Portrait of Napoleon III.


From Krul Antiquarian Books (Hoofddorp, Netherlands)

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Paris, ca. 1860-1870. Original photograph, carte de visite, albumen print, 10 x 6 cm. Napoléon III, also known as Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (full name Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte) (20 April 1808 - 9 January 1873) was the first President of the French Republic and the only emperor of the Second French Empire. He holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France. - Napoléon III (generally known as "Louis Napoleon" before he became Emperor) was the son of Louis Bonaparte, the brother of Napoléon I, and Hortense de Beauharnais, the daughter of Napoléon I's wife Josephine de Beauharnais by her first marriage. During Napoléon I's reign, Louis-Napoléon's parents had been made king and queen of a French puppet state, the Kingdom of Holland. After Napoléon I's final defeat and deposition in 1815 and the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy in France, all members of the Bonaparte dynasty were forced into exile. The child Louis-Napoléon was brought up in Switzerland (living with his mother in Arenenberg Castle in the canton of Thurgau) and Germany (receiving his education at the gymnasium school at Augsburg in Bavaria). As a young man he settled in Italy, where he and his elder brother Napoléon Louis espoused liberal politics and became involved with the Carbonari, a resistance organization fighting Austria's domination of Northern Italy. This would later have an effect on his foreign policy. - There remained in France, under both the Bourbon and then the Orleanist monarchy, a Bonapartist movement that wanted to restore a Bonaparte to the throne. According to the law of succession Napoléon I had made when he was Emperor, the claim passed first to his son, the Duke of Reichstadt, known by Bonapartists as Napoleon II (or as "the King of Rome", the title his father had given him before the collapse of the Empire), a sickly youth living under virtual imprisonment at the court of Vienna, then to his eldest brother Joseph Bonaparte, then to Louis Bonaparte and his sons. Since Joseph had no male children, and because Louis-Napoléon's own elder brother had died in 1831, the death of the Duke of Reichstadt in 1832 made Louis-Napoléon the Bonaparte heir in the next generation. His uncle and father, relatively old men by now, left to him the active leadership of the Bonapartist cause. - Thus he secretly returned to France in October 1836, for the first time since his childhood, to try to lead a Bonapartist coup at Strasbourg. Louis-Philippe had established the July Monarchy in 1830, and was confronted with opposition both from the Legitimists, the Independents and the Bonapartists. The coup failed; he was illegally deported to Lorient, quietly exiled to the United States of America, and spent four years in New York. Then he secretly returned and he tried again in August 1840, sailing with some hired soldiers into Boulogne. This time, he was caught and sentenced to imprisonment for life, though in relative comfort, in the fortress of the town of Ham in the Department of Somme. While in the Ham fortress, his eyesight reportedly became poor. During his years of imprisonment, he wrote essays and pamphlets that combined his monarchical claim with progressive, even mildly socialist economic proposals, as he defined Bonapartism. In 1844, his uncle Joseph died, making him the direct heir apparent to the Bonaparte claim. He finally managed to escape to Southport, England in May 1846 by changing clothes with a mason working at the fortress. (His enemies would later derisively nickname him "Badinguet", the name of the mason whose identity he assumed.) A month later, his father Louis was dead, making Louis-Napoléon the clear Bonapartist candidate to rule France. KEYWORDS:france/photo. Bookseller Inventory # 58518

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Title: Portrait of Napoleon III.

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