Parisian Politics: Napoleon’s
Defeat After Waterloo

J. David Markham, INS President


After Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, he had a number of very important decisions to make. He had to deal with the military situation, which, in spite of Waterloo, still had some possibilities for military success. But there was also the political situation in Paris, with Joseph Fouché pulling strings, seemingly in all directions. To best lead the army he should stay with them on the field. To best deal with Paris, he had to be there in person. He ultimately chose Paris. This paper will make extensive use of memoirs and documents to tell the often short-changedstory of the political situation in Paris and how Napoleon suffered a defeat there that was more fatal than Waterloo.

David Markham is President of the International Napoleonic Society and President Emeritus of the Napoleonic Historical Society. He has written and edited numerous books on Napoleon, including Napoleon for Dummies, which has been translated into Dutch, French and Russian. His most recent book is The Road to St Helena: Napoleon After Waterloo. He has also contributed to a number of historical encyclopedias and journals.

David has appeared on several History Channel programs, and his Napoleon 101 podcast (with Cameron Reilly) has some 30,000 listeners per episode (and there are 55 episodes).

In 2009, France honored David with the Médaille d’or du Rayonnement Culturel (Gold Medal for Cultural Influence), given by La Renaissance française (an international French cultural organization with the high patronage of the French President and the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defense and National Education). In 1997, the Province of Alesssandria, Italy, honored him with their Marengo Medal.

David’s paper is entitled Parisian Politics: Napoleon’s Defeat After Waterloo.