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  Today in History

Napoleon crowned emperor
May 28, 1804
In the hope of consolidating his own position, Fouché suggested to Bonaparte that the best way to discourage conspiracy would be to transform the life consulate into a hereditary empire, which, because of the fact that there would be an heir, would remove all hope of changing the regime by assassination. Bonaparte readily accepted the suggestion, and on May 28, 1804, the empire was proclaimed.
Though there was little change in the organization of the government of France, Napoleon as emperor revived a number of institutions similar to those of the ancien régime. In the first place, he wanted to be consecrated by the pope himself, so that his coronation should be even more impressive than that of the kings of France. Pius VII agreed to come to Paris, and the ceremony, which seemed equally outrageous to royalists and to the old soldiers of the Revolution, took place in Notre-Dame on December 2, 1804. At the last moment, the Emperor took the crown from the Pope and set it on his own head himself.
The imperial regime also instituted its symbols and titles. Princely titles were brought back for the members of Napoleon's family in 1804, and an imperial nobility was created in 1808. As opposition was still lively, Napoleon intensified his propaganda and imposed an increasingly strict censorship on the press. A dictatorial regime allowed him to carry on his wars for years without worrying about French public opinion. Having been president of the Italian Republic (as the Cisalpine Republic was renamed) since January 1802, Napoleon in March 1805 was proclaimed king of Italy and crowned in Milan in May.

Related websites
Napoleon I: Emperor of France
Brief biographical information on this 19th-century French emperor. Also contains a bibliography.

Biographical information on this French general and emperor. Details the Treaty of Amiens, the camp at Boulogne, and his imprisonment at St. Helene island. Also includes a picture gallery.

  More Events on this Day
Amnesty International founded
May 28, 1961

International organization headquartered in London that seeks to inform public opinion about violations of human rights, especially the abridgments of freedom of speech and of religion. The organization was founded in London on May 28, 1961, through the principal efforts of Peter Benenson.

Ian Fleming born
May 28, 1908

Suspense-fiction novelist whose character James Bond, the stylish, high-living British secret service agent 007, became one of the most successful and widely imitated heroes of 20th-century popular fiction.

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