One of the leading Physiocrat theorists and practitioners and the French Comptroller-General of Finance from 1774 to 1776, Turgot was highly influential in promoting a concept of mercantile activity which placed greater emphasis on commerce as an engine of economic growth. While falling short of positing a comprehensive view of free trade with universal application, Turgot's views represented a great advance on prevailing mercantilist doctrines. As a financial reformer, Turgot had mixed success, with many of his reform projects blocked by the privileged classes.
Charles Dupin, le jeune (1784–1873), A.R.J. Turgot Controleur Général des Finances, engraving, undated, after a painting by Charles-Nicolas Cochin (1715–1790); source: Musée de La Poste, Paris / La Poste, Inv. D2000.1.138, © Photo: Musée de La Poste, Paris / La Poste, © Photo Michel Fischer, © Notice: musée de La Poste, Paris / La Poste, © Ville d'Amboise.