Question: Analyze the military, political, and social factors that account for the rise of Prussia between 1640 and 1786. Bree Stanbrough Due: March 3, 2011 Period 4 The rise of Prussia from 1640 to 1715 was mainly due to the great leadership of Frederick William ‘the Elector’, Frederick William I and Frederick the Great of Prussia. Many military, social, and political factors led to the rise of Prussia also. The major factor that helped Prussia become a great power was the growth of Prussia’s new army and the territory they took because of this powerful military.
Most of the military factors that led to the rise of Prussia came from Fredrick William ‘The Elector’. He was the first leader in Prussia to create and finance a permanent standing army in 1660.  He then led them to victories against those who sought to oppose him. He is known for his decision-making to his commanders, and also for his fast mobility to defeat his foes.  He obtained the money to finance this army by imposing permanent taxes on the Estates. The soldiers in his army also collected taxes and acted as policemen. He then expanded the army and tripled the state’s amount of money during his reign.
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Then he expanded his boarders by inviting French Huguenot immigrants as new recruits to his army.  And during the mid sixteenth century, the wars between Sweden and Poland, and the tension from the wars of Louis XIV, caused the Estates to look for protection in Fredrick William. Frederick William I, the son of Frederick the Elector, builds on to the government after his father.  He established the Great Directory, and served as the chief administrative agent of the central government while supervising the military, police, economic, and financial affairs. 5] Fredrick the Great, the son of Fredrick William I, became known militarily when he attacked the Austrian empire to gain control of Silesia in the War for Austrian Succession and the Seven Years War.  Prussia had been after this territory for a long time. Because of the efforts made by these three great leaders Prussia was now economically stable, had a huge powerful army, and had more land to call its own. Many of the social factors that led to the rise of Prussia were made by Fredrick the Great. Some even called him ‘The Social Reformer’. He made life for Prussians easier by abolishing torture and corporal punishment. 7] He established religious tolerance and freedom of speech by ending censorship.  Fredrick resettled immigrants from Austria to establish weaving as a major Prussian industry.  He proved himself as an enlightened ruler who reformed Prussia’s agriculture, legal system, industry and government for the better.  He added a diversity of skills to his country by integrating religions into his countries everyday life such as, Jewish teachers, or Jesuit merchants and bankers.  He also purposely set reasonable prices on grain so farmers and townspeople wouldn’t go hungry. 12] Frederick William I also helped socially unite Prussia by created a strong centralized bureaucracy. This allowed commoners to rise to top positions in the civil government. So now power rested with the hard working, not with the men who were born rich or with land. With this change, there was no longer Parliamentary Estates. This socially reformed Prussia set the foundation for a powerful Prussian empire. Prussian leaders wanted to establish royal absolutism.  Most of the political reform was a change in who was in political positions of power.
Frederick William and Frederick William I noticed how the landlords’ opposition wasn’t helping Prussia gain power. To fix this problem they decided to reduce the political power of the landlord nobility. The landlords didn’t mind, however, because the peasants were put in their control. This way the landlords didn’t challenge the monarchs’ power, which had a major part in the rise of Prussia. Then, during the early seventeenth century, The Great Elector also gained control over taxes by gaining power in Brandenburg and starting to tax its citizens without the Junkers consent, meaning more money for Prussia as a whole. 14] Fredrick the Great also changed Prussia politically by being an honest ruler who set an example by only hiring his friends if they had skill in their posts and could benefit the country.  He also believed in only making alliances that are favorable to the country.  He also helped the development of his country by encouraging Jews on the polish border to perform all the trade they could, in return he gave them protection.  The Jewish did just that and gave a tremendous boost to the economy while strengthening Prussia as a unit.  In onclusion, only the combination of tremendous leadership from all three of these great rulers could have allowed Prussia to flourish. Each of them added their own military, political, and social contributions that made Prussian a great European power. ———————–  “Question: Analyze the Military, Political, and Social Factors That Account for the Rise of Prussia between 1640 and 1786. ” Scientific Revolution, Enlightenment, and French Revolution Exa Study Guide. A Westenberg, n. d. Web. 26 Feb. 2011. .  Mitford, Nancy. Fredrick the Great. Ed. Gabrielle Wilson.
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