- Bonaparte, Louis Napoleon
- (1808–1873)Nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and himself the Emperor of the French as Napoleon III (1852–1870). Known popularly as Louis-Napoleon, he attempted to seize power in 1836 and 1840 before being elected president of the Second Republic in 1848. Three years later, however, he seized more power for the presidency in a coup and a year after that inaugurated the Second Empire by accepting the imperial title on December 2, the anniversary of his uncle’s self-coronation. He allied France with Britain in the Crimean War and began France’s colonial penetration of Indochina in 1857, but he then stumbled badly in 1861 with a foolish scheme to establish a French-dominated empire in Mexico that provoked both Mexican resistance and the threat of American intervention. Thereafter his defeats were confined to Europe but were highly significant. Otto von Bismarck outmaneuvered him diplomatically in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866 and then provoked him into the Franco-Prussian in 1870–1871. Compounding France’s defeat, he was captured at Sedan and imprisoned in Germany before spending the last to years of his life in exile in England. The Napoleonic line ended, when his only son died in the British army fighting the Zulu.See also <
>.FURTHER READING:Echard, William E. Napoleon III and the Concert of Europe. Baton Rogue: Louisiana State University, 1983;Hazareesingh, Sudhir. The Legend of Napoleon. London: Granta, 2004;Smith, W.H.C. Napoleon III. New York: St. Martin’s, 1973.CARL CAVANAGH HODGE
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.