From Frederick II - Essay on the Forms of Government A sovereign must possess an exact and detailed knowledge of the strong and of the weak points of his country.
See Article History Alternative Titles: An enlightened absolute monarch, he favoured French language and art and built a French Rococo palace, Sanssouci, near Berlin.
Frederick, the third king of Prussiaranks among the two or three dominant figures in the history of modern Germany. Under his leadership Prussia became one of the great states of Europe.
Its territories were greatly increased and its military strength displayed to striking effect. From early in his reign Frederick achieved a high reputation as a military commander, and the Prussian army rapidly became a model admired and imitated in many other states.
He also emerged quickly as a leading exponent of the ideas of enlightened government, which were then becoming influential throughout much of Europe; indeed, his example did much to spread and strengthen those ideas. Notably, his insistence on the primacy of state over personal or dynastic interests and his religious toleration widely affected the dominant intellectual currents of the age.
His actual achievements, however, were sometimes less than they appeared on the surface; indeed, his inevitable reliance on the landowning officer Junker class set severe limits in several respects to what he could even attempt. Nevertheless, his reign saw a revolutionary change in the importance and prestige of Prussia, which was to have profound implications for much of the subsequent history of Europe.
Encouraged and supported by his mother and his sister Wilhelmina, Frederick soon came into bitter conflict with his father. His disappointment and contempt took the form of bitter public criticism and even outright physical violence, and Frederick, beaten and humiliated by his father, often over trifling details of behaviour, took refuge in evasion and deceit.
During the next year or more Frederick, as a punishment, was employed as a junior official in local administration and deprived Frederick ii of prussia essay on the forms of government his military rank. The effects of this terrible early life are impossible to measure with accuracy, but there is little doubt that the violent and capricious bullying of his father influenced him deeply.
Inafter a partial reconciliation with his father, Frederick was married to a member of a minor German princely family, Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern, for whom he never cared and whom he systematically neglected. In the following year he saw active military service for the first time under the great Austrian commander Eugene of Savoy against the French army in the Rhineland.
In the later s, in semiretirement in the castle of Rheinsberg near Berlin and able for the first time to give free rein to his own tastes, he read voraciously, absorbing the ideas on government and international relations that were to guide him throughout his life. These years were perhaps the happiest that Frederick ever experienced.
However, his relations with his father, though somewhat improved, remained strained. Accession to the throne and foreign policy Frederick William I died on May 31,and Frederick, on his accession, immediately made it clear to his ministers that he alone would decide policy.
The Holy Roman emperor Charles VIof the Austrian house of Habsburgdied on October 20, leaving as his heir a daughter, the archduchess Maria Theresawhose claims to several of the heterogeneous Habsburg territories were certain to be disputed. Moreover, her army was in a poor state, the financial position of the Habsburg government very difficult, and her ministers mediocre and in many cases old.
Frederick, however, thanks to his father, had a fine army and ample funds at his disposal. The most important threat to his plans was Russian support for Maria Theresa, which he hoped to avert by judicious bribery in St.
Petersburg and by exploiting the confusion that was likely to follow the imminent death of the empress Anna. He also hoped that Maria Theresa would cede most of Silesia in return for a promise of Prussian support against her other enemies, but her refusal to do so made war inevitable.
However, the Habsburg successes against the French and Bavarians that followed so alarmed Frederick that early in he invaded Moravia, the region south of Silesia, which was under Austrian rule.
His rather incomplete victory at Chotusitz in May nonetheless forced Maria Theresa to cede almost all of Silesia by the Treaty of Berlin of in July. Frederick, again alarmed by this, invaded Bohemia in August and rapidly overran it.
However, by the end of the year lack of French support and threats to his lines of communication had forced him to retreat. He was rescued from this threatening situation by the prowess of his army; victories at Hohenfriedberg in June and at Soor in September were followed by a Prussian invasion of Saxony.
The Treaty of Dresdensigned on December 25,finally established Prussian rule in Silesia and ended for the time being the complex series of struggles that had begun five years earlier.
Silesia was a valuable acquisition, being more developed economically than any other major part of the Hohenzollern dominions. Moreover, military victory had now made Prussia at least a semigreat power and marked Frederick as the most successful ruler in Europe.
He was well aware, however, that his situation was far from secure. Maria Theresa was determined to recover Silesia, and the peace she signed with France and Spain at Aix-la-Chapelle in allowed her to accelerate significant improvements in the administration of her territories and the organization of her army.
More serious, anti-Prussian feeling was now running high in Russia, where both the empress Elizabethwho had ascended the throne inand her chancellor, Aleksey Bestuzhev-Ryumin, bitterly disliked Frederick.
In September Britain signed an agreement with Russia by which Russia, in return for British subsidies, was to provide a large military force in its Baltic provinces to protect, if necessary, the electorate of Hanover, ruled by George II, against possible French or Prussian attack.
Frederick was deeply alarmed by this: In January 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.“Essay on Forms of Government” by Frederick II The King of Prussia, Frederick II (), was a model of and Enlightened despot.
He took very seriously his duties as king. A sovereign must possess an exact and detailed knowledge of the strong and of the weak points of his country. Count von Seckendorf: On Frederick William I. King Frederick William 1 () made possible the rise of Prussia through his creation of an efficient army and bureaucracy.
Seckendorf was the Austrian ambassador in Berlin. Frederick the Great and 21st-Century Political Malaise.
The problem of good government is old and stubborn. So much so that many of us wonder if such a thing as good government even exists. One head of state to ponder the matter was Frederick II of Prussia (–). Frederick II, byname Frederick the Great, German Friedrich der Grosse, (born January 24, , Berlin, Prussia [Germany]—died August 17, , Potsdam, near Berlin), king of Prussia (–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.
Modern History Sourcebook: Frederick II: Essay on Forms of Government * The King of Prussia, Frederick II (), was a model of and [sic] Enlightened despot. He took very seriously his duties as king. The philosophes and the ‘enlightened depots’ – Catherine the Great (Russia), Frederick the Great (Prussia), Joseph II (Austria) - “everything for the people, nothing by the people.” Voltaire, Diderot.