René Nicolas de Maupeou

Maupeou, René Nicolas de (rənāˈ nēkôläˈ də mōpōˈ) [key], 1714–92, chancellor of France (1768–74). He was president of the parlement of Paris before he succeeded his father as chancellor. He was the chief mover in the attempt of King Louis XV to master the parlement and end its opposition to the fiscal measures needed to replenish the treasury. Maupeou dissolved (1771) all the parlements, exiled the magistrates from Paris, and abolished the sale of many offices. He then substituted a new high court (nominating all the members) and a system of superior courts. He became highly unpopular with the nobility, whose interests had been protected by the parlement. King Louis XVI on his accession dismissed Maupeou and restored the old parlements. Although Maupeou's reforms have been regarded by many enlightened leaders as an act of tyranny, his measures, if Louis XVI had allowed them to stand, might have brought about enough fundamental reform to have prevented the fall of the monarchy.

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