Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) was the President of the French Second Republic and as Napoleon III, the emperor of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I, christened as Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 2 December 1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation. He ruled as Emperor of the French until 4 September 1870. He holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France.
Napoleon III is primarily remembered for an energetic foreign policy which aimed to jettison the limitations imposed on France since 1815 by the Concert of Europe and reassert French influence in Europe and abroad. A brief war against Austria in 1859 largely brought an end to the process of Italian unification. In the Near East, Napoleon III spearheaded allied action against Russia in the Crimean War and restored French presence in the Levant, claiming for France the role of protector of the Maronite Christians. A French garrison in Rome likewise secured the Papal States against annexation by Italy, defeating the Italians at Mentana and winning the support of French Catholics for Napoleon's regime.
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