The Enlightened Monarchs. Unit 4: Enlightenment and Revolution (1550 – 1789). The Enlightened Despots.
The Enlightened Monarchs
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Unit 4: Enlightenment and Revolution (1550 – 1789)
The Enlightened Despots
As the spirit of the Enlightenment spread throughout the salons and concert halls of Europe, some absolute monarchs (or despots) embraced enlightened principles and began to treat their subjects more fairly.
The had not intention of giving up their real power, but…
they wanted to strengthen their nations
and they wanted to be more effective rulers.
Frederick the Great
Religious reforms, abolished torture, improved education, and reformed the justice system
He did not abolish serfdom b/c he needed nobles’ support.
He called himself the “First Servant of the State”
Freedom of the press
Freedom of religion for Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and Jews
He abolished serfdom and insisted nobles paid serfs with cash
This was undone after his death.
Catherine (II) the Great
Read Voltaire and aided Diderot
She had big ideas, but little was done to improve lives of peasants (she brutally crushed a peasant uprising in 1773)
This led her to abandon the idea of freeing the serfs as she needed the nobles’ support
Catherine Expands Russia
She took North shore of the Black Sea in two wars with the Ottoman Turks
1772, 1793, & 1795 – Partitions of Poland – Russia, Prussia, and Austria divided up Poland’s lands – Poland was gone for 100 years