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Absolutism in Prussia, Austria, and Spain

The extent to which Prussia, Austria, and Spain were considered absolutist in the 17th and 18th centuries.
by Stephanie Claire on 29 April 2013

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Transcript of Absolutism in Prussia, Austria, and Spain

Absolutism in Spain Absolutism in Prussia Sansouci Palacio Real de Aranjuez Absolutism in Austria Schönbrunn Absolutism in 17th and 18th Century Europe Mercantilism in Spain Spain's economy is driven in part by their Colonies
--> raw materials (sugar, fish and furs) were in great demand in Europe *Continuation- Spain's exploration* Geographical Impact on Spain Spain shrinks as France expands, but it proved to be a "blessing in disguise" (Kishlansky 579) for Spain
Inner growth, in the form of architecture, flourished.
(*Continuity - Importance of architecture as a means of expression*) Historical Significance Maria Theresa and Joseph II’s reforms:
-taxation
-military
-social reforms
Overcame provincial autonomy in Austria and Bohemia (not in Hungary).
Reforms created:
-Pride and nationalism
Austria-Bohemia's prestige was elevated throughout Europe:
-Distinguished as a powerful state Austria = Absolute Monarchy? Maria Theresa and Joseph II’s reforms overcame provincial autonomy.
Protected peasant rights --> ensured that they would be able to pay taxes





Austria = absolute monarchy during the reigns of Maria Theresa and Joseph II! Absolute Monarchy Spectrum Prussia: Violet
Austria: Indigo
Spain: Green Baroque Movement Schonbrunn Palace:
-Lavishly decorated to reflect wealth
Movement:
-Maria Theresa's ascendancy to the throne --> precursor to women's movement
(*Continuity & Change [intensified]*) Scientific Movement and Austria Maria Theresa's determination to reconquer Silesia:
Strengthens Austria by:
-Advocating education
-Reorganized public health system
--> spurred on by Scientific Revolution
(*change for the good*) Historical Significance- Prussia Powerful army --> military was highly valued in society
19th century:
-Nazi military strength = attributed to this culture fostered during 17th century Geographic Impact of Prussia Main goal:
-Join the lands of Bradenburg and Prussia
(Poland was in the way)

*Turn to pg. 589 of your textbook to see a map that illustrates this separation* The Scientific Revolution and Prussia Scientific revolution brought about the advancement of warfare:
-Prussia's army = excellent example
*Change --> advancement of war*
(WWI)

-Prussia-Brandenburg is exhausted after Thirty Years' War:
-Baroque art reflects their achievements
(*Continuity and change like Austria*) Prussia = Absolute Monarch? Frederick William designated civil & military affairs
to state officials:
-Improved economy
-Improved military Frederick II (the Great - son of Frederick William) "envisioned Prussian society as a great machine, with all its citizens as cogs, each with their own duty" (http://beowulfs-tomb.com/frames/fredbio.html)
--> Notice the similarity to Hobbes' Leviathan

Prussia = absolute monarchy during the 16th and 17th century! Cause and Consequence - Seven Years' War (1756-1763) Causes:
Prussia's expansion = worries Russia and France:
Austria, Russia and German state of Saxony
vs.
Prussia and Britain
Prussia is defeated by Russia's huge army, but makes peace with Peter III of Russia (in 1762)

Consequences:
-Prussia is recognized as a powerful European state (so is Austria)
-Prussia and Austria = enemies
-Maria Theresa and Frederick the Great are recognized for their leadership (and later reforms)

Counter Factual:
If Frederick had not gained the trust of the Junkers, then he would not have been accepted as the ruler of Prussia. If he had not been the ruler of Prussia, Brandenburg-Prussia might not have emerged as the great power in Europe that it was. Baroque Art in Spain Nature = prevalent theme:
-Explorations fostered appreciation for nature
Drama and Emotion in art:
-Spanish wars of succession --> reflected in Baroque art
(*Continuity: War depicted in art
Change: War romanticized in art*) The Scientific Revolution and Spain Spain = concerned with the advancement of navigational tools to fuel their explorations Hobbes' Theory and Spain The citizens of Spain and Philip V --> “Hobbesian contract”

-Spain relinquished its absolute power as the nation
itself declined as a power in Europe Cause and Consequence IF Spain had not played a big role in colonizing the New World, THEN many scientific discoveries would have been greatly delayed.

IF Spain’s power had not been balanced after the Wars of Spanish Succession (when the Spanish Netherlands and territories in Italy were given away), THEN Europe might have been dominated by Spain.
--> additionally, the land that was given away fueled resentment that surfaced during Austrian War of Succession (Spain sides against)

(Counter Factual)
IF King Charles II had an heir, THEN the Wars of Spanish Succession would not have occurred. Ethical Dimensions Frederick William --> respected nobles (and therefore gained their approval)
Prussian army:
-Very advanced (in terms of weaponry and skill)

Discussion question:

Although it is evident that the Prussian army accomplished their wartime goals due to their advancement, do you think that their engagement in warfare can be justified on the grounds that they needed to protect themselves?
(Try not to think if it would be considered right or wrong now.
Hint: Do you think the lives lost in the war were compensated by the protection of rights and freedom bestowed upon its citizens?) Ethical Dimension Maria Theresa = First woman Habsburg ruler

Medical, economical and educational reforms:
Aimed to benefit the state, but were ethically ahead of their time
(exponentially improve the lives of citizens) Cause and Consequence Cause:
Maria Theresa's reforms to ensure taxes were paid
Consequence:
Peasants were given more rights (step towards equality)

IF Charles VI had not issued the “Pragmatic Sanction,” THEN Maria Theresa would never have become ruler.

Cause (Hobbes)
Austrian rulers were influenced by Hobbes
Consequence:
Rulers exercised indisputable power (Pragmatic Sanction) Primary Source Document Luise's letter:
“Yes, I have seen her, the greatest among women. She who, in herself, is higher than her throne. I have not only seen her, but I have spoken with her.”
Maria Theresa --> kind, humble yet proud.
Luise = women (biased?)
Both her and her husband think highly of Maria:
-Reflects citizens' respect and admiration for Maria who had improved their lives Historical Significance War of the Spanish Succession = Spain lost much of its territory
Spanish Netherlands and Italy --> Austria
Gibraltar and North American territory --> England
-England also acquired 'asiento' (trade)

England's acquisition of North America:
-Essential to Canada's development as an English speaking country and member of British commonwealth
-France loses land also
(http://www.spanishsuccession.nl/) Primary Source - Frederick II "Essay on Forms of Government" Frederick II:
-Joined Prussian lands, reformed law code and allied with nobles

“Rulers should always remind themselves that they are men like the least of their subjects... He [the Ruler] is merely the principal servant of the State...He and his people form a single body.” Hobbes and Locke Hobbes:
-Frederick William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg-Prussia gained the support of the Junkers (nobility)
--> Agreed to let Frederick William rule them through Hobbes’
“contract”
-Prussia gains power with their acceptance
-Frederick the Great (his son) follows his father's belief of absolutism

Locke:
Prussia was not really influenced by Locke because Locke did not favour absolutism. Prussia was very absolutist. Spain = absolute monarchy? Spain was an absolute monarchy in that:

"deprived Catalonia, Aragón, and Valencia of most of their autonomous privileges" (http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=4&hid=123&sid=9dbb264b-713e-44d1-b744-fe0b656756fc%40sessionmgr114&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=rch&AN=39000592)

Spain was not an absolute monarch in that:

-Their inability to hold onto their colonies in the New World demonstrates Spain's decline as an absolute state. Philip III of Spain No Absolutism Absolutism John Locke and Resistance Theory -Spain was influenced by resistance theory b/c Spanish citizens influenced Philip V’s coronation during Wars of Spanish Succession.
-->mirrors Locke’s favour towards resistance in England (supported Glorious Revolution/William + Mary). John Locke's Influence -Natural state of man is one of equality. Austria corroborates with this statement
-Maria + Joseph established peasant rights --> they diminished gap between the lords/nobles + common people.
--> advancement towards a society of equal individuals
-However, Locke was not in favour of absolutism, and Austria was very much an absolutist monarchy Discussion Question In terms of absolutism, what could Spanish rulers have done to strengthen their country's power in order to prevent Spain's downfall? Historical Perspectives -Spanish Netherlands and Spanish territories in Italy --> ceded to Austria during the Spanish Wars of Succession
= Spain's resentment of Austria
--> This may be a cause for Spain's decision to fight against Austria during the War of Austrian Succession

Spain's descent after the wars of the spanish succession = strange
--> spain previously a dominant european state
-Spain was weakening --> states such as Prussia and Austria were strengthening
-No strong leader = descent was inevitable Historical Perspectives

Louis XIV (France) and the Archduke Charles of Austria (Austria) = enemies during Wars of Spanish Succession (developed hatred for each other)
--> made the alliance b/w Austria and France difficult during the Seven Years’ War

Keep in mind:
Countries had to be willing to cooperate with any other country to protect their own (era of warfare) Baroque Art and Prussia Works Cited:
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Wikipedia. "Maria Theresa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Theresa Discussion Question Do you think Maria's coronation portrays Austria as an open minded state? And do you think that other rulers didn't take Maria seriously because of her gender?
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