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Enlightment for Fredrick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria

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Frederick the Great of Prussia and Joseph II of Austria adopted the newfound ideas of the Enlightenment to different extents with Frederick the Great advancing the ideas by implementing religious toleration, freedom of speech and press, and setting a single code of laws for all of his subjects and not advancing them by not abolishing serfdom for fear of upsetting the “Junkers”, or Prussian nobility; Joseph II advanced the ideas of the Enlightenment eagerly by completely abolishing serfdom paying no heed to what it could cause socially and politically and he didn’t advance these ideas in the end because his many reforms caused alienation of the church and nobility and radical changes in social hierarchy.
Frederick the Great of Prussia
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Most of these reforms though were to please the querulous nobility and prevent them from trying to interfere with the government and upset social balance. Frederick the Great set limitations whilst accepting Enlightenment ideas when it interfered with the good of his subjects, economy and his beloved military. All of these three topics depended on the Prussian nobility, or the “Junkers” who owned large amounts of land had many serfs to farm it. Many of these Junkers also held important military ranks in the army. Frederick the Great could have chosen to abolish serfdom but did not for this would greatly anger the Junkers, the backbone of the Prussian state and military. It was said that Prussia was not a country with an army: it was an army with a country. In Frederick’s military, he did not abolish torture to help install discipline and honesty in his soldiers. Keeping this helped his army become the fourth strongest army in Europe.
Joseph II of Austria strictly believed that reason was the best and only path to take and so accepted nearly all of the new Enlightenment ideas on his traditionally run empire causing major issues. One
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