2nd French Empire and (Louis) Napoleon III – r. 1848-1871 Background



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2nd French Empire and (Louis) Napoleon III – r. 1848-1871
Background

-Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew

-Raised in forced exile after Congress of Vienna

-Attempted two coups (1836/1840) during instability of Louis Phillipe’s “July Monarchy”

-hoped to capitalize on Romantic and Nationalistic popular nostalgia for Uncle Napoleon

-Wins popular election in Dec. 1848, after “Bloody June Days (3)” where thousands of radical workers were killed

-As president of republic, battled with monarchists in Parliament

-New constitution mandated one term only, so, towards end of his term:

-Coup d’ etat, complete with new name! (3rd time’s a charm...)
Interlude: Timeline of France’s Ridiculously Complex Politics

-1450-1589 end of “Capetian” or “Valois” Dynasty (name varies by source...)

-1589 after winning “Battle of the Three Henrys,” King Henry IV becomes 1st Bourbon monarch

-1589 – 1789 Bourbon Dynasty, including Louis XIII-XVI

-1789 – French Revolution begins

-1792 – 1804 – First(?) French Republic

-1793 – Louis XVI executed

-1793-1799 – Reign of Terror (the Convention) and the Directory

-1799 –The Consulate (Napoleon’s coup d’etat)

-1804 – 1814 –First French Empire (Napoleon Bonaparte)

-1814 – First Bourbon Restoration after Russia disaster

-1815 – 100 Days until Waterloo definitively ends First Empire

-1815 – 1830 – Second Bourbon RestorationLouis XVIII

-1815-1824 – Louis XVIII reigns

-1824-1830 – Charles X reigns

-1830 – “July Revolution” overthrows Bourbons in favor of Orleans Monarchy (related families...)



-1830-1848 – “July Monarchy” of Louis Phillipe

-1848 – Louis Phillipe forced to abdicate; flees to England

-1848 – 1851 – Second Republic declared

-1848 – Louis Napoleon wins universal male suffrage election

-1851 – Louis Napoleon, in coup d’etat, declared Emperor Napoleon III

-approved by popular referendum

-1851-1870 – Napoleon III and Second French Empire

-1871 – Third Republic declared (after loss in Franco-Prussian War)



-1871-1940 – Third Republic
Napoleon III as Emperor

-Wealthy businessmen became the elite; money replaced “blue blood” as the ultimate status symbol

-Universal male suffrage continued, (1st in Europe) albeit with much gov’t pressure and regular use of the plebiscite

-press censorship employed and opposition candidates thwarted

-Gov’t actively supported modernization efforts ranging from infrastructure (esp. railways) to advanced banking

-Credit Mobilier one of most prominent investment banks in the world

-French exports doubled from 1853-1864!

-all classes enjoyed relative increase in prosperity

-France was lead power in creation of Suez Canal (1869), though probably helped Britain more in the long run

-Business elite generally supported his policies; peasants held emotional attachment to his family and rhetoric; clergy relieved he did not limit their power further

-royalists and socialists formed primary opposition in 1850s
Foreign Policy (in addition to Suez miscalculation...)

-1859: France and Piedmont-Sardinia defeat Austrians; take some land

-early 1860s: expands control of Senegal & sends troops to Lebanon and Indochina

-1861: sends troops to Mexico to protect French interests

-1864: proclaims ½ brother Maximillian to be Emperor of Mexico

-Mexicans (&USA) unhappy; Maximillian executed in 1867

-1868: after being outmaneuvered for control over power in smaller (or weaker, i.e. Spain) states in W. Europe, Napoleon III takes France to war vs. Bismarck’s Prussia (and several German allies)
Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and end of 2nd Empire

-Despite better guns, French overwhelmed by Prussian speed and tactics

-Napoleon III was captured alive within two months

-Parisians declare a Third Republic and fight on

-Prussians besiege Paris; starvation ensues (zoo elephants eaten, fyi...)

-May 1871 provisional gov’t under former Orleanist minister Louis- Adolphe Thiers sign Treaty of Frankfurt

-Alsace & Lorraine lost

-Paris and eastern garrisons remain occupied until France pays off large indemnity (5 billion francs)



-France agrees to recognize William/Wilhelm I’s new title as emperor of GERMANY, which had been proclaimed in January, 1871 in Versaille’s Hall of Mirrors...


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