• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Successful at home, disastrous abroad" Is this an accurate valuation of the reign of Napoleon III?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

History Essay: "Successful at home, disastrous abroad" Is this an accurate valuation of the reign of Napoleon III? Louis Napoleon's reign was successful at home to a degree, with many improvements to France's infrastructure, and a relatively booming economy. His foreign policy was a different matter altogether though; at best it could be seen as an overplayed hand; with escapades in Mexico, and a dreadfully under-planned war with Prussia. Napoleon III's rule in France was successful to a point; he had significantly modernised France's infrastructure since the days of Louis Phillippe; new railways were laid throughout France, opening up entire regions to rapid and efficient transport that was previously entirely unavailable. Agriculture grew considerably for this reason, as goods could be sold further from their origin, meaning that more goods could be sold in total, thus expanding the potential market for even the smallest of farmers. Bulk transportation of fertilisers also meant that crops could be grown in areas that had nutrient deficient soil; this increased the area of land farmed hugely, as it also meant that fields no longer had to be left fallow to replenish their nutrients. ...read more.

Middle

In 1868 however, he granted freedom of assembly and loosened restrictions on the press. But in the time before this he had gained many enemies and much opposition that carried on through his more liberal years. Although his foreign policy is seen to be nothing but overplayed hands, naivety, and blind attempts for glory, Napoleon III did have the odd successful escapade abroad. The Crimean War of 1854-1860 saw France at war against the Russians with Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and the kingdom of Sardinia. This was a resounding success, with an early victory for the alliance, and Napoleon III acting as the middleman in the Treaty of Paris. Their success was not limited to the one occasion however. A brief but decidedly positive result in Vietnam showed the French as the dominant ruling power. In 1859 France went to war again with the kingdom of Sardinia in order to eject Austria from Italy. Although France received Nice and Savoy in 1860 in return for her efforts, the French intervention created other problems. The war was a costly one, and Napoleon had not foreseen the possibility that Italy would unite; creating another European power with which France must contend. ...read more.

Conclusion

Bismarck ensured this telegram was released in French newspapers. The French were outraged, and Napoleon fell into Bismarck's trap and declared war. France was horrifically under-prepared, and the geriatric Napoleon III led the out-dated French army into battle on his horse, whilst suffering from gallstones and piles. They were defeated swiftly, Napoleon was captured, and Paris was too after a long and hard siege. The French were forced to pay enormous reparations, and Napoleon was forced into exile. All in all, Napoleon's domestic policy was very effective; he modernised France industrially, and built an infrastructure that competed with other European nations. The expansion of railways helped modernise farming methods and increase rural prosperity greatly. Although not a model example of a liberal leader (his censorship, and political imprisonments rule out any such title), his domestic policy was very effective. His foreign policy was what lead to his demise; although he was successful in Crimea, his escapades in Mexico were utterly humiliating, and his downfall in the Franco-Prussian war was caused by a catalogue of horrendously arrogant, blind, and predictable mistakes, all planned by the more politically adept Bismarck. Napoleon was out-witted, out-gunned and out-schemed, and no degree domestic success could redeem him from it. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. How successful was Napoleon III?

    Another way in which Louis Napoleon was successful was because he was able to consolidate his power but still remain popular with the people. Louis Napoleon consolidated his power by touring the country and cultivating both the ordinary French people and the elites.

  2. "Mussolini was an all powerful dictator" - How accurate is this statement?

    the party, and this situation was in favour of Mussolini because a weaker party meant that Mussolini would be even more powerful, and they were less of a threat to his power. However there was still pressure from the ras, who were the radical section on the party, and lead

  1. Why did Napoleon lose the Battle of Waterloo?

    This had given Prussia sufficient time to escape. With the confusion of the direction, the horrific weather and the lethargic manner of the pursuit, Grouchy was unable to gain any ground on Blucher and was unable to locate the enemy. On the morning of June 18, the major part of the French army and the Anglo-Dutch army were in battle positions.

  2. Why did the Franco-Prussian war happen and why were the Prussians able to defeat ...

    they knew the conditions and the tactics used, whilst European war for the French army of 1870 was a relatively new concept so they had to adapt and by that time Prussia would have made significant gains. France had a problem with recruiting officers in 1870, they were struggling to

  1. How stable was Napoleon III's Empire at home and abroad?

    The poorer people that were displaced from the centre were eventually given new housing away from the centre. However, many argue that the restoration of Paris was nothing more than a fa�ade. All these improvements made by Napoleon provided him with greater support from the people.

  2. How successful was Louis of imposing absolute control on government in the provinces?

    One group of people in the provinces who could have helped him to gain absolute control were known as the intendants. They gathered information for the king and supervised the enforcement of his decisions. The intendants were given reports on their progress from the king.

  1. "Blundering to glory". How far is this an accurate description of the campaigns of ...

    If we look at the overall result we can see that the French "Grande Armee" was very successful. Apart from Austerlitz, which was a masterpiece of military art, most of his battles were drawn, won or lost by his second-in-command, Marshal Davout.

  2. Victor Hugo

    He published his second novel, Bug-Jargal, in 1826. Between 1829 to 1840, he published five more volumes of poetry, which were the following: Les Orientales, Les Feuilles d'Automne, Les Chants du Cr�puscule, Les Voix Int�rieures, and Les Rayons et Les Ombres. His first mature work was published in 1829.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work