Louis Napoleon (1803-1873) was elected president of the French Second Republic from 1848 to December 1851, and emperor of the Second French Empire, with the title of Napoleon III, from 1851 to 1870. Born on April 20, 1808, to Louis Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte, he was nephew of the French Emperor.
After the 1848 Revolution that forced King Louis Philippe I to abdicate, the Second Republic had been established and a new constitution created. As a result, a presidential election was called for December 1848, in which Louis Napoleon won by a wide margin. On December 2, 1851, he carried out a coup d’état, seizing dictatorial powers. Then, he called a plebiscite in which the French people approved the creation of the Second French Empire and his coronation as emperor with the name Napoleon III.
During his government, Louis Napoleon had new railroads built, telegraph lines strung, modernizing France with many projects that created infrastructure as Paris was embellished with new buildings and parks. During this period France successfully took part in the Crimean War in 1856, being allied of England for the first time in history, defeating the Russians. However, his political and military intervention in Mexico ended in a fiasco when Maximilian I was defeated by Benito Juarez in 1867. The French Second Empire was abruptly terminated by the Prussian Army, which defeated the French at the Battle of Sedan in 1870 in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871).