ROYAL READING – Rehabilitate his little known and misunderstood reign. This was the aim of the historian Maxime Michelet, who wrote an essay on Emperor Napoleon III 150 years after his death.
“Napoleon III, France and Us”. The title of Maxime Michelet’s new book (to be published on February 22 by Passés/Composés, price 18 euros) clearly announces its content. The historian, a specialist in the Second Republic and the Second Empire, writes an essay on the second French emperor, in which he talks about the man and the monarch, evoking his internal, diplomatic, economic and social policies.
An opportunity to show how he was “the architect, literally and figuratively, of modern France at the forefront of Europe”. Because, as he points out, his government – little known and misunderstood today – was actually oriented towards progress. The French state owes him, for example, the railway network, the construction of commercial ports, artistic and literary ferment, industrialization, the protection of workers…
A plea released on the 150th anniversary of the death of Napoleon III
It is no coincidence that this 208-page plea, rehabilitating almost 18 years on the throne of Napoleon Bonaparte’s nephew, is published in this very year 2023. It is indeed the 150th.E anniversary of the death of the man who was the first President of the Republic and the last French monarch, aged 64, in exile in England.
In his conclusion, Maxime Michelet, who is president of the Historical Society of Friends of Napoleon III, quotes Louis Pasteur. It means that the day after the fall of the Second Empire, a famous scholar wrote this to Marshal Vaillant: “The Emperor can confidently expect the judgment of posterity. His reign will remain one of the most glorious in our history. A prophecy which, as the historian points out, is still waiting to be fulfilled. Hence the importance of a work like his.