Starting in and around the year 1740 with the crowning of Maria Theresa as empress, began the buildup of the Prussian army. In the eighteenth century commenced the rein of the “Prince of Prussia”. By mid century, despite only having 3 million inhabitants it had the third strongest army in Europe. It was planning to take over Austria. According to the author, Ozment, the key to Prussia’s dominance and success was due to its ability to conquer and build because of long lived kings. Frederick I crowned himself the King of Prussia in 1701 and openly challenged Austria.
His son, Frederick William I brought back Prussian virtues of discipline, obedience and piety. Between him and his son, the army quadrupled in size. An integration of religion and social reform transformed the country. This served to enlighten and educate the populace. Prussia attacked Austria three times, won the Silesian war, increased its landmass by half and revenues by a third. Prussia later suffered a few defeats when attacked by other European countries in the battle of Kolin and others.
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But the embattled Prussia returned at Rossbach, thought to be their greatest victory. By war’s end, a large amount of the country was destitute and 1/10th of its prewar population had perished. But Frederick aimed to build and rebuild. His reign was deemed enlightened absolutist because it was “hierarchical and strong-armed, yet optimistic and progressive for the times”. The ruler enabled free press, economic development and the codification of Prussian law.
. Frederick believed that the power of Prussia was in its army and he developed it. He also created a strong centralized government and even ruled over the Prussian nobles who wanted their estates, serf and etc. He was also philosophically aligned with John Locke, another enlightened thinker and “father of liberalism”. Frederick also followed the model that a ruler was authoritative over individuals because he represented and enforced order in order to make individual freedoms possible.
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