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Enlightened Rulers: Frederick the Great vs. Joseph II Essay example

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The Scientific Revolution consisted of a time period during which revolutionary ideas dramatically altered the thinking of people. It helped trigger the Enlightenment in which rulers acted in accordance with the advisement of philosophes who believed that everything should be thought of in a rational way that was based off of reason, not faith. Frederick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria were considered to be Enlightened rulers. By implementing modern changes that supported knowledge, education, and the arts for the betterment of the country and its society, Frederick the Great and Joseph II furthered the development of Enlightenment principles in contrast to the system that was previously enforced. However, they also created a…show more content…
The judicial system was reformed to seek equality for inhabitants, resulting in the abolishment of torture and the termination of the death penalty. Furthermore, Joseph II abolished serfdom, but by the means of putting a dollar value on freedom. Meaning that, serfs had to purchase their freedom from nobles. Consequently, neither the serfs nor the nobility were content with this policy. The majority of serfs did not have enough money to buy their freedom, while the nobility lost power over their property.
Both Enlightened rulers sought to strengthen their state, but had a different approach in order to achieve it. Frederick the Great implemented his reforms unhurriedly and steadily, whereas Joseph II emphasized his reforms more radically and at a more rapid pace. Frederick the Great trusted the nobility and thought of them as the foundation of the social structure. Thus, granting the nobility more power over the serfs. On the other hand, Joseph II believed that allowing serfs to have greater power would, in turn, strengthen the country. By cause of this, Joseph II abolished serfdom. The critical thinking of the Enlightenment greatly influenced the revived changes that were emphasized in Prussia and Austria. However, not all of the policies adhered to the standards of the Enlightenment.
The Scientific Revolution led to the creation of the
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