Louis Napoleon and the Second
Louis Napoleon- illustrious name
fired the imagination of the French
A nephew of Napoleon the Great
1848- elected as a president of the
Second French Republic.
Born in 1808 in the palace of the
Tuileries in Paris.
• He was the son of Joseph Bonaparte- the king of
Holland and younger brother of Napoleon the
Great, and Hortense Beauharnais- the daughter
Josephine by her first husband.
• He was well-educated in academic and military
studies, and he was trained since boyhood to
uphold the Napoleonic glory.
• He spent his youth in Switzerland, Savoy and
• 1831-He joined Carbonari- a revolutionary society
in Italy and participated in the unsuccessful
uprising in the papal states.
• 1836- 1840- he was imprisoned in France for his
• 1848- he was elected to the National Assembly,
which established the Second French Republic.
• He was a clever demagogue and a good actor. He
gained the affection of the laborers by mixing with
them and raising their wages.
• He won the friendship of the Catholics by restoring
the privileges of the clergy.
• Sending a French army to Rome to save the Pope
from an uprising.
• Protecting economic interest.
The Second French Empire
• President Louis Napoleon- like his illustrious uncle,
coveted power and glory. But he did not possess
the Napoleonic talent.
• Victor Hugo- critical contemporary of Louis
- a famous writer called him “Napoleon the
December 2, 1851- President Louis Napoleon using
the same tactics employed by his great uncle,
seized the government by coup d’etat.
Courageous leaders of French
• Victor Hugo(poet novalist)
• Adolphe Thiers (historian-
• December 2, 1852- Louis Napoleon was
crowned as Napoleon III, Emperor of French.
• 1852-59- the Empire prospered during the
early years of his reign.
• Commerce and industries expanded
• Agricultural production increased.
• Railroads, roads, and canals were built.
• Prosperity kept both capitalists and laborers
• Paris regained its role as “ the world’s most
• The magnificent court of the Second Empire was
presided over by Empress Eugene- Spanish wife of
Decline of the Second French Empire
• 1859- Napoleon deserted the Sardinians in
the midst of their war against the Austrian.
• 1865- he also abandoned Archduke
Maximillan- the Austrian Prince whom he
had helped to overthrow the Mexican
Republic and rule Mexico as an emperor.
• He withdraw the French forces from Mexico.
• Rash declaration of war on Prussia in 1870
• His country and armies then were woefully
• He was defeated and captured in Sedan on
September 3, 1870.
The Third French Republic (1870-
• September 4, 1870- Napoleon III and the
main French army had surrendered in Sedan.
• The republicans led by the fiery Leon
Gambetta- proclaimed the establishment of
the third French Republic.
• Adolphe Theirs- the newly elected
provisional president, negotiated the Treaty
of Funkfort which ended the Fraco- Prussian
• August 1871- the National Assembly of the
Third French Republic passed the “ Rivet
Law”- authorizing the Assembly to draft a
constitution for the Republic and conferring
on Adolphe Thiers the title of “President of
the French Republic”.
Three Rival Faction
1889- monarchists and clerics supported
General Boulanger- who became so popular
that he could have overthrown the Republic
had been more courageous.
• Dreyfus Affair(1894)- a serious threat to
• Alfred Dreyfus- a Jewish captain, although
innocent, was convicted by a court-martial
and sentenced to life imprisonment on
Devil’s Island off the coast of Guaina.
• Emile Zola- ( French novelist) get Dreyfus