Rise of Prussia Essay

613 WordsDec 16, 20123 Pages
Analyze the political and social factors that account for the rise of Prussia between 1640 and 1786. (*Pay close attention to the dates here*) The rise of Prussia between 1640 and 1786 occurred as a result of a combination of military, political, and social factors. War and the threat of war aided Frederick William and Frederick William I greatly in their attempts to build royal absolutism in Prussia. Due to the wartime atmosphere, Frederick William and Frederick William I were able to reduce the political power of the landlord nobility, and allow them to keep control over the peasantry. The landlords, satisfied with being unchallenged masters of their peasants, did not challenge the monarchs’ power, which ultimately led to the rise of Prussia. When Frederick William, of the Hohenzollern family, later known as the “Great Elector,” gained power in 1640, he fought hard to unify the provinces of Brandenburg, Prussia and all scattered land along the Rhine in western Germany to be able to assert absolute power. He was able to levy taxes without the Junkers’ consent from the Estates in Brandenburg in 1653 and in Prussia between 1661 and 1663. War was a decisive factor in the rise of Prussia as an absolutist state. In the mid sixteenth century, the wars between Sweden and Poland, the wars of Louis XIV, and the wild invasions of the Tartars brought about a belligerent atmosphere that caused the Estates to look to Frederick William for military protection against foreign invasion. The Great Elector responded by building a permanent standing army which was financed by taxes collected in the provinces. Due to financial independence and an excellent army, Frederick William was able to reduce the power of the Estates while also defending the land. Social factors also accounted for the rise of Prussia. The nobles had long dominated the government through the
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