Louis the XIV was king of France from 1693 to 1715. He was an example of how to rule for many of the political leaders of the 18th century. An absolute ruler is defined by seven traits. Pacify and subjugate nobles, and centralize power around oneself. Another is to make both money and war. Dominate culture, make religion and finally build something worthy of your glory. Two Enlightened despots that took after Louis were Joseph II of Austria and Peter the Great, Czar of Russia. Both rulers had enlightened and despotic characteristics. Yet Joseph was more Enlightened and Peter more despotic. Both characteristics were important to have a strong nation, but as Peter exemplifies having more despotic characteristics helps a ruler maintain power and strengthen the nation, more so then enlightened ones. Joseph II takes full power in 1780 after his mother Maria Theresa dies, instantly he begins to institute many enlightened ideas. Joseph is radical and makes many changes to long withstanding traditions in Austrian society and government. First, he grants religious freedom and cuts off communication between his state clergy and Rome. Though Austria had always been staunchly Catholic, now a person of any religion could practice it freely. This is a very enlightened idea much before its time. Also, it was one of his only major changes which were kept after his reign ended. This was how Joseph II fits under the trait of making religion work for you; he actually tried to make it work for everyone. Another enlightened reform he implemented was a universal law code in which all Austrians have to follow the same rules and suffer the same punishments. He eliminates noble privileges, in matters like taxation, and crimes. This reform angered the nobility and almost put the nation in crisis. But it was one last reform which set off a spark of rebellion. Joseph II outlawed serfdom, he freed millions of peasants. They were free to go wherever, and...
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