Enlightened Monarchs

Topics: Death Penalty, Voltaire, Enlightened absolutism Pages: 2 (526 words) Published: January 6, 2014
Frederick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria both followed many enlightened policies while reforming but both of them did not utilize all of the enlightenment ideas. Both of the rulers were also similar in the ways they used enlightened ideas and how far they advanced these ideas.

Frederick the Great of Prussia was a strong believer that the king was the first servant of the state. which meant he would do what is necessary for the long-term betterment of the state. The major thing he found essential to make Prussia better in the long-run is a larger army used to expand Prussia's territories. Frederick was a very intelligent man and was open to the philosophes ideas for some time. Frederick, contrary to beliefs of many philosophes, led a huge army which he held no objection to using. Frederick also made some social changes which followed the philosophes ideas directly like his reforms on freedoms and punishments. Frederick gave the Prussian people some freedoms that Joseph II did not give to his citizens like freedom of speech and press. These freedoms were limited but still largely different from many monarchs at the time. Established a single code of laws similar to Joseph's but his code of laws which eliminated the use of torture except in treason and murder cases.

Joseph II of Austria was determined to make changes on the state and at the same time enhancing the Habsburg power throughout Europe. One of the major parts of the Enlightenment that Frederick had not been able to secure was the ability to abolish serfdom. Serfdom could not be abolished in Prussia due to Frederick's dependence on them for tending to the army and ruling his bureaucracy. Joseph II was in the favor of the peasants while Frederick was trying to get on the nobilities "good-side." Joseph II issued many decrees and laws (6,000 decrees and 11,000 laws) while in the process of transferring philosophes ideas to the Austrian government.

There were many similarities...
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