After fifty years of authoritarian rule, the constitutional monarchy collapsed in the spring of 1848. The great principles of the French Revolution - Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité - ignited the whole of Europe.
Proclamation of the Republic on May 4, 1848, Watercolor lithograph by V. Adam and J. Arnout
For three years, the Second Republic re-established democracy in France. But the Republic's opponents soon overtook its divided supporters. The trial of a presidential regime, devoid of checks and balances, and the election of the heir to the Bonaparte family to the presidency of the Republic led to the coup d'état of December 2, 1851.