Kings, Emperors and Presidents of France Part 5: From Napoleon I to the Third Republic

Napoléon Bonaparte is elected First Consul in 1799 with Roger Ducos and Joseph Sieyès then First Consul for Life in 1802. The 18th of May 1804, the Constitution declared him Emperor of the French and it is approved by a plebiscite in November. Napoleon I is sacred at Notre-Dame-de-Paris on 2nd December of the same year. We are now in the period called the First Empire. The Senate deposed him the 3rd April 1814 and Napoléon abdicates in favor of his son. Three days later, he offers his unconditional abdication.

Louis XVII the Desired, younger brother of Louis XVI, had already proclaimed himself King when his nephew Louis XVII died in 1795. He only accessed his throne on the 6th of April 1814 after Napoleon I’s abdication. But the 1st of March 1815, when supposed to be in exile on the small island of Elbe, Napoléon Bonaparte landed with a small army in Southern France. Twenty days later, he arrived in Paris and won back his power. However, Napoleon’s return is short and bloody, the 18th of June, he is defeated at the Battle of Waterloo against the Prussian and British armies. The 22nd, he again abdicates in favor of his son and tried to flee for the United States.

Napoléon I is taken captive by the British and sent in exile to the Island of St-Hélène where he died the 5th of May 1821 at the age of 51. After the abdication of Napoleon I, Louis XVII the desired came back to his power the 8th of July 1815. He will never be sacred and he died in September 1824 without children.


Charles X ( 1824-1830 ), younger brother of Louis XVIII, is sacred in 1825. He abdicated five years later in favor of his grandson Henri of Artois but he will never be recognized King.


Louis-Philippe I the King-Citizen ( 1830-1848 ), a descendant of Louis XIII is proclaimed King Of the French. Louis-Philippe is not a Bourbon but a Orléans. He abdicated the throne on the 24th of February 1848 to his grandson Philippe d’Orléans but he will never be recognized. The Second Republic is born.

The last three days of the King-Citizen’s reign suffers are known as the Revolution of July. The day of his abdication, a temporary government is installed until the election of December 1848.The 11th of December, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the Emperor’s nephew, is elected the First President of the French Republic.

Three years after his election, on the symbolic date of the 2nd December, he became Emperor of the French after a putsch leading to the Second Empire. Napoléon III is defeated at the Battle of Sedan during the Franco-Prussian War in September 1870 and then taken prisoner.

 Two days later, the Third Republic is proclaimed.

By Alister

Studying at the University of Besançon, Burgundy Franche-Comté, France