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Napoleon III: Foreign and Imperial Policy, 1848-70

2. The Crimean War

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the French intervention in the Crimean War, focusing in particular on the motivations for Napoleon's intervention in the conflict, the growth of Russian power in the Black Sea area, the growing tensions between Catholics and Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem, the progress and outcome of the war, including the Siege of Sebastopol in 1854-55, and the signing of the Treaty of Paris in March 1856.


In this course, Dr Michael Rapport (University of Glasgow) explores the reign of Napoleon III, focusing in particular on his foreign and imperial policies. We begin by thinking about Louis-Napoleon's aims and ideals, as well as his experience of conducting foreign policy during the Second Republic. In the second and third modules, we turn to the French intervention first in the Crimean War (1853-56) and then the Second Italian War of Independence (1859). In the fourth module, we think about Napoleon III's response to revolutions in Poland and Mexico in the early 1860s, before moving on in the fifth module to consider the expansion of the French Empire in this period. Finally, in the sixth module, we think about Napoleon III's continued intervention in Italy, the rise of Prussia, and the Franco-Prussian Wars of 1870-71, a crushing defeat for the French that marked the end of Napoleon's regime and the Second Empire.


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: Foreign and Imperial Policy, 1848-70 - The Crimean War [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Rapport, M. "Napoleon III: Foreign and Imperial Policy, 1848-70 – The Crimean War." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,