Jacques Necker (Dictionary of World Biography: The 17th and 18th Centuries)
Article abstract: Necker was the best-known and perhaps most successful financier, financial writer, and reform minister during the reign of King Louis XVI—at a time when all three fields were in their pioneer stage. Controversies about his abilities and policies have not ceased, and he is a major figure in the continuing debates over mercantilism and Physiocracy.
Jacques Necker’s early life was short and sweet—short in the telling and sweet to him. His father, Karl Friedrich Necker, born in Kostrzyn, Pomerania, in 1686, was serious and hard-working, as probably were generations of north German Neckers, many of them Lutheran pastors. Of considerable intellect, Jacques’s father was trained in law, gained political appointments, published on international law, and was elected professor of public law in 1726 at the Genevan Academy, where he flourished in a serious and respectful environment. He became a Genevan citizen and married Jeanne-Marie Gautier of a prominent Genevan family. Their first son, Louis, later known as Louis of Germany for the estate he purchased, was serious and bright.
Jacques was a precocious student. He completed his secondary curriculum when he was fourteen, and although he wished to pursue literature, he followed his father’s wishes and went to work in the banking firm of Isaac Vernet, brother of a colleague of Jacques’s father. Jacques pleased his employer and in...
(The entire section is 1903 words.)
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