Enlightened Despots were rulers who tried to justify their absolute rule by claiming to rule in the people’s interests by making good laws, promoting human happiness, and improving society.
Frederick the Great of Prussia (r. 1740-1786) • 1712 – 1786. • Succeeded his father, Frederick William I (the “Soldier King”). • Attacked Austria in the War of Austrian Succession • He saw himself as the “First Servant of the State.”
Sought advice from Voltaire on how to be an Enlightened ruler. • Promoted industry, agriculture, and commerce • Improved the education system • Granted religious tolerance • Did away with the torture of accused criminals
Allowed freedom of the press • Gave Catholics and Jews permission to settle in Prussia • Made Prussia the best-ruled country in Europe
Catherine the Great (r. 1762-1796) • German Princess Sophie FriederikeAuguste of Anhalt-Zerbst. • 1729 -– 1796.
German wife of Russian Czar, Peter III- had him deposed, she became ruler • Imported Western culture to Russia • Read the works of Montesquieu and Voltaire • Patronized the arts • Created hospitals • Revised and codified Russian laws
Undertook other public welfare projects • Pugachev serf uprising of 1773 led Catherine to reverse reforms for the serf and return to the nobles absolute control over the serfs.
Maria Theresa of Austria (r. 1740-1780) • 1717 - 1780. • Ruled the Holy Roman Empire jointly with her husband Francis
Inherited the Habsburg throne of Austria • Began a series of reforms to strengthen the country • Established a national army • Limited the power of the Catholic Church • Revised the government and tax system
Improved the educational system • Reduced the power of the lords over the serfs
Joseph II of Austria (r. 1780-1790) • Holy Roman Emperor from 1765-1790 • Son of Maria Theresa.
Continued the reforms started by his Maria Theresa • Abolished serfdom • Introduced a single tax for everyone • Granted religious tolerance to Calvinists and Lutherans • Eliminated many restrictions on Jews
Abolished capital punishment • Reformed the educational and judicial system • Established hospitals
Louis XV of France (r. 1715-1774) • 1710 - 1774. • King attempted some reforms- taxes, but was unsuccessful in maintaining them • Nobles & aristocracy gained power back from monarch
The Partitions of Poland - 1772 - 1793 - 1795
The Legacy of the Enlightenment The democratic revolutions began in America in 1776 and continued to France in the late 1780s. Western government were on the defensive to the new ideas. Reform, democracy, and republicanism entered politics in western Europe.
The Legacy of the Enlightenment New forms of civil society arose –-- clubs, salons, fraternals, private academies, lending libraries, and professional/scientific organizations. Theoretically given full civil and legal rights, theindividualhad come into existence as a political and social force to be reckoned with.