Detroit founder Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac is a controversial figure in the history of New France. The historiography has primarily focused on his attempts to gain wealth in the Great Lakes region by any means necessary, including illicit trade with Indigenous people. At times the literature mentions in passing that he also sought to obtain a marquisate at Detroit. However, this topic has not been fully researched. This paper argues that Cadillac aspired to use the Great Lakes region as a place where he would try to improve his social status within France’s society. More than profit, Cadillac wanted to improve his social status, for himself but also for his descendants. In both Ancien Régime France and New France money could make one’s life more comfortable. But prestige could only be achieved by owning a fief, preferably a titled fief like a marquisate.

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