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Enlightened Despotism


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  • 1. Enlightened Despotism
  • 2. What is Enlightened Despotism?
    is a form of absolutism (or despotism) in which rulers were influenced by the Enlightenment.
  • 3. Enlightened Despotism (cont.)
    Enlightened monarchs embraced the principles of the Enlightenment, especially its emphasis upon rationality, and applied them to their territories
  • 4. Enlightened Despotism (cont.)
    They tended to allow:
    • religious toleration
    • 5. freedom of speech and the press
    • 6. the right to hold private property
    Most fostered the arts, sciences, and education
  • 7. What Did the Philosophes Think?
    Many did not wish to go the political route of Montesquieu’s limited monarchy or Rousseau’s democracy
    Most were pro-monarchy (Voltaire, Diderot, etc.) and did not wish to limit a monarch’s power
  • 8. Philosophe’s (cont.)
    Instead, they sought to redirect that power toward the rationalization of economic and political structures & the liberation of thought
  • 9. Enlightened Despots
  • 10. Frederick the Great King of Prussianot the mall…
  • 11. Frederick II of Prussia
    r. 1740-1786
    AKA Frederick the Great
    Self-described “first servant of the people”
  • 12. Economic Policies
    Silesia as a manufacturing district
    State-initiated agricultural improvements:
    • Created more farmland (drained swamps)
    • 13. Successfully introduced new crops: potatoes & turnips
    • 14. Established the Land-Mortgage Credit Association which helped landowners raise money for agricultural improvements
  • However…
    Peasants still burdened by disproportionate taxes
  • 15. Non-Economic Policies
    Religious Toleration
    • Catholics & Jews allowed to settle in predominately Lutheran territory
    • 16. Protected Catholics living in Silesia
    • 17. State benefited from the economic contributions of more workers
  • Non-Econ. Policies (cont.)
    Rationalization of Legal System
    • Efficiency
    • 18. Unified regional law to match state law (more central authority)
    • 19. Decreased nobility’s influence
  • Joseph IIKing of Austria
  • 20. Joseph II of Austria
    r. 1780-1790
    Co-ruled with his mother, Maria-Theresa from 1765 until her death in 1780
  • 21. Joseph II
    Not known for his warm personality - was said to be impersonal & humorless
    However, he wanted to improve life for his people
  • 22. Centralization of Authority
    Austria was very diverse
    Maria-Theresa began some Enlightened policies such as:
    • More efficient tax system in which clergy & nobility were taxed
    • 23. Brought educational institutions to the service of the crown
  • Maria-Theresa (cont.)
    Expanded primary education
    Limited the amount of labor that landowners could demand from peasants
    Goal = to create a pool from which to draw military recruits
  • 24. Joseph II’s Reforms
    Wanted to extend his borders
    Wanted to exert his authority over areas where his mother had wisely chosen to stay out (irrational to have more than 1 leader)
  • 25. Joe’s Reforms (cont.)
    Tried to establish German as the sole language of the empire (irrational not to all speak the same language)
    Didn’t work out, and eventually had to rescind these orders
  • 26. Joseph & the Church
    Favored toleration
    • October 1781 - Issued a Toleration Decree
    • 27. Lutherans, Calvinists, & Greek Orthodox permitted to:
    • 28. Have own places of worship
    • 29. Sponsor schools
    • 30. Enter skilled trades
    • 31. Hold academic appointments
    • 32. Hold positions in public service
  • Joseph & Church (cont.)
    • Jews:
    • 33. Relieved of certain taxes & signs of personal degradation
    • 34. Granted the right to private worship
    • 35. Still did not have equality with other subjects
  • More Joseph & Church
    Sought to bring institutions of the Roman Catholic Church under his control (“Josephinism”)
    • Forbade local bishops to communicate with the Pope
    • 36. Dissolved over 600 territories and took their land (unless they were schools or hospitals)
  • Even More Joseph & the Church
    • Dissolved established Roman Catholic Seminaries (too much focus on Pope, not enough on parishners) & replaced with 8 seminaries where parish duties were the focus
    • 37. Funded w/ money from confiscated monasteries
    • 38. Roman Catholic priests = employees of the state
  • Joseph’s Economic Reforms
    Abolished internal tariffs
    Encouraged building of new roads
    Improved river transportation
    Personally inspected farms & manufacturing districts
  • 39. Economic Reforms (cont.)
    Created laws to limit authority of landowners over peasants
    • Abolished serfdom as a legally sanctioned state of servitude
    • 40. Granted peasants many personal freedoms such as the right to marry and engage in skilled work w/o landowner’s permission
    • 41. Goal = reduce traditional burdens on peasants
  • The BIG Economic Reform…
    Land Taxation (GASP!!)
    • All landowners were to pay taxes regardless of social status
    • 42. Peasants no longer had to bear burden of taxes alone
    Died shortly after this decree and it was never implemented (his brother Leopold was forced to repeal it…)
  • 43. Catherine the GreatEmpress of Russia
  • 44. Catherine The Great
    r. 1762-1796
    Germanic Princess & wife/widow of Peter III
    Approved (& possibly aided in) the assassination of her husband
    • Gregory Orlov, her lover, organized the coup that murdered Peter III
  • 45. Catherine the Great
    Ideas of the Enlightenment convinced her that Russia was backward
    Brought everything Western to Russia
    • Ex.: Diderot - paid him & offered to publish his Encyclopedia in Russia when it was banned by the French Gov’t.
  • 1767 Legislative Commission
    500 Delegates from all walks of life
    Goal was to suggest reforms (guided by Enlightenment ideals)
    Result = nothing, but Catherine got a good feel for her country’s problems
  • 46. CTG’s Legislative Reforms
    Gave strong support/power to nobility
    • They had the power to oust her, so she made friends with them
    “Charter of Nobility”
    • Gave nobles complete control over serfs
    • 47. Local offices given to local nobles (not royal offices, though)
  • CTG’s Economic Reforms
    Continued PTG’s mercantile ideas
    Supported expansion of the small Russian urban middle class (vital for trade)
    Kept a close tie to philosophes so they would write about her favorably
  • 48. CTG’s Territorial Reforms
    Continued the drive for warm water ports (fought Ottoman Empire)
    1774 Treaty of Kuchuck-Kainardji - gave Russia a direct outlet on the Black Sea
    Active in the First Partition of Poland (along w/ Austria & Prussia)
  • 49. CTG’s Social Reforms
    Limited, but did create hospitals & orphanages
    Limited religious toleration
    Slight restriction of the use of torture by the government
  • 50. Pugachev Rebellion
    Most violent peasant uprising in Russian history
    1773-1774 - peasants and Cossacks killed 1500 nobles and clergy
    This rebellion limited the amount of reforms geared toward them
  • 51.
  • 52. Who Was Most Enlightened?
    In your journal section, write 1 paragraph that answers:
    Who best exemplifies an “Enlightened Despot” - Frederick the Great, Joseph II, or Catherine the Great? Why?