Napoleon III 1808-1873
University of Texas at Austin.
Click image to
Napoleon I Bonaparte,
Louis Napoleon became president of the French
Republic in 1850. As French Emperor Napoleon III,
he reigned from 1852 until 1870.
Napoleon III lost the
Franco-German War and had to go into exile (England) where he died.
The Family of Napoleon III
Napoleon III was born
Charles-Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte. His father was
Napoleon I's brother.
Napoleon III's mother was
Beauharnais Bonaparte. Hortense was Napoleon I's stepdaughter and
daughter from her first marriage with Alexandre.
Thus Louis Napoleon had one
powder keg of
a gene pool.
In 1853, Louis Napoleon married
Eugénie de Montijo.
Napoleon III - Early Years and Education
Louis Napoleon grew up in
Germany and Switzerland because at the time France didn't want to
have any Bonapartes around for a while. So the family traveled
After getting the basics at grammar school in
Augsburg, Germany, his mother let him home school. In 1830, Louis
Napoleon got mixed up in an attempt to overthrow the papacy in Rome.
His brother was killed and he himself got caught by the Austrians. His
mother Hortense had to bail him out of the Austrian prison. The
things we did when we were young.
Napoleon III - Emperor
When Napoleon Bonaparte's only son died, Louis Napoleon was ready to
pitch in as Napoleon III. He
told everyone (and wrote about it, too) that he was ready to
rule France as the next emperor.
That didn't sit well with
Louis-Philippe, who had been king since 1830, and Louis-Napoleon was exiled. He first went to
the US and then to England.
It finally all worked out for
Louis Napoleon and the French seemed to be happy for a while.
As Napoleon III, he was a great promoter of progress in terms of
finances, transportation, and technical development in
One of Napoleon III's able
diplomats was Count Waleski, illegitimate son of
Napoleon I and
Assassination Attempt on Napoleon III
On the night of January 14,
1858, Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie took a
carriage to the opera in Paris. The anarchist
Felice Orsini and two
other men hurled several bombs at the carriage. People were
killed but not the ones Orisini had in mind.
Assassinations in History.
Napoleon III and Mexico
Napoleon III was ready to extend his domain as much as he was
ready to collect a debt from Mexico. But recent developments
there in Mexico made it seem harder and harder to get the
dough. Mexico's president
promoted many reforms and democracy, of all evils.
Napoleon III intervened. He
rallied the anti-Juarez faction in Mexico and together they
offered Austrian Archduke
Ferdinand Maximilian a job as Emperor of Mexico.
Why not. The Austrian agreed and became Emperor Maximilian of Mexico.
The citizens of Mexico begged to differ and executed Max in
Napoleon III - Brief Biography
1808, April 20
- Birth in Paris
1821 - 1823 Grammar school in Germany
1830 Plot in Rome
1832 Napoleon's only son, the Duke of Reichstadt, dies
1837 Returns from US to visit sick mother in Switzerland
1838 On to England
1840 Back to France to seize power but got arrested
1846 Escape to England
1848 Back to France to take advantage of the political
confusion there. President of the Second Republic.
1852 Now Emperor Napoleon III of the Second
1859, January 14 - Assassination attempt.
has trouble with Austria, the
War of 1859.
1870 The French decide they would rather have a Third Republic
1873, January 9 - Bladder stone surgery went south. Patient dead.
Napoleon III Trivia
Following the example of
Napoleon I Bonaparte, Napoleon III honored 19 of his
commanders with the title
Marshal of France,
But it was also thanks to his defeat in the
Franco-German War that there wouldn't be another
promotion like that for the next five decades.