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André Hercule de Fleury

Fleury, André Hercule de (äNdrāˈ ĕrkülˈ də flörēˈ) [key], 1653–1743, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Tutor of the young Louis XV, he became, at the age of 73, chief adviser to the king and virtual ruler of France (1726–43). Fleury restored order to the national finances, disorganized by the speculative schemes of John Law. The currency was stabilized, roads were built, the merchant marine expanded, and a growth in commerce resulted. By his attempts to suppress the Jansenists (see Jansen, Cornelis) Fleury provoked opposition, particularly from the parlements [courts]. He strove for peace abroad but became involved in the War of the Polish Succession; through it, however, he assured the eventual reversion of Lorraine to France and established a Spanish Bourbon on the throne of Naples.

See A. McC. Wilson, French Foreign Policy during the Administration of Cardinal Fleury (1936, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History: Biographies


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