According to thesciencetutor, the accession to the throne of Louis XVI was welcomed by all sides as a liberation. But if he had very good intentions in choosing the new ministers, he lacked the energy to break the court cabals from the beginning. Thus the maneuvers of the Duke of Richelieu and the Duke of Aiguillon induced him to recall Maurepas, who was minister of state without portfolio. The princes of the blood were not admitted to the king’s council and this aroused serious discontent. The queen, although unable to bring Choiseul back, obtained that d’Aiguillon be replaced by the Count de Vergennes, a person grateful to Maurepas as well as to Maupeou. Even Turgot, appointed to the Navy, liked the Chancellor for his hostility against parliaments. But the question of the two parliaments troubled the public opinion and carried with him an attitude of coldness towards the sovereigns. The princes, especially the Duke of Orleans, persisted in their opposition. Louis XVI hesitated. The maneuvers of Maurepas, who managed to convince the queen, led to the exile of Maupeou (24 August 1774) and the recall of the old parliament. In Paris it was an explosion of enthusiasm; but the “pious” party considered the king’s decision a betrayal, while the “philosophers” foresaw that the parliaments would be unruly and hostile to any progress. In reality this appeal, mainly due to the queen who wanted to make herself popular, was a dangerous proof of weakness.
In the rehash of all the ministers, Turgot had succeeded Terray as general controller of finance. He set out to restore the national economy without bankruptcy, without tax increases, without loans. A man of great moral uprightness, but devoid of practical sense and incapable of energetic action, in his fight against abuse he had against all the privileged and ended up succumbing. On 13 September 1774 he had the freedom of the internal trade in grains proclaimed, already sanctioned by Machault (1749) but which remained a dead letter. His opponents, taking advantage of the high prices reached by flour and the popular anger against the hoarders, provoked a riot that brought, for the first time, a tumultuous mass to Versailles. The king supported his minister but refused to prosecute those who were truly responsible. Meanwhile, the queen continued to intrigue at Choiseul’s recall, supported the Count of Guines in a scandalous trial, obtained that the costly office of superintendent of the queen’s house be re-established for the benefit of the princess of Lamballe and led a life of prodigality. A group of profiteers formed around Marie Antoinette, headed by the count of Artois and the countess of Polignac. This clique first of all turned against the bursar Turgot, exploiting the discontent aroused by the abolition of A group of profiteers formed around Marie Antoinette, headed by the count of Artois and the countess of Polignac. This clique first of all turned against the bursar Turgot, exploiting the discontent aroused by the abolition of A group of profiteers formed around Marie Antoinette, headed by the count of Artois and the countess of Polignac. This clique first of all turned against the bursar Turgot, exploiting the discontent aroused by the abolition of corvée and the suppression of corporations. To the parliament, which had refused to ratify the edicts, the king imposed their registration; but this was his last energetic act for the controller’s benefit. The struggle intensified, to the point that Turgot’s letters against the sovereigns were falsified, the reformer had to leave the ministry (1776). Malesherbes, secretary of state of the King’s House, went with him. The following year, the Count of Saint-Germain, Minister of War, who had tried to reconstitute the army and restore discipline, was also forced to resign.
The fall of Turgot had given Maurepas free hands, who had made himself nominated president of the Finance Council. All the decrees of Turgot were abolished. But the clashes between the “pious” party and that of the “philosophers”, the increasingly serious crisis caused by the customs of the court and the lack of a strong government, forced Maurepas to turn to the reformers. Necker was used who, not being able to be a foreigner and Protestant, a general controller, had the title of adjunct councilor, then general director of finance.
On July 4, 1776, the American War of Independence had broken out. From the very beginning, Louis XVI, energetically supported by Vergennes, sent secret aid to the insurgents who were avenging France for the colonial and maritime humiliations suffered in the Seven Years’ War. La Fayette and a strong group of French officers went to fight in the new United States. Franklin, sent by the Philadelphia congress, obtained the recognition of the new republic and the signing of a treaty of alliance (February 6, 1778). This resulted in the break and war with England. At the same time, the threat of another conflict in Germany was looming. On the death of the elector of Bavaria, Joseph II had occupied a part of his states provoking the intervention of Frederick II who concentrated his troops on the Bohemian border. The Austria claimed the concurrence of France under the treaty of 1756; but, despite the insistence of Marie Antoinette, the king and Vergennes held firm and, observing how it could not be recognized in the current circumstances the casus foederis, proclaimed the neutrality of France. This attitude allowed France to play a mediating role in the Teschen treaty (1779) and, ensuring balance and peace in Europe, to vigorously pursue operations against England. In 1781 the English army suffered a decisive defeat in America. In 1783 a general peace was reached, following which the United States was recognized as an independent and sovereign nation and France, as well as some colonial possessions, obtained the repeal of the articles of the Treaty of Paris that prohibited it from fortifying Dunkirk and the obliged to tolerate the presence of an English commissioner in this city.