BUILDING A COMPANY
1. THE RISE OF PIERRE DUPONT
France’s King Louis XV was a serious man, some said the most serious in Europe. He wore his crown heavily, reminding those around him “After me, the deluge.” Louis knew about deluges. He had brought a deluge of graft, corruption, and mistresses into his court. He also brought a deluge of debts and death to the people of France.
France in 1764 was trying to recover from Louis’s latest war with his economic rival, England. He had gambled everything in that contest and almost lost his entire empire. He lost also the respect of his people. Seven long years of war had ravaged the countryside and depleted France’s reserve of gold and human life. Starvation and disease replaced Louis as ruler in the ...