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Jacques Necker and the French Revolution

Jacques Necker - Minister of Finance, 1789 Social Studies World History Visual Arts

As King Louis XVI was running-up France’s national debt, largely from supporting the American Revolution (between 1776 and 1781), Jacques Necker (the King's Minister of Finance) was managing France’s financial affairs.

In 1788, Necker was recalled to royal service. Because of his reputation for honesty and integrity - and avoiding the politics of factions - it was hoped that he could save the monarchy from financial ruin.

The French people, who also respected Necker for his independence, had a nickname for him: “Monsieur Moneybags.”

Monsieur Moneybags, however, was limited in what he could actually do to stem the tide of a national financial disaster. When rumors began to swirl that he would be dismissed from his job - in an effort, by the monarchy, to intimidate the newly formed National Assembly - people became angry.

Camille Desmoulins - a French revolutionary and radical journalist - was particularly angry when he heard the rumor that Necker would be fired from his position during July of 1789.

On the 12th of July, 1789, Desmoulins gave a speech responding to the apparent dismissal of Jacques Necker. That speech called French citizens to action.

Two days later - in an event now known as Bastille Day - armed French citizens took Desmoulins’ advice and stormed the Bastille. The French Revolution had begun (and Jacques Necker’s rumored firing was one of the sparks which had lit the flames).

Necker continued to serve the French monarchy until September, of 1790, when he resigned. He moved to a Swiss château where he died on the 9th of April, 1804.

The original of this work is maintained at the BNF in Paris.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Nov 15, 2016


Media Credits

Image described above, maintained at the BNF in Paris. 

PD

 

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