How Successful Were Colbert’s Reforms in Stabilizing the French Economy in the Years 1661-1683.

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How successful were Colbert’s reforms in stabilizing the French economy in the years 1661-1683. In 1661 the French economy was in trouble, Colbert realized that major reforms needed to get France back on track and place it on top of the power ladder in Europe. He was successful in doing so to a large extent and helped raise the money to build Versailles and help Louis fight a war in the United Provinces which he could not have achieved with out first boosting the economy and state revenues. However he failed to fully develop the potential of French trade and didn’t recognize the importance of agriculture. Colbert needed to strengthen the French economy in order to bring Louis the money he needed to build the magnificent palace he had planned at Versailles and to fight wars with Spain. Before Colbert was appointed as Controller General there was a massive amount of corruption in the French tax systems with less than half the collected taxes reaching the central government. One of the most successful ways he managed to prevent this was to send Intendants to make sure the nobles in charge of tax collecting were giving the correct amount to the crown and also sought out people who were pretending to be nobles in order to get privilege. Colbert’s plan for the role of Intendants was they would be moved between localities every three years and therefore would be less inclined toward corruption; however the provinciality of France meant that in practice they were moved less often than this. Colbert’s successes include the introduction of tariffs in 1667. Tariffs were taxes on imported goods and protected France’s trade in internal produce against foreign imports and provided a source of revenue for the Crown. But still allowed economic benefits of exporting goods which remained free of tariffs. Colbert also brought in an extra tax on salt imports called the Gabelle,
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