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6. Enlightened Absolutism.doc

Course Code
HIS 1401E

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Enlightened Absolutism
Frederick the Great ruled 1740-1786
Improved Prussia’s economy
Political reforms Religious toleration Abolished serfdom on royal lands
Reforms benefited the nobles not the people
Catherine the Great
Coup d’etat
Great Instruction
Pugachev Rebellion
The Revolutionary Emperor
Joseph 2nd
Determined to rule by enlightenment principles
Abolished serfdom
Edict of Toleration
Restricted activates of the Church
The Partition of Poland
First partion 1772
Second Partition 1793
Third Partition 1795
Enlightened absolutism proved to be more “absolute” than “enlightened”. Enlightened
despots often supported only those enlightenment principles that enhanced their own
authority and few attempted to enact fundamental reforms. Yet some rulers made progress
toward fulfilling the goals of the Philosophes and by challenging the traditional order the
helped to prepare the way for revolutionary change.
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