Napoleon III is one of the most influential people in French history. From his rise to power through the Presidency to his military defeat against Prussia, Napoleon III shaped and influenced the scope of France. During the early years of his reign his economic policies brought about prosperity and renewal for the country, while he hammered out a strong position in foreign affairs. The structural reforms of the country as a result of his economic policy proved to be long-standing, but cost his approval ratings to sink over time as France's economy gradually weakened. The economic problems he was facing, coupled with the disappointing foreign policy resulted in the Emperor's eventual defeat. However, for thefirst ten years of his rule Napoleon III did have substantial success in reaching the goals set forth by his economic and foreign policies, while maintaining the public's approval. This was not meant to last and ultimately his empire crumbled.
To understand Napoleon III's policies, one mustfirst examine his rise to power. At the time when he appealed so much to the people of France, Napoleon III was known as Louis Napoleon. He had been elected president after the revolution of 1848, and was serving his term of four years after soundly defeating four republicans by receiving 5 500 000 of the nearly 7 500 000 votes . This defeat was greatly due to the appeal he generated among the working class individuals of France and the sense of nostalgia that his name carried . Napoleon was the only candidate that obtained votes from all the classes. The promise of prosperity to the middle class and assistance to the poor greatly appealed to the people of France. Once he had obtained the presidency, Napoleon continued to gain the support of the French people. To do this he used the government as a tool in order to gain the loyalty of the army and the Catholic church, as well as to defend the right of universal male suffr…


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