Enlightenment Absolutism Prussia, Austria, and Russia

Prussian Enlightenment

Frederick II of Prussia (Frederick the Great)

Prussia's enlightenment was the golden age of Prussia. Frederick II of Prussia or Frederick the Great was one most the most educated minds of the 18th century. Frederick II was greatly influenced by enlightenment thinker, Voltaire, who lived with Frederick for a considerable amount of years. Frederick specifically believed in the government being a servant of the people. He enlarged the Prussian army to 200,000, making it an important part of the states secuirty and protection, along with waging war against Austria, who forced sanctions onto Prussia. Frederick II was not only a major advocator as a subject of the people, but he also was able to consolidate his absolute power through this citizens, by having them swear an oath. He not only increased his military, but banned the use of torture, except for military purposes, limited freedom of speech for the press, as well as complete religious tolerance. He kept Prussia social system of serfdom, allowing only the nobility to actually be able to enjoy life in Prussia



Austrian Enlightenment

Empress Maria Theresa of Austria

Austria changed a lot because of the Enlightenment. It all started with Joseph II’s mother, Maria-Theresa. She was responsible for many of the first reforms in Austria. She unified the Austrian territories because of a well-maintained bureaucracy that also abolished internal tariffs and created the largest free trade zone in Europe. She passed laws to protect serfs against abuses of their rights.

Joseph II of Austria

When Maria Theresa died in 1780, Joseph became the absolute ruler of Austria. Joseph II wanted truly radical changes based on Enlightenment ideas. His main goal was to make the empire more efficient and financially secure. He made the most reforms during his time as the Holy Roman Emperor and king of the Habsburg empire. During his reign, Joseph put forth an average of 690 decrees a year. Maria Theresa had made less than 100 decrees each year. He abolishing serfdom, ended press censorship and limiting the power of the Catholic Church. In the Edict of Toleration, Joseph gave minority religions, such as Protestants, orthodox Christians and Jews, the ability to live and worship more freely. He required all parents to send their children to secular public schools, or to pay higher taxes. His revolutionary tax law of 1789 made everyone pay a land tax. When did these things, he didn't care about the nobles or clergy who felt threatened by his changes.



Russian Enlightenment

Catherine II of Russia (Catherine the Great)

The Russian Age of Enlightenment changed Russia in many ways. First of all, it changed the culture of Russia. For example, it started the impact of art and science on Russia, which evolved into the building the first Russian university, a theatre, a library, an independent press, and a public museum. Catherine the Great was the biggest person involved in this change. She was a very intelligent woman who studied the works of the philosophes. She was a strong supporter of enlightened reforms. She could not lead this reform on her own, so she invited Denis Diderot to Russia. Together they outlined of programs involving financial and political reforms. One of the theories proposed was equality of all people in the eyes of the law. Catherine always said she supported it, but never took action in it. Catherine favored the nobles, which eventually led to a peasant rebellion. The leader of this rebellion was Emelyan Pugachev. He started the rebellion in 1773 across southern Russia. The Revolt failed miserably, Pugachev was captured, tortured, and finally executed for it. Catherine then replied with strong measures against the peasants. Through her improving of Russia during enlightenment also helped her gain control of Russia, then she moved on to other countries. During her rule she defeated, the Turks, other westward expansions, and Poland. By the end of her rule, Russia had gained roughly 50% of Poland’s territory.



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Miles Ventura

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