Francois De Callieres and the Marquis De Torcy's "Political Academy": New Evidence

By Schweizer, Karl | Canadian Journal of History, Winter 2011 | Go to article overview

Francois De Callieres and the Marquis De Torcy's "Political Academy": New Evidence


Schweizer, Karl, Canadian Journal of History


In March 1712, Jean Baptiste de Colbert, Marquis de Torcy, minister and secretary of state for foreign affairs, (1) founded a special institution--the Academie Politique--for the training of future diplomats. A gifted negotiator himself, Torcy was anxious to truly professionalize the king's service in diplomacy at a time when under pressure both at home and abroad, (partly due to the Spanish Succession crisis), the government of France, with unprecedented demands placed upon its national (including diplomatic) resources, was becoming increasingly bureaucratized. (2) In addition, the exactions of war and its aftermath had revealed glaring deficiencies in France's diplomatic preparedness--not least the uneven capacities of her diplomatic agents--all too often novice court favourites, their appointment determined by patronage rather than professional expertise. (3)

Historically, Torcy's initiative was not wholly unprecedented, for Phillip II of Spain had earlier attempted to establish a similar training school, as had the papacy with the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, founded in Rome in 1701. Also, earlier in France, Richelieu had established a royal military academy that served as a model for the numerous privately organized academies d'equitation favoured by young aristocrats, while Louvois had attempted to form instructional regiments where cadets would acquire professional training as well as liberal arts instruction. (4) Somewhat later, in 1747, Frederick II set up a temporary training center to prepare, in this case, non-nobles for lower level diplomatic posts and, later still, an academy was set up at Strasbourg, directed by Carl Adam Koch, which numbered among its members Talleyrand, Metternich, and Benjamin Constant. (5) Even so, Torcy's vision of a professional school for diplomats was novel; indeed, the very concept of diplomacy as a distinct profession in its own right proved an unorthodox departure from traditional assumptions. (6) We now perceive an emerging sense of professionalism--a response in tuna to the realization that diplomacy had become a permanent and vital activity in the life of the state. The same intensity of interstate coexistence that fueled dynastic conflicts also fostered the refinement of collaborative devices on a continental scale: an increase in the number of permanently resident ambassadors and the spread, if not growing effectiveness, of the bureaucratic agencies directing and coordinating their work. Accordingly, diplomacy had become a permanent activity in the life of the state. Like the military, clergy, and judiciary, diplomats gradually acquired the character of professionals with their own ceremonial rules of conduct, methods, and corporate identity. As the diplomat became professional, diplomacy experienced more continuing development as an altogether distinctive enterprise and subject of study. French diplomacy, in particular, came to acquire a reputation for excellence--characterized by negotiating flair, a unique style, resourcefulness, and administrative innovation--providing a compelling model for other states. To augment these advantages, Torcy envisaged a permanent repository or depot for the vast amount of official documents and records of past events that regular diplomacy generated; documents to be centralized, classified and bound becoming a forum for historical research readily available in the Louvre for close analysis by prospective academy recruits. (7) Beyond these resources, central to the Political Academy's function as a teaching institution, Torcy's goal was perfecting the stature of French diplomacy. He also called upon planning consultants to assist in devising a program of study based on their respective areas of interest, expertise, and first-hand experience. Inevitably, he enlisted members of his own secretariat at Versailles: men such as the Abbe Jean Baptiste Dubos; (8) the Abbe Joachim Legrand, who was familiar with John Locke's educational ideas; (9) and Jean Yves de St.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Francois De Callieres and the Marquis De Torcy's "Political Academy": New Evidence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.