1852, following a coup against Parliament, he had himself accepted as Emperor of the French. Napoleon III took part in the Crimean War and presided over the Congress of Paris (1856). His “Liberal Empire” (1860–70) widened the powers of the legislative assembly. Underestimating Bismarck, he allowed the latter's belligerent Ems telegram to provoke him into fighting the Franco-Prussian War, the outcome of which brought ruin to the Second Empire. He was captured by the Prussians and deposed, spending the rest of his life in exile in England.

Subjects: World History.


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