Napoleon III has the distinction of being the first President and the last monarch of France.
Born on April 20, 1808 to one of Napoleon I's younger brothers, when Napoleon was defeated in 1815, and the Bonapartes were expelled from France his family moved to Switzerland. He was educated in Augsburg, Bavaria.
As a young man, he and his older brother settled in Italy, where he became involved with an organization dedicated to wresting control of northern Italy from Austria. His dedication to that cause would contribute to his downfall later.
Once his cousin, the Duke of Reichstadt (Napoleon II) died in 1832, he became the heir-apparent to the Bonaparte cause. With that in mind, he secretly returned to France in 1836 to attempt a coup, but was caught and deported to America. Another attempt in 1840 got him sentenced to a fairly luxurious prison for life. He escaped to England in 1846. When the Revolution of 1848 deposed Louis Philippe (of the house of Orleans) and abolished the monarchy, Napoleon returned quickly from England and ran for a seat in the assembly elected to draft a new constitution - and won. Thus putting him on the road to becoming the first president of the new republic and later, its last Emperor.
Unfortunately, when all was said and done, his unwillingness to align with Austria against Prussia led to his defeat at the Battle of Sedan and the loss of his throne.This Day in History: On September 4th of what year was Napoleon III finally deposed and ultimately exiled from France?
Labels: France, Napoleon III, Ruler