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Napoleon III

Napoleon III., Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (1808-73), was born in Paris, being the son of Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland, and of Hortense Beauharnais. After the downfall of the First Empire the young prince lived with his mother at Augsburg, and then near Lake Constance. In 1830 he took part in the Papal Revolution. On its failure he fled to France, but was compelled to leave, and, after a stay in England, again went to Constance. In 1831 the Polish crown was offered to him, but the Polish movement proved abortive. The death of the Duke of Reichstadt made Louis head of the family. In 1836 he made an attempt to seduce the garrison of Strasburg, and, being made prisoner, was sent to the United States, but his mother's fatal illness brought him back to Europe the next year. France called on Switzerland to extradite him, and to prevent complication, Napoleon went to England. In 1838 he published Idees Napoleoniennes. The enthusiasm aroused in France by the translation of Napoleon I.'s remains to Paris in 1840, led Louis to make his descent on Boulogne, the result of which was his trial and condemnation to imprisonment in the fortress of Ham. Here he wrote and studied much till his escape in 1846, when he came to England. In 1848 he went to Paris, and professed republican principles, but again retired to England. Returning to Paris, he was elected deputy, and by means of the popular vote was elected Prince-President the same year. In 1851 he was elected President for ten years, and in 1852 by the coup d'etat made himself emperor. In 1853 he married Eugenie de Montijo. and in 1854 became England's ally in the Crimean War. In 1858 a coolness arose between France and England, but in 1859 Queen Victoria visited the emperor at Cherbourg. In this year he joined Sardinia against Austria, and the campaign, after the victories of Magenta and Solferino, resulted for France in the cession of Nice and Savoy. In 1860 Napoleon took part with England in a joint expedition against China, and in 1861 France, England, and Spain made common cause against Mexico. England and Spain, however, withdrew, and Napoleon alone entered on the expedition under Bazaine which ended in the appointment of Maximilian as Emperor of Mexico and the tragedy of Queretaro. In 1866 troubles began with Prussia on Napoleon's proposing a reconstruction of frontier. The next year the ill-feeling was increased by the proposal of ceding Luxembourg to France, a proposition which was settled by the neutralisation of Luxembourg, and in 1870 the question of electing a German prince to the Spanish throne precipitated the inevitable war. At Saarbruck the emperor and his son were present; but the shutting up of one French army in Metz, and the defeat of another at Sedan, finished the campaign. Napoleon surrendered, and remained a prisoner at Wilhelmshohe till the spring of 1871, when he joined his wife and son at Chislehurst, where he spent the remainder of his life. The Prince Imperial, five years after his father's death, was killed by Zulus while on a British reconnoitring party.