Enlightened Absolutism: A Failure of Reform

Published: 2021-09-11 13:40:11
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Category: English

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Enlightened Absolutism: A failure of reform

After having read the assigned pages, I believe Enlightened Absolutism was not a success. In the countries and empires of Prussia, The Austrian Empire, and Russia they all had major problems with their nobility and the loyalty of the people. In each of these three powers they became obsessed with their militaries. The push to make their militaries bigger and stronger left out their citizens, overlooking the heart of any country: the people they ruled. This destroyed their nations.
During this time in the 1700's, the country of Prussia was becoming stronger and more powerful. Frederick William I, the ruler at the time, built up an army that was the fourth strongest in Europe. This cost a tremendous amount of money. The people had to pay for his military growth. His son, Fredrick II took control of the throne and continued to increase the army and then failed to make additional reforms. Though Fredrick I thought he was an enlightened monarch, his quest for power failed and the people did not experience true Enlightened Absolution.
The Austrian Empire was ruled by Maria Theresa who did not want to make reforms. According o our readings, "She was not open to the philosophes' calls for reform..." Her son though, Joseph II, had a reformation plan was massive. He issued thousands of decrees and laws to the country. Compared to his mother he did try to institute reforms that were based on Enlightened Absolutism, but his plan was too massive that it turned everybody against him. In fact at the end of his life when writing the words for his gravestone he wrote, "Here lies Joseph II who was unfortunate in everything he undertook." Perhaps in another time he might have been considered a great leader but not in his day.

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