- Sep 2020
loss of Silesia
Conquered from Maria Theresa during the War of Austrian Succession in violation of the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713, to which Frederick was a signatory.
In many ways, this is seen as an example of Realpolitik, in which a nation's strategic strength is the determining factor in how it conducts policy (rather than promises or a sense of honour). This is a concept that will become increasingly important in Prussian policy into the 19th century, under Bismarck.
while a Minister’s view is always slanted on matters that affect his own interests, so that instead of promoting deserving persons he will fill the places with his own creatures, and will try to strengthen his own position by the number of persons whom he makes dependent on his fortunes;
Here, we see a distrust of Democratic systems, commoners, and burgher-capitalism.
The thread of logic is that people from lower classes - coming from positions of less power and wealth - are more susceptible to corruption as they attempt to shore up their own interests by surrounding themselves with flunkies and sycophants.
The nobility, on the other hand, need no such false assurances.
itis necessary for the sovereign to conduct his business himself, because he will, if he is wise, pursue only the public interest, which is his own
Here, Frederick seems to be touching on a key concept of absolutist thought: that the sovereign is the state. In some ways, this seems a natural evolution from the earlier concept of divine right (the sovereign as chosen by God). If the sovereign really is divinely chosen, who else is better qualified to dictate policy or to know what is best for their people?
Today, Frederick is considered an enlightened absolutist (a position he shares with Catherine the Great of Russia and Maria Theresa of Austria). These rulers were absolute monarchs who tried to apply the principles of the Enlightenment in their rule for the betterment of their subjects.
- Maria Theresa
- War of the Austrian Succession
- Silesian Wars
- 18th century
- Pragmatic Sanction
- enlightened absolutism
- divine right