Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes
French Diplomacy in the Age of Revolution, 1719-1787
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This is the first complete study of Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, one of the most distinguished diplomats and statesmen of eighteenth-century France. Vergennes represented France as a diplomat in Germany, Constantinople, and Stockholm, and was Louis XVI's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Orville Murphy traces Vergennes' career as he steadily rose from the provincial nobility of the robe to the ranks of the court aristocracy; from the post of an obscure diplomat to the lofty position of Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Murphy, however, has written much more than an interesting biography. The book develops a link between diplomatic personalities, the foreign policies of the French kings Louis XV and Louis XVI, and the contemporary social, economic, and political problems during much of the eighteenth century. Indeed, Vergennes and his policies are central to any study of the American Revolution, the underlying causes of the French Revolution, and of the subsequent "Age of Revolutions" in Europe.