Etienne-Francois de Choiseul Biography

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Who is Etienne-Francois de Choiseul? What did Etienne-Francois de Choiseul do? Information on Etienne-Francois de Choiseul biography, life story and career.

Etienne-Francois de ChoiseulEtienne-Francois de Choiseul; (1719-1785), French diplomat and statesman. He was born on June 28, 1719, the son of the Marquis de Stainville. As a young man, then known as the Count de Stainville, he entered the army and served with distinction in the War of the Austrian Succession, achieving in 1748 the rank of lieutenant general. In 1750, Stainville married one of the most delightful women of the 18th century, Louise Honorine Crozat.

Stainville’s personal wealth and influence at court helped him to win the ambassadorship to Rome in 1753. For his services he was awarded the decoration of the Holy Spirit—and was appointed ambassador to Vienna in March 1757. He concluded the second Treaty of Versailles in May 1757, joining France and Austria in an offensive alliance to recover Silesia for Austria. At this time he was made Duke de Choiseul and a peer of France. On Dec. 3, 1758, during a critical juncture in the Seven Years’ War, he succeeded Cardinal Bernis as minister for foreign affairs. He la ter served as minister of the navy, of colonies, and of war and surintendant des postes as well. •

Choiseul’s diplomatic skill saved France from the worst consequences of the disastrous Seven Years’ War with Britain. On the one hand, he limited France’s commitments in order to prepare for a separate peace with Britain; on the other hand, he prolonged the war by enticing Spain into the conflict in 1761 on France’s side. Finally, at the Peace of Paris (1763), Choiseul gained valuable concessions for France from Britain at Spain’s expense. He greatly expanded the navy and initiated army reforms that persisted until the Bevolution.

Choiseul did not actively seek the expulsion of the Jesuits from France, as is often alleged. But, indifferent to the order and wearied by the diplomatic complications of its presence in France, he took no measures to save it. Increasing opposition from friends of the Jesuits and from critics of his naval and military programs brought about Choiseul’s fail on Dec. 24, 1770. He was exiled to his estates in Touraine. He was allowed to return to Paris in 1774 but never recovered political power. He died in Paris on May 8, 1785.

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