Enlightened Absolutism Late 18th century Enlightened Absolutism Enlightened Despot/Absolutist: rulers who tried to justify their absolute rule by claiming to rule in the people’s interest by making good laws, promoting human happiness, and improving society – – – – They were instructed by the philosophes Typically didn’t argue “Divine Right” Late 18th century A bit of an oxymoron Why Respect the Philosophe? • The philosophes were considered intellectuals and had elevated status, therefore were well respected by monarchies throughout Europe. • Philosophes were not the voice of the common people (“people”). • Most influential Enlightened Absolutists: – Catherine the Great, Russia – Frederick the Great, Prussia – Joseph II, Austria (Hapsburg) Catherine the Great (r.1762-1796) German princess who led Russia (was married to Peter III, plotted to have him murdered) -created hospitals -codified Russian law -brought “culture” to Russia -allowed some religious toleration -improved education, local govt. -sought territorial expansion -Pugachev serf uprising (1773) led her to reverse some reforms Catherine the Great & Peter III Frederick II, Prussia (r. 1740-1786) Nicknamed “The Great” for his enlightened reforms Positive: -improved educational system -eliminated torture of accused criminals -allowed freedom of religion and press Negative: -Didn’t end serfdom, kept noble privileges in tact Frederick the Great Maria Theresa & Joseph II, Austria (Hapsburgs) Maria Theresa (Austria) -est. national army -limited the power of the Catholic Church -revised the tax system -improved ed. system -limited the power of the lord over serfs Joseph II (Austria) -abolished serfdom -tolerance of Calvinists and Lutherans -eliminated restrictions placed on Jews -abolished capital punishment Maria Theresa & Joseph II War of Austrian Succession (1740-1748) • Frederick II (Great) invaded Austrian controlled Silesia. – This broke the Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VI allowing Maria Theresa to rule in peace. – Maria wanted Silesia back and fought with various alliances (mainly Britain, and Prussia fought with France). She lost Silesia to Prussia in 1748 in the Treaty of Aix-laChapelle. – Maria soon determined that Britain was a bigger enemy to her than France. She allied herself with France and Prussia allied with Britain (they switched allies). – The war that subsequently took place (because Frederick attacked Austrian ally Saxony) was called the Seven Years War in Europe (1756-1763), and French and Indian War in North America.