The Rise of Austria, Prussia, and Russia and the Changing Power Structure in Europe in the 17 th and 18 th Centuries. Political Changes in Eastern Europe. Three aging empires: gave way to new empires of Austria Prussia and Russia
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Joseph II (1765-1790) – greatest of the Enlightened despots (“greatest good for greatest number”)
Abolished serfdom in 1781, freedom of press, freedom of religion & civic rights, more equitable justice system, made German official language (to assimilate minorities), increased control over Catholic education, expanded state schools, left empire in economic and political turmoil: Leopold I rescind many laws (e.g., serfdom)