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Mazarin was the model statesman of the early modern period in French history. This study follows his career from pupil of the Jesuits, through legate in Paris and Avignon to service for Louis XIII and beyond. Mazarin's role in the survival of absolute monarchy during the upheavals of the Fronde, and his guidance of the young Louis XIV are given full weight. His crucial part in many diplomatic exchanges and in particular those which brought an end to the Thirty Years War and the Franco-Spanish War is examined in detail. His life is placed the context of a study of the times, highlighting the rapidly changing nature of government.