The Three Different French Empires Essay

The Three Different French Empires Essay

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The French empire has often been perceived as being one of the most difficult empires to define as a total whole (SOURCE). There is no such thing as one coherent history of the French empire, but rather the Empire could be divided up into roughly three different individual empires. One can distinguish between three different French empires as starting with the period of the rule of the ancién regime, known as the Kingdom of France, lasting from 1594 to 1789. Subsequently, one can distinct the empire as created by Napoleon I as a second empire which lasted from 1804 to 1814 (and a brief restoration in 1805), which was the first to be actually named an empire, and finally the second French empire, founded by Napoleon's nephew Napoleon III which lasted from if 1851 to 1948. This paper draws a comparison between the French empire during the time of the ancién and regime and the French empire led by Napoleon I to show that both empires should be seen as being so different they cannot be considered to be one empire. It will do so by examining several characteristics of empires, showing both similarities and differences in the portrayal of these characteristics.
One of the most intricate social and political upheavals during the second half of the 19th century that fundamentally changed France as well as the world (SOURCE) and that marks the transition from one empire to another was the French Revolution between 1789 and 1799. Over this ten year period the people of France – more specifically those not belonging to the classes of the nobility, aristocracy and the bourgeoisie, but rather the working classes – grew increasingly frustrated with the rule of the monarchy of the house of Bourbon and the inequality facilitated by th...

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...a direct representative of God with the divine right to sole rule through the power of the monarchy and not in need of any help. Considering himself to be a patron of the arts he devoted significant resources to the creation of several impressive buildings of which the Palace of Versailles is arguably the most striking. More importantly however these projects arguably served to prove that he was a world apart from all his mortal subjects. (SOURCE) Above all, Louis attempted to create a common national identity for his people. His policies strived for both a better France that its inhabitants would be able to identify with and be proud of, as well as creating his own legacy. Of the latter he hoped that his subjects would take pride in the glory of their sovereign. He wanted prestige and wished to be perceived as he who led the French into an age of prosperity.

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