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Napoleon III: Domestic Policy, 1848-70

4. Economic and Social Policies

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the economic and social policies of Napoleon III and the Second Empire, focusing in particular on the reforms to the banking system, the construction of railways, social reforms, and the Chevalier-Cobden Treaty that promoted trade between Britain and France.


In this course, Dr Michael Rapport (University of Glasgow) explores the reign of Napoleon III, focusing in particular on his domestic policies. We begin by thinking about Louis-Napoleon's background and his preparation for power from his birth in 1808 to his time in prison in 1840-46. After that, we consider the period 1848-51, which saw Louis-Napoleon become first the President of France and then Emperor Napoleon III. In the third module, we think about the institutions of the Second Empire, before turning in the fourth module to Napoleon III's social and economic policies. In the fifth module, we think one of the longest-lasting of Napoleon's reforms – his transformation of the city of Paris itself – before moving on in the sixth and final module to consider the creation of Napoleon's so-called Liberal Empire in the 1860s and the end of the regime after the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.


Dr Michael Rapport is a Reader in Modern European History at the University of Glasgow. His research interests include, firstly, the French Revolution (both within France and in pursuit of its wider geographical impact), secondly, the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and, thirdly, the ‘domino’ revolutions, meaning such revolutionary waves as those of 1848 in Europe.

Michael was born in New York, but studied History at the University of Edinburgh, undertook his PhD thesis on the French Revolution at the University of Bristol (under the supervision of Professor William Doyle) and, after a short spell at the University of Sunderland, taught at the University of Stirling for seventeen years before joining the School of Humanities at Glasgow in February 2013.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Rapport, M. (2018, August 15). Napoleon III: Domestic Policy, 1848-70 - Economic and Social Policies [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Rapport, M. "Napoleon III: Domestic Policy, 1848-70 – Economic and Social Policies." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,