Home >> Collier's New Encyclopedia, Volume 6 >> Medici to New Jersey >> Napoleon Iii Charles Loitis

Napoleon Iii Charles Loitis Napoleon Bonaparte

war, paris, louis, emperor, declared, death and france

NAPOLEON III. (CHARLES LOITIS NAPOLEON BONAPARTE), Emperor of the French; born in Paris, France, April 20, 1808. He was the youngest son of Louis Bonaparte, brother of Na poleon I. and King of Holland, and of Hortense de Beauharnais. His early life was spent chiefly in Switzerland and Ger many. By the death of his cousin the Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon II., see above) he became the recognized head of the Bonaparte family. In 1836 an attempt was made to secure the garrison of Strassburg, but the affair turned out a ludicrous failure. The prince was taken prisoner and conveyed to Paris, and the government of Louis Philippe shipped him off to the United States. The death of his mother brought him back to Europe, and for some years he was a resident of England. In 1840 he made a foolish and theatrical descent on Bou logne; was captured, tried and sentenced to perpetual confinement in the fortress of Ham. After remaining six years in prison he escaped and returned to Eng land. On the outbreak of the revolution of 1848 he hastened to Paris, and secur ing a seat in the National Assembly, he at once commenced his candidature for the presidency. On the day of the elec tion, it was found that out of 7,500,000 votes Louis Napoleon had obtained 5,434, 226; On Dec. 20, the prince-president, as he was now called, took the oath of al legiance to the republic. On the eve ning of Dec. 2, 1851, the president de clared Paris in a state of siege, a de cree was issued dissolving the assembly, 180 of the members were placed under arrest, and the people who exhibited any disposition to take their part were shot down in the streets by the soldiers. Another decree was published at the same time ordering the re-establishment of universal suffrage, and the election of a president for 10 years. Napoleon was elected by an overwhelming majority.

As soon as Louis Napoleon found him self firmly seated he began to prepare for the restoration of the empire. In January, 1852, the National Guard was revived, a new constitution adopted, and new orders of nobility issued; and at last, on Dec. 1, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was

proclaimed emperor under the title of Napoleon III.

On Jan. 29, 1853, the new sovereign married Eugenie Marie de Montijo, Countess de Teba. In March, 1854, Na poleon III., in conjunction with England, declared war in the interest of Turkey against Russia (see CRIMEAN WAR). In April, 1859, war was declared between Austria and Sardinia, and Napoleon took up arms in favor of his Italian ally, Victor Emanuel. The allies defeated the Austrians at Montebello, Magenta, Marignano, and Solferino. In 1861 ,France, England, and Spain agreed to dispatch a joint expedition to Mexico for the purpose of exacting redress of injuries, but the English and Spaniards soon withdrew. The French continued the quarrel, and an imperial form of government was initiated, Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, being placed at its head with the title of emperor. Napoleon, however, withdrew his army in 1867, and the unfortunate Maximilian, left to him self, was captured and shot. On the conclusion of the Austro-Prussian war of 1866, Napoleon, jealous of the grow ing power of Prussia, demanded a re construction of frontier, which was peremptorily refused. The ill-feeling be tween the two nations was increased by various causes, and in 1870, on the Spanish crown being offered to Leopold of Hohenzollern, Napoleon demanded that the King of Prussia should compel that prince to refuse it. Notwithstanding the subsequent renunciation of the crown by Leopold, war was declared by France, July 19. The war was a decisive one, and on July 28 Napoleon set out to take the chief command, and on Sept. 2, the army with which he was present was compelled to surrender at Sedan. One of the immediate consequences of this disaster was a revolution in Paris. The empress and her son secretly quitted the French capital and repaired to Eng land, where they took up their residence at Camden House, Chislehurst. Here they were rejoined by the emperor (who had been kept a prisoner of war for a short time) in March, 1871, and here he remained till his death, Jan. 9, 1873.