How was successful was napoleon III's domestic policy?

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How successful was Napoleon III’s domestic policy? In assessing the success of Napoleon III’s domestic policy it is essential to consider his aims, which were in terms of politics to retain his autocratic power and in terms of economics to ensure economic recovery in France. He was undoubtedly successful in these aims initially, he gained significant popularity through plebiscites and increased prosperity be rejuvenating Paris and extending the railways. However, toward the end of his reign in the 1860s France was crippled by economic crisis and he was forced to make political concessions. Therefore, Napoleon III’s domestic policy was flawed, as his achievements were not long lasting. Politically, Napoleon III became progressively weaker and was forced to make heavy concessions to his opposition though he had aimed to remain authoritarian. Through his 1852 constitution he set out his overall aims: to retain as much personal power as possible whilst giving the impression of inclusion. The two houses created, the Senate and the Corps Législatif were purely consultative, ministers of the former were appointed solely by Napoleon III and the latter’s were chosen by a system of electoral colleges – ensuring a favourable majority for Napoleon III. Additionally Napoleon III favoured the Conseil d’Etat, which was chaired and the 40 ministers were appointed by the emperor himself. However, as opposition grew he was forced to move away from authoritarianism in three stages, firstly in 1860-61, secondly in 1867-8 and thirdly in 1869-70. For example in the second stage the Corps Législatif were given the power to question a minster on governmental policy, in 1868 press laws were significantly relaxed and the need to consult a censor effectively removed. The most significant changes were brought about in 1869-70, which officially made the Corps Législatif a proper law-making body, and in 1870 the establishment of a new ministry under the Liberal Emile Ollivier cemented

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