Our latest podcast episode features popular TED speaker Mara Mintzer. In a letter to Voltaire he wrote that he wanted to enlighten "my people, cultivate their manners and morals, and make them as happy as human beings can be, or as happy as the means at my disposal permit." The Treaty of Dresden, signed on December 25, 1745, finally established Prussian rule in Silesia and ended for the time being the complex series of struggles that had begun five years earlier. However, the Habsburg successes against the French and Bavarians that followed so alarmed Frederick that early in 1742 he invaded Moravia, the region south of Silesia, which was under Austrian rule. Please select which sections you would like to print: Corrections? In 1745, he ordered the construction of a palace in Potsdam.He named the palace ” Sanssouci ” which means ” without concerns ” in French. Individual Enlightenment thinkers often had very different approaches. In 1781–82, he extended full legal freedom to serfs. Frederick William I died on May 31, 1740, and Frederick, on his accession, immediately made it clear to his ministers that he alone would decide policy. Frederick tolerated all religions in his realm, even though Protestantism was the most favoured one. France and Austria were consequently allied against Prussia and England. More serious, anti-Prussian feeling was now running high in Russia, where both the empress Elizabeth, who had ascended the throne in 1741, and her chancellor, Aleksey Bestuzhev-Ryumin, bitterly disliked Frederick. He was an enthusiast of French ideas and invited the prominent French Enlightenment philosopher Voltaire to live at his palace. Moreover, military victory had now made Prussia at least a semigreat power and marked Frederick as the most successful ruler in Europe. These gatherings involved artists and intellectuals from all around Europe. Concubines, friends, flatterers and charismatic saints must have no influence whatsoever on the course of policy, and he must never relax his suspicions of the motives of those who surround him. [18] For a brief period in Denmark Johann Friedrich Struensee attempted to govern in terms of Enlightenment principles. © copyright 2003-2020 Study.com. Russia and Sweden then entered the fray. Jozeal. Enlightened despots held that royal power emanated not from divine right but from a social contract whereby a despot was entrusted with the power to govern in lieu of any other governments. Frederick II, byname Frederick the Great, German Friedrich der Grosse, (born January 24, 1712, Berlin, Prussia [Germany]—died August 17, 1786, Potsdam, near Berlin), king of Prussia (1740–86), a brilliant military campaigner who, in a series of diplomatic stratagems and wars against Austria and other powers, greatly enlarged Prussia’s territories and made Prussia the foremost military power in Europe. Among other accomplishments, he inspired a complete reform of the legal system, ended censorship of the press and theater, and continued his mother’s reforms in education and medicine. However, he proved throughout his reign that, he was a statesman of extraordinary military and political talent. In effect, the monarchs of enlightened absolutism strengthened their authority by improving the lives of their subjects. Frederick II, king of Prussia (1740–86), was a brilliant military campaigner who, in a series of diplomatic stratagems and wars against Austria and other powers, greatly enlarged Prussia’s territories and made Prussia the foremost military power in Europe. In a new school system based on that of Prussia, all children of both genders from the ages were required to attend school from the ages of 6 to 12, although the law turned out to be very difficult to execute. [17], In some countries the initiative came not from rulers but from senior officials such as the Marquis of Pombal, who was Joseph I of Portugal's Secretary of State. The philosophes spent a great deal of energy disseminating their ideas among educated men and women in cosmopolitan cities. Government responses to the Age of Enlightenment varied widely. Frederick’s upbringing and education were strictly controlled by his father, who was a martinet as well as a paranoiac. Updated 13 days ago|10/23/2020 10:26:21 PM. Within a few months he was given a chance to do so in a way that revolutionized Prussia’s international position. In January 1756 he attempted to escape from this menacing situation by an agreement with Britain for the neutralization of Germany in the Anglo-French colonial and naval war that had just begun. Maria Theresa was determined to recover Silesia, and the peace she signed with France and Spain at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748 allowed her to accelerate significant improvements in the administration of her territories and the organization of her army. He ended censorship of the press and theater. By winning wars and expanding territories, he established Prussia as a strong military power. He tried to make the Catholic Church in his empire the tool of the state, independent of Rome. Frederick the Great was the Prussian ruler who was a believer in Enlightenment … Although Prussia received some support from England, it stood largely alone against the alliance of the continental powers. Frederick the Great was the Prussian ruler who was a believer in Enlightenment ideas. Omissions? How did Frederick the Great reflect Enlightenment ideas? Catherine established the Smolny Institute for Noble Girls to educate females. She continued to investigate educational theory and practice of other countries and while she introduced some educational reforms, she failed to establish a national school system.