Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord

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Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord (1754-1838)
Talleyrand was a French statesman who, as a member ofAssembly, was one of those selected to create the Declaration ofRights. In 1790, he was elected President of the Assembly. Although he was a clergyman, albeit nominally, Talleyrand's cynicalstance towards the church ultimately led to his excommunication bythe Pope. After stays in London and the United States, Talleyrandreturned to France when Robespierre fell from power. He engineereda close relationship with Napoleon Bonaparte and was a key figurein securing Napoleon's position first as consul for life and thenas emperor. Napoleon created him Prince of Bénévent but Talleyrandeventually broke with Napoleon, in part because he opposed the decision to invade Russia. Talleyrand came to lead those in theanti-Napoleon camp and it was he who decided the terms ofNapoleon's ouster and dictated them to the Senate. Though heserved Louis XVIII and Charles X, it was as advisor to Louis-Philippe during the July revolution that he regained his influence. After a time as ambassador to Britain, Talleyrand retired from thepolitical scene in 1834.