Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel

Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel

(pyĕr sämüĕl` dü pôN də nəmo͞or`), 1739–1817, French economist, one of the physiocratsphysiocrats
, school of French thinkers in the 18th cent. who evolved the first complete system of economics. They were also referred to simply as "the economists" or "the sect." The founder and leader of physiocracy was François Quesnay.
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. Early in his career he attracted the attention of François QuesnayQuesnay, François
, 1694–1774, French economist, founder of the physiocratic school. A physician to Louis XV, he did not begin his economic studies until 1756, when he wrote the articles "Fermiers" [farmers] and "Grains" for the Encyclopédie.
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 and edited the Journal de l'agriculture in 1765–66 and the Éphémérides du citoyen from 1768 to 1772. He also edited some of Quesnay's writings under the title Physiocratie (1768) and later presented his own views of economy and political philosophy in his Tableau raisonné des principes de l'économie politique (1775) and other works. He was also active in practical politics. He became the financial and economic adviser of his friend Anne Robert Jacques TurgotTurgot, Anne Robert Jacques
, 1727–81, French economist, comptroller general of finances (1774–76). The son of a rich merchant, he showed precocious ability at school and at the Sorbonne.
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. Under the comte de Vergennes he was one of the diplomats in the long negotiations (1783) after the American Revolution, and he drew up a trade treaty (1786) with Great Britain that expressed his economic principles. In the French Revolution he was an important figure in the Constituent Assembly, especially in financial debates. He opposed the issue of the assignatsassignats
, paper currency issued during the French Revolution. To redeem the huge public debt and to counterbalance the growing deficit, the revolutionary constituent assembly issued (Dec.
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, and as the Revolution moved further to the left he fell under the suspicion of his fellow revolutionists and for a time lived in hiding and issued pamphlets against the "radicals." He emerged into notice in the Directory, but disappointed with the course of events, he immigrated (1799) to the United States, where his son E. I. du Pont set up a powder mill. The elder Du Pont returned to Napoleonic France in 1802, at which time Thomas Jefferson enlisted his aid in negotiations for the Louisiana PurchaseLouisiana Purchase,
1803, American acquisition from France of the formerly Spanish region of Louisiana. Reasons for the Purchase

The revelation in 1801 of the secret agreement of 1800, whereby Spain retroceded Louisiana to France, aroused uneasiness in the United
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. In 1815 he returned to the United States where he died. He corresponded with Jefferson, and his economic theories had some influence on U.S. policy.

Bibliography

See biography by Ambrose Sarick (1965).

Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel

 

Born Sept. 14, 1739, in Paris; died Aug. 6, 1817, in Wilmington, USA. French economist and political figure; representative of the physiocratic school.

Du Pont was an active propagandist of the physiocratic ideas of F. Quesnay and R. J. Turgot. In 1767 he published On the Rise and Development of the New Science, in which he gave a very complete and systematic exposition of the teachings of the physiocrats. In 1767 he became editor of the physiocratic journal Ephémérides du citoyen. He published the works of Quesnay in two volumes (1767-68) and of Turgot in nine volumes (1808-11), with valuable commentaries that have not lost their importance. In 1814 he emigrated to the USA.

WORKS

Physiocratie, ou Constitution naturelle du gouvernement le plus avantageux au genre humain. Paris, 1846.
Du commerce et de la compagnie des Indes. Paris, 1769.
Effet des assignats sur le prix du pain. Paris, 1790.