Frederick the Great of Prussia

In 1648 the Peace of Westphalia gave independence to various parts of Germany. One part was Prussia. This allowed Frederick the Great to rise to the seat of ruler of Prussia in 1740. As a leader, he was able to establish his name by being efficient and benevolent. He tried to establish a coexistence of every religion in Prussia. He improved the lives of serfs, and encouraged immigration. Due to this acceptance of immigration, Prussia was able to flourish economically. They were able to gain more commercial power once they had gained territory along the Baltic coast.

Frederick the Great in Prussia

The Peace of Westphalia in 1648 establish the independence of several small sections of Germany. Chief among these new states was Prussia. Now, before this time Germany had still been a group of disjointed city states, it hadn’t actually been one big nation.

After this Peace of Westphalia, it wasn’t all that strange that several sections would break off and want to become independent and become their own nation so that they could control it better. Prussia was one of those states. Frederick the Great, who live from 1712 to 1786, became the ruler of Prussia in 1740 and he displayed great efficiency and benevolence.

He was someone who was both an efficient ruler and he was kind to his people. He became known as Frederick the Great because he did a lot of good for Prussia. He made a genuine effort to allow for the coexistence of all the religious groups in Prussia. He tried to promote religious tolerance.

He didn’t want any groups persecuted because of their religion. Especially since they just broken off of Germany and Germany had been going through a lot of turmoil because of religious intolerance between Lutherans, who were a group of Protestants, and the Roman Catholic Church, whom the Protestants had broken away from.

Social and Economic Reforms

Frederick also worked to improve the lives of the serfs. The serfs were basically the servant class. They weren’t slaves, but they didn’t get paid very much to actually do what they did, and they waited on the other people were served other members of Prussia.

Frederick worked to improve their lives and make sure they were taken care of better. He also encouraged immigration to Prussia, so he wanted people to move to Prussia. With him encouraging it, there was indeed more immigration to Prussia and this brought in new ideas and new technological advances.

Not only was he bringing in new citizens who could help populate the area of Prussia, but he was also helping to bring in new ideas and technological advances to Prussia to better its economy. Prussia, which had long suffered economically because of those German religious wars, now became a producer of luxury goods like porcelain and silk.

For a long time as a part of Germany Prussia that suffered economically, because Germany was suffering because everyone was fighting, that meant Prussia was suffering. Now, since Prussia was independent, Prussia was able to create these luxury goods. They were able to boost their economy and start actually doing more trading.

Prussia also had more commercial power with the acquisition of new territory along the Baltic coast. Since they now had this new territory along the coast, they had more area that they could ship goods out of or receive goods into.

After the Peace of Westphalia during the period where other countries were in Europe were experiencing enlightenment, Prussia got a little bit of that too. It gained its independence, it had Frederick the Great as a prominent leader who was able to boost the economy through promoting tolerance among everyone, so no one was fighting over their religion, and through immigration, and through commerce. The period of enlightenment for Prussia did indeed see it have a boost economically as well as becoming a more commercial power.



by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: February 13, 2024