Imitating France? Other Examples of European Absolutism
• Where is it and why that matters
• Prussia is hard to defend because:
➢ Not territorially continuous, geographically spread out
➢ Has no natural borders
➢ Not wealthy
• Frederick William, the Great Elector
➢ The “Great Recess”: 1653, refers to the summoning
➢ Frederick gets the right to collect a certain amount from taxes from
commoners (nobility exempt) in which he uses to create an army of
20,000-40,000 men. He hired this army out to other countries to use.
➢ The Prussian’s will loose a war if you fight them but they will take such a
price from the opposing army that it’s better to just avoid them or create
➢ Army designed for a sprint – short smart wars
➢ He ties the nobility to an idea of nation military service
➢ Voltaire called Prussia not a state but instead “an army with a state where
➢ Nobility (Junkers) gets: tax exemption, right of inheritance,
• The social consequences of Prussia’s development
• Prussia ends with an aristocracy. Prussian Lord’s have almost complete rule
of serfdoms as long as it doesn’t go against the King – Frederick (Frederick
William the Great Elector’s son?)
• Sonderweg? – Special path. The path that led the future of a country down a
• Shhh… we’re not really sure it’s part of the West
• One of the oldest definitions on European was Christendom- their religion
was based on that of Rome.
• Russia however has a different religion – Orthodox.
• Russia has a different alphabet, religion, language.
• To most European nation’s Russia is not part of Europe due to the significant
differences it has compared to European countries
• Peter the Great brings the west to Russia, a little bit
➢ In 1697 he decides he’s going to modernize and westernize Ru