I don't usually read Karl Marx, but while looking up the Second French Empire on Wikipedia, I found this great quote from the philosopher, "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce." If we accept this theory as true, we have yet another reason to study history.
Here's one example. If we allow a single man ultimate power, history has shown us he will abuse it. This is especially true when the people start a revolution so as to set their selected ruler on the throne. Look at the cases of Lenin and Hitler, two of the worst dictators of the 20th century. Lenin and Hitler were both incredibly popular with the people of their respective countries. But both Lenin and Hitler abused their position and betrayed their constituency, causing huge wars, killing millions of people, and obliterating human rights.
So there is the tragedy. Where is the farce? The farce is today. While we haven't yet allowed a single man to rule America, many people from around the world have turned to central authority to prevent anarchy and preserve freedom. But this Bonapartism is inherently flawed and will ultimately result in the same sins the people hoped to prevent.