Time he ruled: 1786-1797
Predecessor: Frederick II
Successor: Frederick William III
Wife: Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Luneburg
House (dynasty): Hohenzollern
Pros: Reformed the oppressive tax system. Encouraged trade and built roads and canals.
Cons: Weakened Prussia’s Empire by putting them through wars that caused damage to the economy and made the lives of the peasantry worse.
How he took Power
He had a powerful army and continued to conquer lands near him, increasing the amount of people he ruled and the amount of territory he claimed. He made a law giving recognition to the principle of Protestantism while restricting the freedom of religious instruction and binding the clergy to Protestantism.
-Intervened in many European disputes such as The Dutch Campaign of 1787 and The War of Russia and Austria against the Ottoman Empire. However, they didn’t gain any territory and only lost money in the process.
-He tried to get involved in the French Revolution, but promised too many men and too much money to Louis XVI. After making alliances with Great Britain and the Netherlands, he got more money and promised more men. This ultimately worked in his favor, and Prussia gained parts of Poland-Lithuania.
-Gained tons of popularity by abolishing state monopolies on coffee and tobacco, but compensated with increased taxes on beer, flour, and sugar.
-Turned the public to a narrow Protestantism.
-He was a patron of the arts and was known for the construction of multiple notable buildings, such as the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
-He reformed the French system of tax-collecting and encouraged trade by the construction of roads and canals.
-The army reached its highest peacetime level of man-power.
-Second and Third partitions of Poland-Lithuania, and the War of the First Coalition.
Wars and Rivals
The War of the First Coalition
The Second Partition of Poland
The Third Partition of Poland