Enlightened Despotism: Absolutism with a Smile. What was “Enlightened Despotism”? Definition:...
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Absolutism with a Smile
What was Enlightened Despotism?Definition: Absolutist states influenced by the ideals of the EnlightenmentEquality of all under lawSupport for natural rights religious toleration freedom of speech, pressright to private propertylimits on torture/capital punishmentPatronage of Arts & Education
Europe in the 18th CenturyExceptions:FranceBritainPolandEnlightened Despotism:AustriaPrussiaRussia
France: Louis XV, 1715-1774Problems left by Louis XIVLazy, weakEasily influencedSeven Years WarEnormous Debt
Madame de PompadourLouis XV
Great Britain: King & ParliamentParliamentPowerful AristocracyPeers (H of Lords)Landed Gentry (H of Commons)Unequal RepresentationNew cities lack MPsPocket Boroughs
KingHanover DynastyRelied Heavily on Prime Ministers (Walpole, Pitt)George IGeorge IIGeorge III
Important Prime Ministers
William Pitt, the Elder(1757-61)Favored empireWon Seven Years WarRobert Walpole(1721-42)Handled ParliamentDispensed PatronagePeaceful Foreign PolicyLow Taxes William Pitt, the Younger(1783-1806)Maintains Patronage systemFrench Rev & Nap.Deals with George IIIs insanity
Partition of PolandRivalry between Austria/Prussia/RussiaFirst Partition (1772)Second Partition (1793)Third Partition (1795)
Prussia (West Prussia)Russia (E. Poland)Austria (Galicia)
Austria: Maria TeresaWar of Austrian SuccessionPragmatic SanctionPrussia gains SilesiaCentralizes tax collection10 royal districtsModernizes militaryVery Catholic, not open to social reformsMaria Teresa, 1740-1780
Austria: Joseph IIPhilosophy = lawmaker of my empire6,000 decrees/11,000 lawsAbolished serfdomFree tradeNo death penaltyEquality of all in lawComplete religious tolerationRestrictions on Catholic ChurchPatronizes arts, music (Mozart)
Alienates upper classes, Church, ethnic minoritiesJoseph II, 1780-90
Prussia: Frederick II (The Great)Highly educatedFriend of VoltaireKing = First Servant of StateLimits on tortureSome freedom of speech/pressComplete religious tolerationBUT only goes so farMaintains serfdomStrengthens Junker classMilitaristicFrederick II, 1740-86
Catherine the GreatWell-educatedPatron of Arts & LiteratureFriend of Voltaire, DiderotInstruction (1767)Questioned serfdomQuestioned torture/capital punishmentAdvocated equality in law
All talk. . . No action!Catherine II, 1762-96
Catherine the Great (cont.)Strengthened boyars50 districts controlled by noblesCharter of the Nobility (1785)Pugachevs Rebellion (1774)repression of peasantryExpands territoryWest (Poland)South (Crimea, Black Sea)Emelian Pugachev
Red = Russia (c. 1650)Green = acquisitions of Peter the GreatPurple = acquisitions of Catherine the Great
Miscellaneous NationsSweden: Gustavus III (1771-92)reasserted power of monarchyenlightened reformsSpain--Bourbon administrative reformsPortugalMarquis de Pombal (1699-1782)Limited power of nobles and ChurchNetherlands--domination of politics by oligarchs and House of Orange
Final EvaluationHow enlightened were enlightened despots?Which went the furthest?What were they most concerned with?What limits on reform existed in these states?