Napoleon III was a complex figure. He combined traits of genuine idealism and liberalism with authoritarianism and ruthless self-aggrandizement. Although much less impressive than his mighty uncle, he was shrewd enough to capitalize on the Napoleonic image and to govern capably, albeit dictatorially. His downfall came when he encountered the far more canny Bismarck.
Sections in this article:
- Early Life
- A Myth Fulfilled
- Emperor of the French
- The Liberal Empire
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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