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Achille Fould

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Achille Fould

Achille Fould (17 November 1800 – 5 October 1867) was a French financier and politician.

Born in Paris, the son of Beer Léon Fould, a successful Jewish banker, he was associated with and afterwards succeeded his father in the management of the business. As early as 1842 he entered political life, having been elected in that year as a deputy for the department of the Hautes-Pyrénées. From that time to his death he actively busied himself with the affairs of his country. He readily acquiesced in the revolution of February 1848, and is said to have exercised a decided influence in financial matters on the provisional government then formed. He shortly afterwards published two pamphlets against the use of paper money, entitled, Pas d'Assignats I and Observations sur la question financière.

During the presidency of Louis Napoleon he was four times minister of finance, and took a leading part in the economic reforms then made in France. His strong conservative tendencies led him to oppose the doctrine of free trade, and disposed him to hail the coup d'état and the new empire. On 25 January 1852, in consequence of the decree confiscating the property of the Orléans family, he resigned the office of minister of finance, but was on the same day appointed senator, and soon after rejoined the government as minister of state and of the imperial household. In this capacity he directed the Paris exhibition of 1855. The events of November 1860 led once more to his resignation, but he was recalled to the ministry of finance in November of the following year, and retained office until the publication of the imperial letter of 19 January 1867, when Émile Ollivier became the chief adviser to the emperor. During his last tenure of office he had reduced the floating debt, which the Mexican War had considerably increased, by the negotiation of a loan of 300 million francs (1863).

Fould, besides uncommon financial abilities, had a taste for the fine arts, which he developed and refined during his youth by visiting Italy and the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean. In 1857 he was made a member of the Academy of the Fine Arts.

Achille Fould died in Tarbes in 1867.

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