Frederick William's Shortcomings

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The rise of Prussia within the German Empire began with Frederick William, the “Great Elector” (1640-1688), through shrewd diplomatic maneuvering and efficient domestic governance. Frederick William unified many of the scattered territories into the most powerful Protestant state and turned these territories into a unified state, to become a leading political player in northern Europe. This was a critical step in the rise of Prussia because if the smaller territories could not have been unified then they would have most likely been attacked by outsiders or within their territories due to socio-political differences.
Frederick William’s son Frederick III of Brandenburg was known as one of the most wasteful and least effective of the four Prussian
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Frederick instituted programs targeted specifically for the commoners. He instituted laws to protect peasants from the tyranny of their landlords, as well as introducing more efficient methods of agriculture. One of the more important additions to Frederick’s social changes was the development of a more just and humane legal system. Frederick stopped the use of torture in 1749 and implemented other reforms in the legal system that eventually led to a complete restructuring in 1794. Frederick was a big promoter of French culture and the French Enlightenment, and even invited Voltaire to his court. Frederick also changed policy on religion and believed in freedom of religious worship. Nevertheless, Frederick was quite prejudice against Jews unless they were wealthy and supported the economic growth of …show more content…
Next came Frederick III of Brandenburg who was one of the more wasteful rulers. Frederick William I, the “Soldier King” was the third ruler who built Prussia’s military into a formidable force. Prussia peaked with the rule of Frederick II “the Great”. Each ruler added his own improvement to Prussia that allowed it to achieve the power and success that it did. The real changes came from Frederick the Great however. Frederick’s Seven Years War was unnecessary because it essentially left Prussia in the same position as before, but it did increase the prestige of Prussia as well as Frederick the Great. Under Frederick’s reign many socio-political and economic changes were made that greatly benefited the commoners as well as bolstered Prussia’s economic

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