Second Empire

France during the 19th century consisted of events wherein the First Republic was founded.  Naturally, there was the First Empire prior to the Second Empire. The First Empire occurred from 1804 to 1814, and the Second Empire lasted from 1852 to 1870.

So which events spawned France’s Second Empire? Also known as the Second French Empire, this is the period of the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III.

A Deeper Look at the Second Empire

Essentially, the way that the government ran was essentially the same during the First and Second Empire.  However, Napoleon III who was France’s Emperor back then, insisted that the founding principles of the Second Empire are different.

What should have been a better parliamentary government of the Second Empire turned out to be a regime where the people lacked democratic rights.   This went on for seven years under the rule of Napoleon III.

Decline of the Empire and the 1851 Coup d’état

The decline of the Second Empire started on December 2, 1851 when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was elected president of the Republic.

They staged a coup d’état which was accomplished by dissolving the National Assembly even if they had no constitutional rights to pursue such a move.

The next ten years would see the rule of Napoléon III, Emperor of the French. He later on led France to a war with Austria over Italy.

End of the Empire

Here are the key dates which showcased the end of the Second Empire:
– July 15, 1870
Emile Ollivier’s government declared war on Prussia.

– July to August of 1870
The Imperial French Army experienced on defeat after another.  This was also the year when the Battle of Sedan was waged.

– September 1, 1870
Napoleon III surrendered to the Prussians.

– September 4, 1870
News about the Battle of Sedan has reached the city of Paris. It was also during this date that the National Assembly was invaded by a mob.  Finally, a Republican deputy declared the fall of the Empire – and the establishment of what will later on be known as the Third Republic.