What is meant by the term Enlightened Absolutism? Discuss one of the Enlightened monarchs mentioned in this chapter. How did the monarch adhere to the principles of the Enlightenment? What prevented this monarch from instituting a more truly enlightened form of government?
Historians use the term enlightened absolutism of the political ideas of monarchical government in which the central absolutist administration was strengthened and rationalized at the cost of other, lesser centers of political power, such as the aristocracy, the church, and the parliaments or diets that had survived from the Middle Ages. Frederick the Great of Prussia embodied enlightened absolutism. Drawing upon the accomplishments of his Hohenzollern forebears, he forged a state that commanded the loyalty of the military, the junker nobility, the Lutheran clergy, a growing bureaucracy recruited from an educated class, and university professors. Ultimately Frederick the Great’s overtaxation of the peasants, which reflected his desire to protect the nobility, created despair within the Prussian peasants who looked to other means, such as revolt, to protect their natural rights.