Week 16

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte ( born April 20,1808 – died January 9, 1873) was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the ruler of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 2 December 1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation. He ruled as Emperor of the French until 4 September 1870. He holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France.

In this our first of two weeks on Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, we will talk about his early life as the nephew of Napoleon, and the son of Hortense de Beauharnais, and grandson of Josephine: his life in the palace; his life on the run after 1815; his life in Italy; his life in prison; his return to power in 1848.