Neo-Bonapartism or neo-Bounapartism refers to political movements focusing around a strong leader, who is often a hero to the people, and upholds - or at least seems to uphold - the ideals of the people. With Bonapartism specifically referring to the case of Napoleon I of France, the term neo-Bonapartism first came to use with the rise of Louis Napoleon III. However, this is not a true example of what neo-Bonapartism has come to symbolize. M. Raoul Duval is given as example in contemporary France. Neo-Bonapartism can also be used to specifically refer to movements after Napoleon I, but it need not be confined to such. Ironically, the best example of Bonapartism may be Roman dictators from the Republican Period, like Julius Caesar, who attempted to quash the power of the Senate and advance the rights and welfare of the people.
Neo-Bonapartist philosophy is characterized by the leader. It is believed that a strong and capable leader is necessary for the ideals the Bonapartists support - be they left or right, moderate or radical. The leader is usually a great hero of the people - in most historical cases being military in nature - who brings about reforms in their name. This philosophy by itself has never been popular, and thus is almost always used in conjunction with others.
Neo-Bonapartists are often similar to enlightened despots, who use their absolute power to advance liberalism, freedoms, and social welfare, though in many cases of supposed neo-Bonapartism the exact opposite is achieved; giving rise to bastard movements more like traditional dictatorships. Nationalism is also often a component of neo-Bonapartism, though not a necessary one.
- Hanotaux, Gabriel (1907). Contemporary France. Books for Libraries Press. p. 460.