Unlike Rousseau, they did not believe that man was naturally good and therefore a constitution was necessary to provide control. These were no backward-looking traditionalists. Toleration and freedom of religion were very important. You might have noticed that the sheer size of Russia has made this a theme throughout its history. The enlightenment has been hailed as the source of everything thathas progressed into the modern world. Not only were the serfs not represented at this meeting, but after the Pugachev uprising, Catherine dismissed the commission.
This was political change from above, benevolent paternalism, which could be undone at their whim. She treated religion indifferently, using church lands to help fund the state. These freedoms were limited but still largely different from many monarchs at the time. These reforms were very reluctantly accepted by the Empress, as she was a devout Roman Catholic and did not want to interfere with the Church's power. Yes, Napoleon did want to do a few things for himself, but he also ruled for the majority in most cases, promote government-funded education, and supported many other enlightened ideas. Some philosophical eventsof note are the production of the United States and itsConstitution; along with current European political affairs. In 1807, the Milan Decree was passed which stated that any ship which traded or even been stopped by the British Navy was to be confiscated.
By now, the pattern is predictable. It incorporated the beliefs in liberty, progress, and tolerance into the all-encompassing rule of its despots. Catherine the Great was an absolutist leader who preached the benefits of the Enlightenment but made policy decisions in complete contradiction to Enlightenment ideals. However, they were encouraged by the philosophers to make good laws to promote human happiness. Neither the king of England nor the Dutch stadtholder qualified as an enlightened absolutist, but even they were following the general trend toward centralizing power. French progressive thinkers were challenged in a way that their English counterparts were not. It evolved into modern Islamism, in all its variety, and established regimes in Iran and Sudan.
In 1651, Thomas Hobbes published Leviathan, a masterful Enlightenment case for absolute monarchy based, paradoxically, on the assertion of natural individual rights. Fiscal demands from the states and empires during the eighteenth-century made economic policy an urgent issue. Frederick allowed his subjects to believe in whatever religion they desired. With the assistance of French experts, he reorganized the system of indirect taxes, which soon provided the state with more revenue. So there was a degree of benevolence to their reforms and influence from Enlightenment ideals, but there was also self-interest on the part of the monarch. Thinkers such as Adam Smith and the Abbe Guillaume Thomas Francois Raynal wondered whether colonization made humanity better.
It became so powerful that the ruling elites of Europe began spouting Enlightenment thought even if their power and control oftentimes seemed to contradict what these thinkers were trying to say. Monarchs and Emperors are inherently elite and by looking at the experiences, policies, and beliefs of individuals like Catherine the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte, we should be able to see an answer forming. They wanted to transform their heterogenous possessions into powerful and docile states. In the nineteenth century, many Ottoman elites—soldiers, bureaucrats, educators—likewise found the principles of modern practical learning appealing, even though those principles had come from the same Europe that was humiliating their once-mighty empire. This article is written like a that states a Wikipedia editor's personal feelings or presents an original argument about a topic.
B The Junkers and the Serfs: -A firm believer in social order, Frederick strengthened the Junkers' priveledges -The Junkers retained full control over their serfs. An enlightened despot is an authoritarian leader who exercises rationality and, in some cases, tolerance. In Canada, American colonists captured the French fortress of Louisburg 3. The Codex Theresianus 1766 introduced a civil code with some improvement in rights for its people for example. Indeed, thanks in part to their ability to harness Enlightenment techniques for state organization, their rulers enjoyed much more power than their medieval counterparts ever did. Frederick gained his popularity by implementing enlightenment ideas into the nation.
The most important of these was the institution of the democratic Assemblies of the Estate. He improved the educational system and provided education to most everybody. Frederick also made some social changes which followed the philosophes ideas directly like his reforms on freedoms and punishments. Everyone was into this, from kings to philosophers to peasants. When Frederick died after 46 years on the throne, he left his beloved Prussia as arguably the strongest nation in central Europe. It was one of those bizarre instances of historical contradiction, where an era that was concerned with freedom and individual liberty crashed into one simultaneously obsessed with despotic rulers concerned with their absolutist political control. His action culminated in a major European conflict, the Seven Years' War 1756-1763 , in which he was pitted against a powerful European coalition of Austria, Russia, and France.
Philosophers like Voltaire encouraged and even instructed these enlightened despots. But it does accurately represent the ways that Enlightened Absolutists felt about the monarchy or in this case, about themselves. However, she did make efforts to reform the state to some degree. So-called enlightened despots appealed to current ideas of progress and to individual thinkers to justify their actions, and once in a while actually did adopt enlightened prescriptions as policy. That is tolerant of alternative opinions.
In the end, paradoxically, these policies helped to make the monarchs themselves less necessary to the functioning of the state apparatus by establishing public law as a standard for governance. Frederick the Great was just such a man. Voltaire, who had been imprisoned and maltreated by the French government, was eager to accept Frederick's invitation to live at his palace. Much of what they built is still standing today. How does one create a free society? In recent history dictators such as , , , , , , , , and can be characterized as enlightened despots. What they had in mind was simply monarchies possessing sufficient power to establish enlightened policies that would lead to a fairer, better, and more humane society. Frederick the Great was an almost perfect example of the enlightened despot.
Lesson Summary In closing, Enlightened Despotism had a checkered record in 18th-century Europe. Indeed, the century that followed Hobbes, the heyday of Enlightenment philosophy and science, is often known as the era of enlightened absolutism. Despite the importance of the Napoleonic Code in helping to push for Enlightenment legal systems and bureaucracies across Europe, Napoleon was still a tyrant. He restricted some rights like freedom of the press and had a secret police force to get rid of his enemies. Since her reign in Russia, it has been debated whether or not her implementation of Enlightenment ideals was for the greater good of her country, or for her to protect her place in power and further her own selfish gains.