II. Frederick the Great and Reformmilitary successesdomestic reformsHe consequently did not rule by his own personal whims, but always under the guidance of what was most beneficial for Prussia, and he expected his people to possess the same devotion.universal religiousfreedom of the pressindividual protections against the lawgeneral education rules agricultural reformsFrederick the Great remains one of the most famous German rulers of all time for his military successes and his domestic reforms that made Prussia one of the leading European nations. Frederick II (the Great) was king of Prussia from 1740 to 1786, and he stands as one of the greatest of the Enlightened Despots. He was an absolute ruler, but he lived under the principle that he was the "first servant of the state." He consequently did not rule by his own personal whims, but always under the guidance of what was most beneficial for Prussia, and he expected his people to possess the same devotion.Frederick devoted himself to building Prussia into a strong state and that meant both expansion and reform. When Frederick saw a chance to unify his kingdom geographically by taking over the Austrian province of Silesia, he quickly planned an invasion. This action went against an established treaty, but Frederick argued that agreements between nations became void when it was no longer beneficial to the state for them to exist. During the Seven Years War, Frederick successfully resisted opposition from France, Russia, and Austria despite a much smaller pool of resources. It was his military genius that saved his country and brought Prussia out of the war stronger than she had been before entering it.As king, Frederick issued a series of domestic reforms that modernized Prussia and built her up from within. He continued the work of his predecessors to consolidate power by giving the territorial princes a place in the governmental bureaucracy. He established universal religious toleration and granted freedom of the press. He established individual protections against the law by speeding up the legal process, abolishing torture, and making sentences of death legal only with his personal sanction. Prussian judges were educated and the courts gained a reputation as the most honest in Europe. He established the first German law code and enforced general education rules across Prussia. Frederick financed the rebuilding of towns through agricultural reforms and built thousands of miles of roads. Frederick built Prussia into one of the strongest nations in Europe and left a legacy of absolute devotion to the fatherland that continued to shape German history into the 20th century.III. Catherine the Great and ReformCatherine the Great is remembered as one of the greatest reformers of Russia. During her reign, Catherine continued the reforms begun by Peter the Great that ultimately led to the emergence of Russia onto the worldwide stage of politics.Catherine was a German princess whose original name was Sophie Augusta Fredericka. She was born on April 21, 1729 at Settin, Pomerania to Johanna Elizabeth and the Prince Christian Augustus. On August 21, 1744 Catherine married Peter III, the Grand Duke of Holstein and heir apparent to the Russian throne, in the biggest ceremony ever performed in Europe. Peter III was crowned ruler of Russia in 1761. Peter proved to be a very unpopular and inept sovereign and was murdered in June of 1762 in a coup staged by the Imperial Guards. Catherine was named empress and ruled for more than thirty years.Catherine proceeded to "Westernize" Russia. However, unlike Peter the Great, Catherine scorned force and instead focused on pursuing individualistic endeavors. Her reforms went even farther after a failed peasant revolt in 1773 led by YemelianPugachev threatened Eastern Russia. As a result, Catherine the Great instituted several drastic reforms within the Russian society. First, she established the Free Economic Society (1765) to encourage the modernization of agriculture and industry. Second, she encouraged foreign investment in economically underdeveloped areas. Third, Catherine relaxed the censorship law and encouraged education for the nobles and middle class.During Catherine's reign, Russia also achieved great military success and gained large tracts of land. Following two successful wars against the Ottoman Empire, Russia annexed Crimea, which gave it access to the Black Sea. In addition, Russia's control over Poland and Luxembourg allowed it to annex three separate tracts of land.By the time of her death on Nov. 17, 1796, Catherine the Great had pushed Russia into the modern era. Moreover, Russia entered the modern era as a dominant player in the world.
The reforms thatweremade by the enlighted despots made an revolutionarydifference from the absolutism to the leadersthatvaluedtheir population. Enlightened despotism, also known as enlightened absolutism, is a form of absolute monarchy where the monarchs strove to to improve the loives of their subjects in an effort to reinforce their own authority. The emphasis was on rationality, and religious toloerance, freedom of speech, and the right to hold private property were usually allowed.
HITLER'S ECONOMIC CHAOSAfter Hitler was nominated Reich Chancellor in 1933 he succeeded in a short time in eliminating all organs of the Reich and turned the republic into a formless despotism. Hitler promised full employment, financial security, and a better life on the basis of 'Socialist Plenty'. At first it looked as if Hitler's economic policies were really successful in bringing better living conditions to the German people. However, this brief period of improvement was soon replaced by economic chaos.The truth It is difficult if not impossible to find a single successful revolutionist who did not begin his career as a demagogue and end it as a despot. Caesar, the haughty conqueror, was an astute politician, an habitual complainer for the public and a professional democrat. He had for many years been the most ruthless antagonist of the Roman aristocrats. As the head of a great army, he could probably have subdued the country without making any promises, nevertheless he snared the masses by a program which was almost identical with the one used nearly two thousand years later by Lenin. Caesar pledged himself to the abolition of debts, the confiscation of the property of those who had worked to acquire land and possessions, the allotment of lands to the soldiers, and the provision of work and bread to the hungry and unemployed. Lenin, as we know, promised the masses work, bread, peace, land and the factories. Hitler promised work and bread, while Mussolini offered work and glory. In other words a despotic government cuts off wealth at its source. All successful Revolutionists have been adored by the populace as long as they were making promises. When these promises were not fullfilled they were then hated by the people. And yet no matter what the promises, the poor are always with us. No matter what the programs are, nor what they do, the inequalities and iniquities which afflict humanity outlast all the revolutions. Promises of perfect justice, abiding peace, complete liberty, universal equality, fraternity, work, land, and the abundant life are, however, only a part of the revolutionist's technique for acquiring power. In reality these have never been the aims of the revolution. The real aims have always been as they are now, to capture the State. With it firmly in their hands, everything may be made their own -- the corn, the cattle, the land, and the bodies and souls of the people.
www.forbes.com/sites/danielfreedman/2011/03/02/understanding-todays-middle-east-dictators-v-despots/Four factors are central to determining whether a protest movement of the sort seen in Egypt and Tunisia will overthrow a leader: the structure of the regime (is it purely authoritarian without even the pretense of democracy?); the army (is it strong and loyal to the leader?); the general population (do they fear the regime and believe its rhetoric?); and influential groups (in the Middle East, for example, do powerful tribes support the regime?). Despots come out well on all four factors, while dictators (however ruthless they are) fail to satisfy them.The despotism of monarchs exercising far greater powers than any medieval king was supported by the doctrine of the "divine right of kings," and scripture quoted to show that revolution was detested by God. Speakers of sedition or blasphemy quickly found themselves imprisoned, or even executed. Organizations which tried to challenge the twin authorities of church and state were banned. There had been plenty of intolerance and dogma to go around in the Middle Ages, but the emergence of the modern state made its tyranny much more efficient and powerful
Transcript of "An era of enlightened despotism"
AN ERA OF ENLIGHTENED DESPOTISM "first servant of the state."