L'Arc de TriompheFrance 1815-52


Louis Philippe

He was called the Citizen King (1773-1850), king of France (1830-1848). He was the son of Louis Philippe Joseph, duc d'Orlans and was born in Paris.

Louis Philippe belonged to the house of Bourbon-Orleans, a branch of the French royal family. From his birth until 1785 Louis Philippe was known as the duc de Valois and subsequently as the duc de Chartes until 1793, when his father was guillotined, and he succeeded him as duc d'Orleans. Like his father he was in sympathy with the French Revolution, the upheaval in France that resulted in the establishment of the First Republic, and in 1790 he joined the Jacobins, members of a French radical political club. Two years later, at the age of 18, he was given command in the revolutionary army. After the defeat of the French army by the Austrians at the Battle of Neerwinden, Holland, in 1793, Louis Philippe was implicated with his superior officer, in a plot against the republic, and he fled to Switzerland.

After the execution of his by the French Revolutionary Tribunal, Louis Philippe became the central figure about whom his supporters, the Orleanist party, rallied; he did not actively enter into the intrigues for restoring the monarchy, however, and during the regime of the Directory and that of Napoleon, Louis Philippe remained outside of France, traveling in Scandinavia, the United States (where he lived for four years in Philadelphia), and England. In 1809 he married the King of Sicily's daughter Maria Amelia.

In 1814, after the abdication of Napoleon, he returned to France and was welcomed by Louis XVIII, who restored to him the Orleans estates. By the late 1820's, however, under the autocratic rule of Louis XVIII's brother and successor, Charles X, the last of the Bourbon monarchs, the French middle and lower classes were growing restive. Louis Philippe was by this time the favorite of those Republican leaders who feared to arouse the opposition of all Europe by establishing a republic, and hoped that Louis Philippe would govern according to popular will. In 1830, by the July Revolution that overthrew Charles X and the Bourbon dynasty in France, Louis Philippe was proclaimed king by the Chamber of Deputies.

At first Louis Philippe was content to rule as " citizen king " and to conciliate the Republicans who had helped bring him to power; he also dispensed with many royal privileges. Gradually he became more authoritarian. The last years of his reign were marked by corruption in domestic affairs and by lethargy in foreign affairs. Louis Philippe was last deserted by both sides and deposed by the Revolution of 1848, which led to the formation in France of the Second Republic (1848-1852) and the rise of Louis Napoleon, later Napoleon III, emperor of France. After his abdication Louis Philippe lived with his family in England.

Charles X

He live from (1757-1836) and was King of France from (1824-1830). He was the grandson of Louis XV and younger brother of Kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII. Charles was known as Charles Philippe, comte d'Artois, until he became king. During the French Revolution he was one of the leaders of the Imigras. He subsequently lived in Great Britain from (1795-1814). After the accession (1814) of Louis XVIII to the French throne, Charles returned to France, where he headed the ultraroyalist party of raction. His favoritism during his reign toward the Roman Catholic church and the aristocracy aroused great opposition, leading to the revolution of July 1830. Charles was forced to abdicate and again went into exile in Great Britain.

Napoleon III

Charles Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was born in Paris, on April 20, 1808, the third and last son of King Louis and Queen Hortense (1783-1837) of Holland, and thus a nephew of Napoleon I.

Once Louis Philippe was ousted in 1848, Louis Napoleon renewed his quest by offering himself as a candidate for the presidency of the new French republic. He won by a landslide. His triumph was diminished, however, by a Royalist victory in the legislative elections in 1849 and by the constitution's limiting him to one 4-year term. He resolved that dilemma by a coup d'etat on December 2, 1851, assuming dictatorial powers and extending his term of office to ten years. Despite continued pockets of opposition, clear evidence of widespread popular support encouraged him a year later to convert the Second Republic into the Second Empire. The dictatorship persisted until 1860; thereafter he began a series of liberal reforms that culminated in a limited monarchy, the Liberal Empire, on January 2, 1870. His success was overshadowed by a foreign policy that was too often idealistic. The threat from Prussia, in particular, was perceived too late and caught the French unprepared in every respect when war came in 1870. Swift defeat led to Napoleon's capture, and he died in exile on January 9, 1873 at Chislehurst, England.