On this date in 1754, Prince Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord was born in France. The Catholic priest became an agnostic and was recognized as one of the world's greatest diplomats. Educated for the Roman Catholic Church, he was ordained at 21, and was consecrated Bishop of Autun in 1785. During the Revolution, he became President of the Constituent Assembly and helped frame the Constitution. He proposed the nationalization of church property, and worked for a secular system of education. Tallyrand abandoned his bishopric in 1791, then was excommunicated. Parting with the violent revolutionaries, he went abroad for a time, and upon returning was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was Napoleon's main advisor in reducing the power of the Papacy. His career flourished under Napoleon and Louis XVIII. Tallyrand married in 1802 and was an agnostic. D. 1839.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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