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Conference III: The Republican Dream and the Second Empire, 1848-1870
1848 Europe is a Europe of revolutions, the original Springtime of the Peoples. From Vienna to Milan, peoples of Europe take the streets and change their destiny. France is not immune to this revolutionary wave and 1848 tolls the knell of its last Bourbon. There will be no more kings and queens of France. The Second Republic is proclaimed, and a feeling of freedom and change propagates through the country. It is short-lived, however, with Napoléon III staging a coup in 1851, declaring the Second Empire shortly afterwards. This was a time of incredible industrial and scientific progress, somewhat hampered by the regime’s conservatism and authoritarianism. A rather poor strategist, Napoleon III and his empire are defeated by the Prussians in 1870, leaving France in shambles and in crisis.