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Jacques Necker

(b. Sept. 30, 1732, Geneva, Switzerland – d. April 9, 1804, Geneva, Switzerland )

Gender: M

Jacques Necker (1732-1804) was a Swiss banker who was Director-General of Finance to King Louis XVI of France from 1771-1781. He restored the royal finances largely by raising loans from international sources, secured on receipts from future taxation. His attempts to reform and enlarge the tax base were strongly resisted by the nobility, and the interest burden on the enormous royal debt crippled the public finances. He was nevertheless regarded as something of a financial genius, and in 1788 there was a general welcome when he was recalled to France. He recommended the calling of the Estates-General that led to the Revolution, and was dismissed again in 1790 and retired to Switzerland with his reputation much diminished. Necker published a book entitled De l’Importance des Opinions Religieuses (London & Paris, 1788) which argued that religious and in particular Christian belief was necessary to prevent society from descending into anarchy. This was translated into English by Mary Wollstonecraft and published by Joseph Johnson in the same year. After his retirement, he published a justification of his administration of the French finances, entitled Traité de l’administration des finances de la France (1784). Necker married Suzanne Curchod and they had one daughter, the writer Germaine de Staël.

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  • Jacques Necker


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