The Second French Empire 1852–70

  • Stuart T. Miller
Part of the Macmillan Master Series book series


Louis Napoleon became the latest ‘strong man’ of France on 2 December 1851. His largely bloodless coup was ratified by 7,500,000 voters in a plebiscite three weeks later. His supporters included businessmen escaping from the spectre of the ‘urban red mob’, peasants expecting higher food prices, Roman Catholics looking to a new alliance of state and church, and many of the urban workers. He rode to power on a national mood rather than party support, and throughout his reign he had to rely on this general appeal: ‘When one bears our name and when one is the head of the government there are two things one must do; satisfy the interests of the most numerous classes and attach to oneself the upper classes’. Unlike the dictators of the twentieth century, he was always dependent on public opinion at a time when the facilities to ‘create’ it were not present.


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Further Reading

  1. Bury, J. P. T., Napoleon III and the Second Empire (English Universities Press, 1964).Google Scholar
  2. Gooch, G. P., The Second Empire (Longman, 1960).Google Scholar
  3. Simpson, F. A., Louis Napoleon and the Recovery of France (Longman, 1965).Google Scholar
  4. Smith, W. H. C., Second Empire and Commune: France 1848–1871 (Longman, 1985).Google Scholar
  5. Zeldin, T., The Political System of Napoleon III (Macmillan, 1958).Google Scholar
  6. Zeldin, T., Emile Ollivier and the Liberal Empire of Napoleon III (Oxford, 1963).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stuart T. Miller 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart T. Miller

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