Louis XVIII, b. Nov. 17, 1755, d. Sept. 16, 1824, became king of France in 1814, when the Bourbon monarchy was restored following the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period. A younger brother of Louis XVI, he fled France early in the French Revolution and in 1795, on the death of his nephew, Louis XVII, he proclaimed himself king of France. He did not recover the throne, however, until after the abdication of Napoleon I in 1814, and he was forced into exile again during Napoleon's brief return to power (181415).

When he came back to France in 1814, Louis understood that the revolution and Napoleon had fundamentally changed the country and that there could be no turning back. He granted (June 4, 1814) a constitution that guaranteed parliamentary government, a free press, and essential legal and social reforms, and he exercised a wisely restraining influence on the reactionary Ultraroyalists. In the 1820s, however, he yielded increasingly to pressures from the Ultras and sanctioned policies favoring the nobility and the clergy. He was succeeded by his younger brother, Charles X (Pinkney, David H. "Louis XVIII, King of France." Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia. Grolier Online, 2012. Web. 1 Feb. 2012)