Talk:Napoleon III

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Napoleon III did not live in Chiselburst in the 1840s; he lived in the west end of London and was pretty much solely based there during his earlier exiles, except for a period when he rented a proerty in Leamington Spa, and also a visit to the Duke of Somerset. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 22 October 2011 (UTC)


Could something be mentioned here about his early life in the Carbonari, and how this hurt French interests by giving an unhealthy anti-Austrian bias to his foreign policy?

"He also directed the building of the French railway network. The design was very inefficient, however, as all routes lead to Paris. There were lines between Paris and Lyon, Caen, and Marseilles, but no lines connecting the latter cities to each other. Thus to travel from Marseilles to Bordeaux one needed to go via Paris, a great inefficiency. This was economically inefficient"

This does not sound much NPOV to me. David.Monniaux 14:41, 28 Jul 2004 (UTC)

True, but it doesn't sound very efficient to me! Admittedly, the writing might need some work... David Corbett 03:43, 24 February 2006 (UTC)

For those interested in the like, a contemporary American account of Napoleon III's death may be found at [1]. -- Itai 23:02, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Why isn't the Paris Commune mentioned? 03:58, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Well, you can add something, of course. The Paris Commune was not particularly relevant to Napoleon III, though - it started after the armistice with Prussia/Germany, which itself was many months after Napoleon's capture at Sedan and the end of the Empire. john k 05:37, 3 Feb 2005 (UTC)

Generally speaking, this biography is largely biaised against Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte (LNB). Specifically, the part "President of the French Republic" is unacurrate and inconsistent with the next parts.

  • Describing LNB as a dictator and comparing his methods with Hitler's is an historical non sense :

- LNB re-established general elections for the house members
- He eventually accepted the parliamentary system (government shall have the confidence of the house, not just be chosen by the sovereign). It is mentionned later in the text.
- LNB legalized trade unions, it does not sound very hitlerian or dictatorial to me...

  • The Coup d'etat was obviously illegal, but just as illegal as the revolution that established the republic 4 years before.
  • The text suggests that his only asset and skill was his uncle name but then how could he gain and keep power during 22 years just thanks to his name ? That's historically ridiculous.
  • One should stress that LNB gave definitively in 1851 the right to vote to poor or uneducated men.
  • One cannot say that the 1849 "National Assembly was dominated by the Monarchists" since 446 members against 278 voted to allow his re-election (short of the 3/4 required majority)
  • I never heard of him "having a german accent"

--Geo115fr 02:50, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Monarchists might vote for his re-election, surely? Certainly one might expect legitimists to do so (the Orleanists probably would have wanted Joinville or Aumale as the next president). The two monarchists groupings could not agree as to who the candidate for the throne would be, therefore not necessarily any harm in keeping LNB around. I agree that he should not be compared with Hitler, but at the same time, his rule is widely considered to be one of the bases for modern dictatorship. And "eventually" is the key word in his acceptance of parliamentary rule - it didn't happen until 1870. There was not even any nominal opposition until 1860 or so. Obviously, a 19th century ruler didn't have the tools of oppression available that a 20th century one would have. Equally obviously, Napoleon III considered himself a reformer, and sympathetic to the working man, and that influenced his policies re: labor unions, universal suffrags, etc. I fully agree that we should not say that his only asset was his uncle's name. He was clearly intelligent and had an ability to use his uncle's name to good purpose. He definitely had his flaws (many of them), but he wasn't a total incompetent. And he had smart people working for him, particularly Persigny. john k 12:42, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The comparison with Adolf Hitler have been erased. However, it is still suitable to call him a dictator, at least for the early part of his imperial regime. I want to know more about his upbringing. Where did he live during which years? I have to know that in order to value the claim that he spoke French with a German accent. Did he have any military education? If not he would not have had the typical “soldier” posture shown on the uppermost portrait. The artist might just have painted him so in order to make his appearance more similar to his supposed uncle. It is generally assumed that his father was Louis Bonaparte. Charles Louis Napoléon might not have looked much like him. But the Mendelian laws of heredity allows for children not looking much like any of their parents.

2006-12-03 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Napoleon III had some sketchy military education (he had recieved some one-on-one instruction from fellow-exiles who had been colonels in Napoleon I's army during his youth in Switzerland), but had no actual military experience before he became Emperor, and had no talent for generalship. However, as his rule was in large part based on the reflected glow of his uncle's military glory, he had to portray himself as a military man in his uncle's image. Thus he was personally present as Commander-in-Chief at many of the battles fought during his reign, most notably Solferino and Sedan, and his publicity said he was the one making the tactical decisions, although in actual fact he left the decisions up to the professional generals. It was because he was personally present as (nominal) Commander at the Battle of Sedan that the Prussians were able to capture him in person.

The claim that he spoke French with a German accent is found in the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, presumably based on primary sources of Napoleon III's own time: "It was at this time he acquired the German accent which he never lost." ( Louis-Napoleon spent his formative childhood and adolescent years, after his family's exile from France in 1815 when he was seven, in German-speaking countries. He first wandered around different places for two years with his mother, including both French-speaking Geneva and German-speaking Carlsruhe and Augsburg. They then found a permanent home in exile in Arenenburg, where they lived from 1817, when Louis-Napoleon was nine, in the German-speaking canton of Thurgau in Switzerland. As an adolescent he studied at the gymnasium school at Augsburg, in Bavaria, where he recieved his education. He visited Italy with his mother in 1823, but only moved there permanently after his education had been completed, in early adulthood. Thus the critical years of his childhood and adolescence, certainly from the age of nine onwards, were all spent in a German-speaking environment in Switzerland and Bavaria (although obviously he would have spent much of his time speaking French with his family and with his French tutors). See the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article.

Causabon, 5th November 2007.

That means he lived in French-spoken areas until he was nine. In general, people don’t have any accent if they begin to learn a language at the age of eight or earlier. So it is quite unlikely that he would had begun to speak his mother tongue with German accent. It is much more likely that he would had learned to speak German with FRENCH accent. There is exceptions to the rule, of cause. Encyclopaedia Britannica is said to be written by experts in the field. But his full name is written incorrectly in the article: I see no reason why he would be named “De Bourbon”. In fact, “Bourbon” is the name of a branch of the dynasty of de Capet which previously ruled France. (“de Capet”, or simply “Capet”, is one of the worlds oldest surnames.) I found a photo of Napoléon III on Wikimedia Commons, where he looked like he was in his late middle age (equivalent of a present-day 60-year-old). It does not show the typical “soldier” posture I thought about, so he did not had that.

2007-01-12 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Assassination attempt

The Times, Friday, Jan 13, 1854; pg. 5; Issue 21637; col F, gives the trial for those attempting to kill the Emperor as the day before; this is the Paris Hippodrome attempt. Is there an error with the cited date in April 1855? It would appear to be too late unless this ais the second attempt. Th eParis Hippodrome plot deserves a mention, anyway.-MrCandy

The Cotton Crisis, the Silver Drain, and the French Intervention in Mexico

This article does not adequately discuss the logic behind Napoleon's intervention in Mexico. Modern historians point to numerous factors for the intervention, ranging from his support of monarchies to France's protest to recent US expansion (Texas annexation and Gadsden Purchase). However, the two main factors for Napoleon's invasion of Mexico was the continuous and alarming loss of silver for specie and drastic decrease in cotton imports.

The 'silver drain' began in the early 1850s as vast amounts of gold from California, Siberia, and Australia poured into Europe. At first, France continued to import more silver than it exported (to other countries using silver as specie like Belgium and Switzerland), but as gold continued to flood European markets, silver became more scarce as speculators hoarded, melted down, and exported it. To specify this point, during 1850s the ratio of gold specie and silver specie inverted, changing from 3/4 silver and 1/4 gold to 1/4 silver and 3/4 gold. This meant that silver exports eventually exceeded silver imports, and France had to choose between three options: 1) maintain the law of 1803 which dictated that silver was the monetary unit (but would also accept gold because France's monetary system was actually bimetallic), 2) demonetize silver (which would totally change France's monetary structure), or 3) demonetize gold. The French opted for the first option because previous influxes of gold (like from Brazil in the 1820s) would breifly upset the monetary standard, and then stabilize. However, gold continued to pour in, silver became increasingly rare as speculators hoarded, melted down, and exported it to silver-consuming countries (most notably Switzerland and Belgium), who face similar crises. In other words, there was no precedent for the gold boom, and Napoleon sought silver supplies from Sonora which allegedly contained the world's largest silver deposits. This would help even out the gold-silver ratio and stabilize the crisis.

The 'cotton crisis' occurred when the United States broke out into Civil War. The Northern blockade prevented the South from exporting cotton. As a result, European consumers found themselves unable to obtain cotton, a very important industry in France. Although French entrepreneurs had investments in Algeria, Egypt, West Africa and Turkey, they did not make up for the drastic loss of cotton. The only other available market was India, which had a very different (and arguably worse) type of cotton and demanded payment in silver, which the French desperately sought to hold onto. The Indian cotton forced textile industries to change their machinery, which put many smaller mills under. Also, the decrease in cotton forced the cotton industry to produce less cotton, which consequentially raised cotton prices. The result was growing unemployment rates(which threatened to erupt into revolt) and a decrease in the export of luxury goods. Napoleon, with the urging of several surveys, sought to grow cotton in Mexico to remedy the problem.

Napoleon felt confident that the intervention would work for several important reasons. First, the United States could not enforce the Monroe Doctrine in the middle of its Civil War. Second, France knew that other European countries would not oppose the intervention and wooed them by agreeing to repay 2/3 of Mexico's debt to European investors. Third, Mexican Conservatives appealed to Europe for a monarch, and during times of political unrest, even Mexican Liberals sought a monarch who would at least provide stability. Fourth, neither the Europeans nor the Mexicans wanted the US to expand any further south (into Mexico). Fifth, France's previous military victories in the Crimea and in Austria displayed the power of the French army, although the Prussians would later defeat the French in a war that shifted the balance of power on the European continent. In fact, it would not be until the US ended its war and began supplying Juarez's forces that the rebels would oust the French.

The French intervention in Mexico may have been a blunder on Napoleon's part because of the inherent chaotic and splintered atmosphere of Mexico (Apaches, Pimas, Liberals, Conservatives, etc.), especially in the Northern regions where most of the silver was supposedly, but also because Napoleon III miscalculated the outcome of the Civil War. However, his intent was justifiable, given France's situation: Mexico appeared to be the perfect country to solve the cotton crisis and the silver drain simultaneously. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jhype86 (talkcontribs) 08:10, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

"However, it is still suitable to call him a dictator, at least for the early part of his imperial regime." I would say that he stayed a dictator until the Prussians kicked him out in the 1870s. He never called an election to legitimize his power, did he? Also, the article said that he was Napoleon's heir. Is this true, or did he just lie about it? (talk) 01:59, 24 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't think he was any more of a dictator than other European monarchs of the time, with the exception of the UK. He was elected President by a huge majority, and after he seized power he regularly held referendums asking for public support, which he always received. By all indications he was quite popular in the country, except in Paris. Napoleon recognized him as his nephew, and he was recognized by Napoleon's family as heir. As some historians have noted, if he had left office after ten years instead of staying too long, he would be probably be considered one of the great French monarchs. SiefkinDR (talk) 08:37, 24 September 2015 (UTC)

In fiction[edit]

This information was placed there as a complement to the "In movies" section, but was quickly taken down and referred to as an "advertisement". This is not an advertisement, as there is no way I or anyone else can profit from someone following the link. It is a free site with creative product from unpaid web authors. The story in question is one of the very few treatments of Louis Napoleon in fiction anywhere, and since movies are being cited, and in other articles books are cited (i.e. "Tecumseh in Fiction").

The section on "advertisements" says this: Articles considered advertisements include those that are solicitations for a business, product or service, or are public relations pieces designed to promote a company or individual.

This entry is not a solicitation for a business, product or service (unless you consider writing a service, in which case Wikipedia can't realistically cite any books). The site in question is a commercial site, but this is not a commercial section of the site -- it's a creative section. Further, it is not a public relations entry, but a sincere effort to highlight one of the few mentions of Louis Napoleon in popular literature.

Requested move (2007)[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

This page recently was moved to a new title without discussion. The naming conventions require that the title be changed back to Napoleon III of France. However, this cannot be done without an admin's assistance, and so I have posted the move here for discussion. --Russ (talk) 13:47, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Support as revert of an undiscussed move. No comment on the merits yet. —  AjaxSmack  02:19, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Credit Mobilier[edit]

I de-linked the reference to the Credit Mobilier since it led to an article on the historic US company with that name. Perhaps someone should create another article for the Credit Mobilier mentioned in this article. Tmangray (talk) 00:42, 23 December 2007 (UTC)


There is a possible sollution to the problem of who Charles Louis Napoléon's father was. After a great deal searching, I have managed to find a photo of him without a beard. It turned out that he had a cleft in his chin. This trait is due to a dominant gene, which means it is always expressed regaldless if you have it in one of two copies. Louis Napoléon Bonaparte also had a cleft in his chin. If no other possible father had Charles Louis Napoléon was really the son of his mother's husband.

2008-12-25 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

At least one biography states that his illegitimacy was common knowledge, and that his mother used to joke about it - to the effect "Oh, Silly me. I got the dates wrong!" (talk) 14:21, 11 May 2009 (UTC)

If his mother had more than one partner at the approximate time of conception his contemporaries could not have known if he was illegitimate or not. If Hortense did not have any opportunity to have sex with Louis at the time in question Louis Charles Napoléon was definitely illegitimate. On the other hand, if she had or could have sex with both her husband and a lover the son's cleft in the chin could be used to tell who the father was. I don't think he inherited this trait from his mother since I have seen several portraits of her and no-one of them shows her with a cleft in her chin.

2009-05-23 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Hortense could conceivably have given birth to Louis-Napoleon prematurely. He was born around three weeks early, and any child born between 180 to 300 days after conception could be recognized as a legitimate heir. Hortense and Louis were only reunited in August after she had been on a trip to Cauterets and the south, and so the child was expected for May 12 1808. There are a number of biographies that dispute that Louis-Napoleon was illegitimate, and Hortense denied it, privately, during the Restoration period. I'm not sure if paintings of Count Charles Bylandt-Palstercamps or a man named Ver Huell, near her at the time exist, but they do for the Marquis de Castellane[2], Carel Hendrik Ver Huell, and Élie, duc Decazes. The latter, often seen as the 'strongest candidate' does not have a cleft lip; Castellane might but it is difficult to say - he was a 48-year-old prefect, and Hortense had been avoiding the two prefects she was meant to see on her trip. (Is it possible that 'imperfections', such as cleft lip, might not be included in paintings?). It should be looked in the article, either way. Louis Bonaparte certainly believed it to be true. Yohan euan o4 (talk) 14:01, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Charles Louis Napoléon may have thought that his mother avoided these two men because he wanted to believe that his mother's husband was his father. You repeatedly write about a “cleft lip” wile I pointed out that Charles Louis Napoléon had a cleft chin just like Louis Napoléon. This trait may be considered an “imperfection” from a biological point of view but not necessary from an aesthetic one. I have seen many portraits of Napoléon I Bonaparte. Some of them includes the cleft in his chin wile others does not. Joseph Léornard Castellane may have had a cleft chin but the portrait of him is rather fuzzy. Do you know if Hortense had any opportunity to be alone with him during the time she could have fallen pregnant?

2009-06-27 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Ha, yes, I meant "cleft chin". She was travelling to Garvanie between 19-25 July, with Adele de Broc and Pierre Thiénon, an artist, whom the writer of my biography does not consider. She wanted to avoid the "idle chatter" of the prefects and so took a different route to them, arriving a day early. She went ahead of the prefects (they didn't meet in Garvanie) and other authorities again to Saint-Sauveur, where she had a banquet with them before leaving for a final time, in the early hours of the morning after the banquet, with Mme de Boc. She later said that she regretted avoiding the group. There is a potential problem with the chin still - if Napoleon I has it in some but not others, then some artists presumably considered it insignificant, and we're working with a limited number of portraits, probably no more than one with some of these. Yohan euan o4 (talk) 19:00, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

It seems like Hortense herself said that she was not alone with any of those two men. That leaves Joseph Léornard de Castellane as a possible father of her son Louis Charles Napoléon. Did she have any opportunity to be alone with Joseph at the time she could have fallen pregnant? If so he could theoretically have been the father of her son. Then the question follows: did Joseph have any cleft in his chin? This can probably be answered by someone who has seen several portraits of him. Please note that they have to be enough similar to each other for you to tell that they depict the same person. If no-one of these portraits shows him with a cleft in his chin then Louis Charles Napoléon was most likely the son of his mother's husband.

2009-07-29 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

A photo of Charles Louis Napoléon with his chin shaved can now be found here. Usually, he had a small beard as shown on this photo. Now the question is: did his mother Hortense have the chance to be alone with Joseph Léornard de Castellane during the time she could have fallen pregnant? If so the question which follows is if Joseph had any cleft in his chin. If the answer of any of these questions is “no” Charles Louis Napoléon was in all likehod the son of his mother's husband.

2010-12-29 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

The issue of Napoleon III's legitimacy and paternity was widely debated within his life. It was obviously an open question, and many did think him a bastard, but there's no conclusive evidence. The most common rumor was that he was fathered by a Dutch sailor. Madame Cornu, a childhood family friend of Louis Napoleon, later estranged, argued pretty strongly for Louis' paternity when her interlocuter, the English economist Nassau Senior, spoke of him casually as having "Dutch blood":

He has not a drop of Dutch blood. He is the son of Louis. In the beginning of July, 1807, Napoleon effected a reconciliation between Hortense and Louis. They met at Montpelier, and spent three or four days, as was usually the case, quarrelling. She went off in a pet to Bordeaux, where the Emperor was, on his way to begin the seizure of Spain. She passed a few days with him, and then returned, at the end of July, to her husband at Montpelier. He has many little bodily tricks resembling those of Louis. Louis never looked you in the face; when he bowed it was not like anybody else – it was an inclination of the body on one side. He kept his hands close to his sides; Louis Napoleon has all these peculiarities. In the April of the following year Hortense was frightened and taken ill suddenly, and Louis Napoleon was born on the 20th of April, 12 days before he was expected. On this pretext Louis, in 1815, tried to get a divorce, but of course failed. He was always jealous of Hortense, bribed all her servants to watch her, and often said of Louis Napoleon, ‘ce n’est past mon enfant.’ But he was half-mad, and, I believe, said so only to teaze his wife. At one time he took possession of Louis Napoleon, and became exceedingly fond of him, which would scarcely have been the case if he had really doubted his legitimacy.

. Cornu had no obvious reason to lie - she was completely estranged from the emperor by 1859, when she was saying this. This is from Nassau Senior's Conversations with M. Thiers, M. Guizot, and Other Distinguished Persons, during the Second Empire, Vol. II (London, 1878), p. 334. john k (talk) 16:45, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

I want to point out that the personality is only 40-50% hereditary. If Charles Louis Napoléon was the son of his mother's husband they would have shared 20-25% of their personalities. Furthermore, the heritability of personality traits is so complicated that you simply can't predict the behaviour of a person from the behaviour of his or her biological parents. In general, heritability is much more complicated than these people's contemporaries imagined. In order to retroactively tell who was the biological father of a certain person we have to use present knowledge of heritability. Today it is known that a cleft in the chin has to exist in at least one of the parents in order for a child to have it. Charles Louis Napoléon had a cleft in his chin as shown in the photo I previously linked to. His mother Hortense most likely did not have this trait so he must have inherited it from his father. Hortense's husband Louis Napoléon most likely did have a cleft chin. If no other possible father had this trait Charles Louis Napoléon was really the son of his mother's husband.

2011-01-03 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Charles Louis Napoléon’s fatherhood is not impossible forensically test. If there is a hair sample from him or from his son Napoléon Eugène it could be used for testing. (I see no reason to doubt that guy’s fatherhood.) If so, the Y chromosome could be compared to that of Jean-Christophe Bonaparte, his father Charles Napoléon, or his uncle Jérôme Xavier. I can’t help wondering if the later is named for his great-great-grandfather who Charles Louis Napoléon might have called “Uncle Jérôme”. Anyway, a genetic comparison would tell if such a nickname would have been factually correct or not.

2012-08-01 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Recent DNA reports suggest that he was not the son of his mother's husband, as his DNA does not match Napoleon & Jerome Bonaparte's reported haplotypes. See [3]. - Nunh-huh 13:53, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

See also [4] and the Haplogroup of NIII. is I(M170). The same Haplogroup is published by another descendant [5]. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:30, 21 December 2013 (UTC)

Thank you so much! Now it has been shown that Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was illegitimate in exactly the same way as I suggested. However, someone may well have come up with the idea independently of me.

2013-12-31 Lena Synnerholm, Märsta, Sweden.

Title : Napoleon of France ?[edit]

This article should be renamed as the official title of Napoleon III was "Napoleon III, Emperor of the French". He never was "Emperor of France". That's important because it symbolically meant that he came from the "nation" and was not a king by divine right like the monarchs of the Ancien Régime. I propose to rename this article "Napoleon III" as there never was an other monarch called "Napoleon III". DITWIN GRIM (talk) 15:15, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Support move as disambiguation in this case is unnecessary. DrKay (talk) 09:43, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Support move for reasons given above, consistent with argument RE Napoleon I. --Frania W. (talk) 13:29, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Support move as per Frania W. AJRG (talk) 17:20, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Page moved. Vegaswikian (talk) 05:46, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Napoleon III of FranceNapoleon III — "Napoleon I of France" has been moved to Napoleon I, we ought to be consistent. PatGallacher (talk) 15:33, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Support both moves as disambiguation is unnecessary. DrKay (talk) 15:54, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

  • Oppose both moves, and reverse move of Napoleon I. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:26, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support but not for reasons of consistency. It's a matter of practicality: there is no other monarch or emperor styled Napoleon III, and so it makes no sense to add the additional "of France." On the other hand, if we were dealing with a Henry II, then all hell would break loose because there were so many (just click on the link). In that case, we definitely need to identify the territory over which the monarch reigned.UBER (talk) 19:43, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support : disambiguation is unnecessary.DITWIN GRIM (talk) 21:10, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support: it makes plenty of sense. Faceless Enemy (talk) 22:47, 31 March 2010 (UTC)
  • Support: N. I, N. II, N. III. No reason to add "of France", which was never part of their title. --Frania W. (talk) 00:36, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support Additional disambiguation isn't really necessary in these cases. I believe, but I am willing to stand corrected in shown otherwise, that Napoleon(s) being French is common knowledge and there aren't historical figures of other nations with whom they could be confused. --Labattblueboy (talk) 02:08, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per Frania W. AJRG (talk) 16:58, 1 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Support per everyone else. (I'd actually go for Napoleon Bonaparte rather than Napoleon I, but that isn't the question here.)--Kotniski (talk) 11:44, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
If none with that name followed him, it would be perfect; however, since there were two after him, that made him n° 1, and we have to drop the "Bonaparte" surname (my way of thinking). --Frania W. (talk) 12:22, 2 April 2010 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Location of death[edit]

Chislehurst was not in Greater London at the time on Napoleon's death, it was in Kent. Mjroots (talk) 21:32, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Confusing or erroneous sentence?[edit]

Under "President of the French Republic", I see this:

 The coup of 1851 alienated the reactionary and careerist elements in the Assembly. Victor Hugo, who had 
 hitherto shown support for Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, decided to go into exile after the coup, and became 
 one of the harshest critics of Napoleon III, despite the amnesty of political opponents in 1992.

That last clause, "despite the amnesty of political opponents in 1992", seems completely unrelated to Hugo becoming a critic of Napoleon III. I'm no English major but I have been speaking it for 30 or so years, and I was pretty confused. Can someone who knows what it's supposed to mean clarify? RobI (talk) 19:13, 28 March 2011 (UTC)

It's been fixed, but 1992 should have been 1859. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 18:09, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Siamese Embassy Painting[edit]

I couldn't help but notice that the picture of the Siamese Embassy being received by Napoleon III's court is reversed. Napoleon is actually supposed to be seated on the left of the picture not the right. Is there any reason for this, such as copyright reasons, because I'm pretty sure it's in the public domain now? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:33, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Judging from the orientation of the sashes over the dignitaries' shoulders, it looks to be in the correct orientation to me. DrKay (talk) 08:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

I see your point. I mentioned this because I was reading "Napoleon III: A Life", (New York: Carrol & Graf Publishers, 1999) by Fenton Bresler and I came across this picture, recognizing it from this page, but it was reversed as I mentioned. Just judging by how the internet can be and comparing that to a scholarly book, I figured the book was probably right. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

If you look very closely at the bottom-right of the painting, his signature - J L Gerome - is written into a stone block, so the picture is supposed to have Napoleon to the right. It seems that the vast majority of scans of the painting crop this bit out, but Wikipedia's version goes to the edges. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 18:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Recently uploaded portrait by Adolphe Yvon[edit]

Napoleon III (Adolphe Yvon)

The recently added Walters Art Museum collection includes this portrait from 1868. Not sure whether (and where) to include it in the article. Seems to be a good closeup of his face, though. Warrickball (talk) 14:19, 8 May 2012 (UTC)

Does this refer to Napoleon III's parents?[edit]

I find "Louis married Hortense when he was thirty and she nineteen.".

But I am finding Louis Napoleon born 1778 and Hortense de Beauharnais born 1783, so they'd only be about 5 (not 11) years apart in age. Please clarify. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:42, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Eugénie or Eugenie[edit]

Is there a preferred style? It seems to alternate at random; she is introduced as Eugénie, becomes Empress Eugénie, but from then on there's no consistent style. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 18:09, 24 February 2014 (UTC)


The lemma Crapulinsky redirects here, presumably as a nickname of Napoleon III, but there is no explanation or even mentioning of that name in the article. I remember having seen it in an essay by Karl Marx but there coud be earlier references.-- (talk) 14:39, 10 March 2014 (UTC)

"Very long"?[edit]

Is the article size the main important issue? If so, what are the reasons? As I see, the lede should be no more than four paragraphs. Any other problems that make size the issue? --George Ho (talk) 05:25, 24 August 2014 (UTC)

All the above. The subject isn't important enough to make me put a great effort to bring it into WP:SIZE but I'll dabble at it. Jim.henderson (talk) 00:40, 17 September 2014 (UTC)

Division is virtually required[edit]

I was just passing by and was taken aback by the length of the article. I did some reading on WP:SIZE and we really ought to consider applying WP:SPINOUT at this point, the recommended starting point for considering dividing the article is 50KB, and an article "almost certainly should be divided" at 100KB; this article is 178KB. If I had to suggest divisions I'd imagine something like the following:

  • Early life of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
  • Political career of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1836-48)
  • Presidency of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
  • Transition to the Second Empire
  • Reign of Napoleon III
  • Defeat and downfall of Napoleon III:Franco-Prussian War
    • Exile and death of Napoleon III
  • Personal life of Napoleon III
  • Legacy/Public image and perception of Napoleon III
    • Bonapartism
    • Cultural depictions of Napoleon III
  • Titles and honours of Napoleon III
  • Arms and flags of Napoleon III



--Varavour (talk) 07:12, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

No: Bad idea. the article is about one person's life --he ruled a major country for many years and was very active. Breaking up a biography has never been done in Wikipedia history articles to my knowledge. There is no ironclad rule--and whoever wrote suggestions about length had failed to consider biographies. , so that opinion is not much help. (It was written a decade ago in the days of dial-up modems when download time was an issue.) However I did move 27,000 bytes out on the overseas empire that had little to do with Napoleon. Rjensen (talk) 07:37, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
Well, it's a suggestion I'm making based off of observations of other biographical articles. For example, Vladimir Putin has articles for Political career of Vladimir Putin, Public image of Vladimir Putin, Domestic policies of Vladimir Putin, Foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, and a few others. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk has an article for his personal life, his reforms, his military career, and his death and state funeral. These are just a few. Note I am not advocating literally dividing the article into bits but rather making full articles for subtopics while the main article would be abridged. This is actually quite common, so I'm surprised you've never heard of it, actually... --Varavour (talk) 01:29, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
Putin and Ataturk spinoffs did NOT save any space (they are both longer than this article) The WP advice on Spinoff is very old fashioned -- it was explicitly designed for users with dial-up telephone modems! It shows little understanding of why people use encyclopedias. In any case Napoleon III is not designed for beginners. It's an advanced, sophisticated topic written at the level of university students studying European history. That calls for keeping the main threads all together. Rjensen (talk) 03:19, 23 November 2014 (UTC)
For more readers than ever, WP:TOOBIG is a barrier
I quite agree that the article is too long. Many, including biographies, are. On my own slow tablet it is difficult to read, whether by mobile view or desktop view. On my smartphone, pretty near impossible, whether by mobile app or mobile view, and just plain impossible to edit. More millions every day around the world are coming to depend on similar hardware and slower connections. Some little bits of the article have been trimmed off lately (I'm a trimmer) so existing detail articles can take part of the load. Some existing detail articles are not used in this way yet, and obviously this method is a slow road to the goal. Perhaps, yes, a few new articles ought also be made for this purpose. Someone who wants to go a little faster can start by naming the first to be made. After checking for existing articles that can already serve, make the new one. This too will not be a rapid process, but for a not terribly important personage the urgency is not great. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jim.henderson (talkcontribs)
We have had zero complaints from users about length. The time it takes to read an article is not a function of your screen size, it's how well you read moderately advanced English prose full of references to many people and places and events. The smartphone readers have an advantage--they can much more easily skip to read the sections of interest and ignore the rest, and they can read it in many more times & places. Rjensen (talk) 06:42, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Let the article alone, please. It works quite well at its job. It has 110,354 characters (18,185 words) which is not so terribly difficult to read. The full article with its markup and images is not a problem for modern internet speeds. Binksternet (talk) 07:43, 25 November 2014 (UTC)
Taking a larger view, this article looks pretty good compared to a number of others. If people are expressing the drive to split this article I would suggest directing that energy elsewhere. For instance, the Philippe Pétain bio needs copyediting and more references. The Albert François Lebrun bio needs expansion. The Charles de Gaulle bio needs some fact tags addressed. The bio of Napoleon II needs a firm hand at clarification and referencing. The Émile Ollivier bio could easily be expanded. That's just a tiny sample. Binksternet (talk) 20:57, 25 November 2014 (UTC)

Citations to Milza (dated 2009)[edit]

I note most citations to Milza are dated 2006, equating to his book on Napoleon III. However I also notice a few dated 2009, but with no correspondingly dated book given under title in the references or reading list. Is this a mistake for 2006, or is it a different book, or is it an enhanced edition of the 2006 book?Cloptonson (talk) 20:26, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

elected by a direct popular vote[edit]

re: "elected by a direct popular vote"

The French article states clearly that this was a males-only (men-only) vote. Why do we not state that this was so? (talk) 23:38, 25 December 2015 (UTC)

woman suffrage was not on the table--and mentioning women could not vote suggests it was an issue. Rjensen (talk) 01:37, 26 December 2015 (UTC)

Quotation regarding relationships with women[edit]

In the personal section, this is quoted, with regard to his affairs with women: "It is usually the man who attacks. As for me, I defend myself, and I often capitulate."

This quotation should be given a date. Was this spoken during the height of his power, or after the defeat at Sedan? The quality of the humor differs significantly, depending on when it was said.


Shouldn't the article reflect that recent DNA testing shows that he was likely not Louis Napoleon's son? Emperor001 (talk) 11:50, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Someone tried to add something about that recently, but the souring provided did not support the claim. Flyte35 (talk) 14:35, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
The article for House of Bonaparte has the reference. Is that source good? Emperor001 (talk) 16:40, 21 April 2017 (UTC)
If you mean the papers by Lucotte and colleagues, I am unable to find any mention of Napoleon III in them. DrKay (talk) 17:06, 21 April 2017 (UTC)

Quick Question[edit]

Hi so a random question here, but, the article states: "[...] the first elected by a direct popular vote, and the youngest until the election of Emmanuel Macron in 2017." So Macron was elected really recently, and I'm just wondering, how does that fact get to an article like this so quickly? Like, how does that happen. Does someone read on the news that Macron got elected and think, "Oh, better go update my article on Napoleon the Third!" Like, I don't understand how such a recent event, with all the facts about the world it changes, even start to bring about corrections. (talk) 05:01, 11 May 2017 (UTC)

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"best known today for his grand reconstruction of Paris"?[edit]

By whom? Presumably this is not true among Mexicans who have never been to Paris. Is it supported by the cited source? Hijiri 88 (やや) 11:52, 7 March 2018 (UTC)