Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel

Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours (pyĕr sämüĕl´ pôN nəmōōr´), 1739–1817, French economist, one of the physiocrats. Early in his career he attracted the attention of François Quesnay 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 Turgot. 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 assignats, 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 Purchase. 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.

See biography by Ambrose Sarick (1965).

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