BECK index

Austrian Empire and German States 1715-88

by Sanderson Beck

Austrian Empire and Wars 1715-48
Austrian Empire of Maria Theresa 1748-80
Austrian Empire of Joseph II’s Reforms 1780-88
Swiss Confederation 1715-88
Vattel on International Law
Pestalozzi’s Early Ideas on Education
Germans 1713-40 and Wolff on Law
Germany, Friedrich II and Wars 1740-63
German States and Friedrich’s Prussia 1763-88

Austrian Empire and Wars 1715-48

Austrian Empire 1648-70
Leopold’s Austria and Hungary 1671-88
Austrian Empire and Wars 1689-1715

      The Habsburg Emperor Karl (Charles) VI ruled Austria and its empire 1711-40, but he had no male heirs. On April 19, 1713 he issued the Pragmatic Sanction authorizing his daughters to inherit the crown before those of his older brother Joseph I. The Habsburg territories included Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Naples, Milan, Mantua, Sardinia, and the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium) that had been given to his empire in the treaties of Utrecht in April 1713 and at Rastatt on March 7, 1714. Karl renounced his claim to the throne of Spain. In September peace was made with the Holy Roman Empire that included German vassals. The barrier treaties completed at Antwerp on November 15, 1715 allowed the Dutch to garrison the southern frontier in Belgium, and the Scheldt River port at Antwerp was closed to ocean trade. The Diet made its regular grant to the Emperor but made him recognize the nobility’s exemption from taxation.
      On April 13, 1716 Karl VI declared war on the Turks, and that day his only son was born, but he died in November. Austria also made a mutual defense treaty with Britain on June 5. In the Turkish-Venetian War the Prince Eugene of Savoy led the imperial forces that defeated the Ottoman army at Petrovaradin on August 5, killing 30,000 men and seizing 140 cannons. In October the imperial army drove the Turks out of Hungary by taking Temesvár. Eugene also commanded the siege of Belgrade with 100,000 men against 30,000 Turks that ended after a month with an Austrian victory on August 17, 1717. However, about 30,000 Austrians and Bavarian allies died of illness, and some 5,000 Turks were killed. The treaty of Passarowitz ended this war on July 21, 1718, and the Habsburg Empire gained the Banat of Temesvár, northern Serbia, eastern Slavonia, and Little Wallachia.
      After Spain’s Felipe V claimed that he could inherit the kingdom of France, that nation formed an alliance with Britain and the Dutch on January 4, 1717. When Britain, France, and Austria considered giving Sicily to Emperor Karl VI, Felipe ordered his army to attack Austria in August. At the same time his Spanish army invaded Sardinia and conquered it by October 30. In July 1718 Spanish forces invaded Sicily. The British, French, and Austrians demanded that the Spaniards withdraw from Sardinia and Sicily, but instead they allied with Victor Amadeus II of Savoy. Karl joined the alliance of Britain and France on August 2. The British navy won a victory off Cape Passaro on August 11. Austrians led by Viceroy Wirich Philipp von Daun tried to break the siege of Messina but were narrowly defeated at Milazzo on October 15. The Dutch made it a Quadrupole Alliance against Spain in August 1719. In the peace treaty at The Hague on February 17, 1720 Felipe V renounced all the territory Spain had captured in the war, but his son Carlos was recognized as the heir of Parma and Piacenza. Karl VI finally recognized Felipe V in Spain. The Duke of Savoy had to give Sicily to Austria in exchange for the kingdom of Sardinia. At this time the Austrian Empire was second in territory to Russia and second in population after France. Karl had the immense Karlskirche church built from 1716 to 1737.
      Emperor Karl VI attended at Pozsony the Hungarian Diet which on June 30, 1722 accepted the Pragmatic Sanction, and Karl promised to maintain the states and orders of the nobles. They approved a standing army of 15,000 men paid for by a tax on the peasants who also provided the soldiers. After the session the Hungarian Court Chancellery met in Vienna. Karl set up a Lieutenancy Council to administer his decrees and legislation that he approved. Hungary also had a Treasury Chamber of seven barons and eighteen gentry, and the appeals court (Septemviral Bench) was increased to fifteen nobles. The King’s Bench with seventeen judges was moved to Pest.
      Joseph I’s oldest daughter Maria Josepha married Prince August of Saxony in 1719, and his other daughter Maria Amalia married Prince Karl Albrecht of Bavaria in 1722. In 1726 Karl VI secretly betrothed his daughters Maria Theresa and Maria Anna to the sons of Spain’s King Felipe V; but European powers protested this arrangement, and the betrothals were cancelled in 1729. That year Franz Stefan became Duke of Lorraine after being educated at the court of Vienna. In 1732 Karl appointed Franz Stefan to govern Hungary. Two Patents that Karl issued in 1731 and 1734 restricted the rights of Protestants in Hungary. In 1727 Orthodox bishops had lost their secular powers. On October 31, 1731 the Prince-Archbishop von Firmian of Salzburg issued an edict expelling Protestants who would not recant, and more than 20,000 went into exile by the April 23, 1732 deadline he set.
      Karl VI chartered the Ostend East-India Company in December 1722 with 6 million guilders with shares mostly bought by investors in Antwerp and Ghent in August 1723. In May 1725 Karl allied with Spain’sFelipe V, and he recognized the Austrian Pragmatic Sanction. Russia also agreed to an alliance with Austria on August 6, 1726. In May 1727 the British persuaded Karl to suspend the company, and they also acknowledged the Pragmatic Sanction. On March 16, 1731 they formed an alliance in the treaty of Vienna; the Ostend company was abolished, and it stopped trading in February 1734.
      By 1730 Vienna had 240 aristocratic residences and seven textile factories producing wool, silk, and cotton cloth. The Hungarian Palatine Pal Esterhazy had an annual income of 700,000 florins, and Prince Eugene from various state salaries had 400,000. The government ran workhouses and added them to Innsbruck in 1725, to Graz in 1735, and to Prague in 1737.
      During the War of the Polish Succession (1733-38) the Bourbon kingdoms of France and Spain tried to reduce the power of the Austrians in western Europe. British minister Walpole refused to aid Austria and remained neutral. On August 14, 1733 Emperor Karl VI recognized August III of Saxony, and he moved forces from Milan to Poland’s frontiers. Prince Charles Emmanuel of Savoy allied with the Bourbon kings against the Emperor on September 26, and they captured Milan on November 3, 1733. On October 10 France declared war against Karl VI. Austrians were also defeated in southern Italy, and on April 9, 1734 the Austrian Empire declared war against France. The 71-year-old Eugene of Savoy took command in May 1735 in poor health and was no longer effective as his Rhine army was outnumbered and lost Lorraine. He returned to Vienna in October, and on the 30th France’s minister Fleury granted favorable terms to Austria which gained Parma and Tuscany but lost Naples, Sicily, Sardinia, and western Milan. Franz Stefan was named the successor of Tuscany’s last Medici grand duke, and he was betrothed to Karl VI’s daughter Maria Theresa on January 31, 1736. Eugene of Savoy died on April 21. In the final treaty of Vienna on November 18, 1738 France finally recognized the Austrian Pragmatic Sanction. During this war Austria’s revenues doubled to nearly 20 million florins, and during the 1730s the Austrian Netherlands loaned the Emperor more than 10 million. From 1698 to 1739 Jews loaned the Hofkammer 78 million florins.
      Archduchess Maria Theresa was born on May 13, 1717 and married Franz Stefan, Duke of Lorraine, on February 14, 1736. Emperor Karl VI signed a secret treaty with Franz on May 4. Franz became governor of the Austrian Netherlands, and his brother Charles was betrothed to Archduchess Maria Anna. In July 1737 Karl VI allied with Russia in its war against the Turks, and he appointed Franz of Lorraine general of the Austrian army; but he was incompetent and was removed in 1738. On November 18, 1738 the treaty at Vienna ended the War of the Polish Succession. Although Germans provided half the money and soldiers, the Ottoman army defeated the imperial coalition at Banja Luka on August 4, 1737, at Grocka in July 1739, and captured Belgrade after a siege from July to September. On the 18th the Habsburg Empire and the Ottoman Empire made peace at Belgrade, giving up northern Serbia. Tens of thousands of Austrians died of disease during this war. Karl VI became ill and died on October 20, 1740.

      Karl VI had not let his heir Maria Theresa sit with the councils of state, though he did include her husband Franz. The coalition of Prussia, Bavaria, France, Spain, Saxony and Poland that had accepted the Pragmatic Sanction did not honor it and attacked Austria’s frontiers in the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48). Maria Theresa had to fight for her crown. Prussia’s new King Friedrich II offered to defend her territory in exchange for Silesia, but she declined. Most of Austria’s military forces were defending Hungary from the Turks, Italy from Spaniards, and Belgium from the French. On December 16 Friedrich II and his army invaded Silesia, and in January 1741 they took over Breslau and Lower Silesia. Maria Theresa’s heir Joseph was born on March 13, 1741. On April 10 an Austrian army led by Count Neipperg fought the large Prussian army at Mollwitz, but the narrow Austrian defeat led to a war of partition. On June 25 Maria Theresa was crowned Queen of Hungary at Pozsony (Pressburg), and the Diet approved 4 million florins for 28,000 recruits. Also in 1741 the Commerce Directory was instituted to promote mercantilism.
      On May 28, 1741 France and Spain allied with Bavaria at the Nymphenburg palace in Munich and supported Karl Albrecht’s imperial claim and his accession to most of the Erblande (German hereditary lands in Austria). The French allied with Prussia on June 5 in the treaty of Breslau. On June 25 Maria Theresa was crowned Queen of Hungary. The British in July provided Austria with a subsidy of £300,000 but remained neutral. Russia promised military support; but after the French attack on Sweden in July the Russians were diverted to that war, and August III of Saxony-Poland turned against Austria. The Franco-Bavarian allies crossed the Rhine on August 15 and captured Linz on September 14. On the 11th Maria Theresa had asked the Hungarian Diet for aid, and on September 20 the Diet accepted Franz Stefan as co-regent. On October 9 she secretly ceded Lower Silesia to Prussia. The Saxons helped the Franco-Bavarian army take Prague on November 26, and Karl Albrecht was crowned King of Bohemia on December 19. The Electors chose Karl Albrecht, the Wittelsbach Elector of Bavaria, to be Emperor Karl VII on January 24, 1742.
      The Austrian imperial army supported by Hungarian volunteers and led by Field Marshal Khevenhüller regained Upper Austria in January 1742, taking back Linz on the 23rd. The Bavarian capital of Munich fell on February 12, the day that Karl VII was being crowned at Frankfurt. That month the Sardinians began aiding the Austrians in Italy. On April 29 Maria Theresa promised to enfranchise peasants who joined the Austrian army for three years. On May 17 the Austrian army led by Prince Charles of Lorraine at Chotusitz tried to drive Friedrich’s Prussian army out of Prague but failed even though they killed more Prussians.
      Friedrich II led his army to take over Upper Silesia, and the British mediated a truce on June 11 with the Prussians controlling most of Silesia and the county of Glatz in Bohemia. The treaty signed at Berlin on July 28 left Austria with only three duchies in Upper Silesia—Teschen, Troppau, and Jägerndorf. Maria Theresa summoned the assembly at Pressburg, and before adjourning in October they promised to raise an army of 55,000 men which with troops from Croatia, Transylvania, the Banat, and Hungary would increase the army to 100,000. On September 17 Saxony withdrew from the Austrian war. An Austrian siege of Prague that began in June forced the French and Bavarians to depart on December 18.
      On May 12, 1743 Maria Theresa was crowned Queen of Bohemia, and on July 16 the Bohemian Diet ratified the cession of most of Silesia to Prussia. France had declared war on Austria and Britain in May. George II was the last British king to lead his army into battle at Dettingen on June 27 to help the Anglo-Dutch-Austrian army drive the French out of Germany. The British also contributed £5 million to the military effort. In September at Worms the Austrians and British formed an alliance with King Charles Emmanuel III of Sardinia, and Austria allied with Saxony in December. On April 26, 1744 France declared war on Austria. In the summer Austrian forces invaded Naples and Alsace. Friedrich reacted by invading Bohemia on August 15, and his army seized Prague on September 16; but they abandoned it and withdrew to Silesia in November. On January 8, 1745 at Warsaw the Austrians, British, Dutch, and 30,000 Saxons formed the Quadruple Alliance.
      Upset that Jews had loaned money to Karl Albrecht and had welcomed Prussians, Maria Theresa in December 1744 ordered Jews to leave Prague by January 1745 and then expelled them from Bohemia by June; but she commuted their sentences to fines to prevent harm to the economy and to keep Jews from joining the Prussian army. She avoided using Jewish financiers but accepted loans from Protestants. She also ignored the nobles’ faults because she wanted their support.
      Emperor Karl VII suffered from gout and died on January 20, 1745. His son Maximilian III Joseph was influenced by his mother, Maria Amalia of Austria, and after a military defeat at Pfaffenhofen on April 15 he agreed to peace at Füssen one week later and promised to support Maria Theresa’s husband who would be elected as Emperor Franz I on September 13. On May 11 the French army led by Louis XV and Maurice de Saxe defeated the allies at Fontenoy in Belgium, capturing 3,500 prisoners and forty cannons. Then Friedrich II defeated Austrians and Saxons led by Franz’s brother Charles of Lorraine at Hohenfriedberg in Silesia on June 4, at Soor in Bohemia on September 30, and at Kesselsdorf in Saxony on December 15. After the Prussians seized nearby Dresden, Maria Theresa and the allies accepted a peace treaty there on Christmas Day. Friedrich retained Silesia and recognized Franz I as Holy Roman Emperor. Franz never learned to speak German, and French was the language of his court.
      In February 1746 the French besieged Brussels for three weeks, and the Austrians surrendered their capital in the Netherlands. Maria Theresa formed a defensive alliance with Tsarina Elisabeth II on June 2. That month the French captured Antwerp and then Charleroi and Mons in July. Spain’s Felipe V died on July 9 and was succeeded by Fernando VI. His wife Barbara of Portugal was the daughter of Emperor Leopold’s daughter Maria Anna, and this Austrian connection helped Austria’s Italian possessions. The British persuaded Austria to cede western Lombardy to Sardinia in the treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle on October 18, 1748 and to recognize Elisabetta Farnese’s son Felipe in Parma and Piacenza. Austria’s Count Anton Wenzel Kaunitz-Rietberg persuaded the French to withdraw from the Austrian Netherlands, and the Dutch renounced their annual subsidy of 1.5 million florins for their barrier fortresses. The Austrian Netherlands had been governed by Prince Eugene of Savoy 1716-25 and by Karl VI’s sister Maria Elisabeth 1725-41.

Austrian Empire of Maria Theresa 1748-80

      On January 29, 1748 a royal council met in Vienna and admitted that the state’s finances were in chaos. By the end of the war most of the elderly advisors had died. Maria Theresa used her practical intelligence and sense of justice to bring about some reforms. Yet her Catholic piety was intolerant of dissent, and she imposed her morality with decrees. Young Privy Conference Secretary Johann Christoph Bartenstein and Count Friedrich Wilhelm von Haugwitz, who had governed well three counties in Silesia, helped Maria Theresa implement some reforms. They planned to increase the imperial army to 200,000 men. She sent Haugwitz to replace Bohemia’s Chancellor Count Friedrich Harrach who then died in June 1749. Bohemia was united with Austria by a common Directorium, and crown courts were established.
      In 1750 Count Kaunitz was sent to Paris as Austria’s ambassador. Maria Theresa went to Pest in 1751 but could not persuade the Hungarians to accept her reforms. The imperial government gained control over agents of estates in the Erblande by subordinating them and paying their salaries, but she let the chanceries in Hungary and Transylvania continue. Hungary had been poor, but peace and colonization had increased its population to more than six million compared to 3.9 million in Austria and 3.1 million in Greater Bohemia. New districts were created in the Banat in 1742 and in Transylvania in 1762-64. In 1764 hundreds of Székelys were killed for resisting the new Transylvanian Military Border. By 1754 the crown’s revenue had doubled in ten years to 40 million florins.
      In 1746 the Theresianum had been founded to educate civil servants. That year Maria Theresa approved the expulsion of Jews from Buda, and she imposed an annual “toleration tax” of two florins on Jews. Van Swieten became a professor at the University of Vienna in 1749 and reformed the medical program. A military school was established at Wiener Neustadt in 1751. That year the Hungarian Diet refused to pass a tax to pay for the recent war. In 1752 gymnasiums were started so that students would be prepared for the university, and in 1754 the Oriental Academy began teaching diplomats to serve in the Balkans. Austria instituted military conscription. The number of bureaucrats increased from 6,000 in 1740 to 10,000 in 1762 and would nearly double again in the next twenty years. Salaries became more regular and were raised. To protect industries high tariffs were imposed in Bohemia in 1751, in Hungary in 1754, and in Austria in 1755. Vienna’s archbishops Johann Joseph Trautson (1751-57) and Christoph Anton Migazzi (1757-1803) supported the government instead of the popes and the Jesuits. Censorship was taken over in 1751 by a commission directed by Gerhard van Swieten from Flanders, and all Jesuit publications were banned. Yet Jesuits could publish if they did not give their superiors editorial control. The University of Vienna added faculties in history, geography, science, civics, and natural law. Vienna got a school of engineering in 1754.
      In March 1752 Maria Theresa appointed a religious commission to fine anyone found with a Protestant book, and they established Conversion Houses where Catholic priests re-educated Protestants. In June they forced 2,664 Protestants mostly from Upper Austria to move to Transylvania, and about a quarter of them died on the way. The gap between the aristocratic landowners and the lesser nobles widened as many lost their land. Bohemia had 600 gentry families in 1620, and this had been reduced to one hundred. The poor nobles lost their tax exemption, assembly seats, and rights to hold office. The reforms did try to help Erblande’s peasants by calibrating property taxes into nine categories; but peasants revolted in southern Hungary in 1753, in Slavonia in 1755, and in Transylvania in 1751 and 1759.
      In 1753 Kaunitz was appointed Chancellor of Austria, and he served until 1792. He admired the French enlightenment and gained reconciliation with conservative monarchs. Also in 1753 Maria Theresa set up the Chastity Commission to enforce sexual morality and reduce prostitution with five hundred officers and many secret agents.
      On January 16, 1756 the British promised Friedrich that they would not support an Austrian attack on Silesia. The diplomacy of Kaunitz brought about a reversal in foreign policy when Austria allied defensively with France on May 1. On August 29 Friedrich began the Seven Years’ War in Europe by invading Saxony. On October 1 at Lovosice in Bohemia the Prussian army of 28,000 men were ambushed by 33,354 Austrians, and Friedrich retreated, each side suffering about 2,870 casualties. On May 1, 1757 Austria agreed to an offensive alliance with France to recover Silesia. Five days later the Prussian army attacked Prague and had more casualties, but they captured 4,500 Austrians. Maria Theresa agreed to let the Austrian Netherlands be partitioned by Louis XV and his son-in-law Felipe of Parma with Parma being returned to Austria. Russia joined the offensive alliance and promised 80,000 troops. During the seven years the Austrian Empire provided 8 million florins in taxes for 40,000 soldiers in the imperial army against the Prussians. Field Marshal Daun commanded the imperial army that defeated Friedrich’s smaller army at Kolin on June 18, and the Hungarian cavalry even raided Berlin on October 16. However, the outnumbered Prussians with much fewer casualties defeated the Franco-imperial invasion of Saxony at Rossbach on November 5 and the Austrian advance into Silesia at Leuthen on December 5, capturing 12,000 Austrians.
      Friedrich’s army invaded Moravia in May 1758; but on June 30 a smaller Austrian army defeated them at Domašov, and the Prussian siege of Olmütz (Olomouc) also failed. On October 14 the imperial army of 80,000 men led by Daun defeated Friedrich again in Saxony at Hochkirch. Swedes invaded Pomerania, and Russians took over East Prussia. A Russo-Austrian army defeated about 50,000 Prussians at Kunersdorf on August 12, 1759. On November 20 at Maxen in Saxony an Austrian army of 32,000 men defeated 14,000 Prussians, killing 2,000, and the next day 11,741 surrendered. On June 23, 1760 the allies led by Loudon defeated the Prussians at Landeshut in Silesia, and they captured Glatz in July; but Friedrich’s army defeated Laudon’s Austrians at Liegnitz on August 15. Saxons helped the Austrians defeat Friedrich at Dresden in July, but a four-day siege of Breslau was abandoned on August 3. Russians and Austrians attacked Berlin for a few days in October. Under Friedrich II’s command the Prussians defeated the Austrians at Torgau on November 3; the Prussians lost more men but claimed victory after capturing Austria’s 49 cannons. By 1760 the imperial army had 250,000 men, but in January 1761 the Prussian army had only 100,000.
      Even though they had been promised to the Bourbon monarchs, the Austrian Netherlands contributed 30 million in cash and 26 million in credit to the empire. The death of Tsarina Elizabeth II on January 5, 1762 led to the end of Russia’s and Sweden’s participation in the war. Austria began printing paper money for the first time. The Prussian army defeated the Austrians at Burkersdorf on July 21. In the last major battle of the Seven Years’ War on October 29 the Prussians defeated the Austrians again at Freiberg in Saxony. On February 10, 1763 Britain and France signed a peace treaty, and five days later Prussia and Austria agreed to a treaty at Hubertusburg that restored peace and the territories as they had been before the war. Wars had caused the state debt to increase from 124 million to 280 million florins in fifteen years.
      Maria Theresa gave birth to sixteen children by 1756. Four men and six women reached adulthood, and she arranged political marriages for most of them. Her oldest son Joseph was wedded to Isabella of Parma in 1760 and after her death to Maria Josepha of Bavaria in 1765, but she died in 1767, and he never remarried. He had been elected King of the Romans on March 27, 1764 and then succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II in August 1765. Her second son Leopold married Maria Luisa of Spain in 1765. Maria Christina wedded Prince Albert of Saxony in 1766. Maria Carolina married Ferdinando IV of Naples in 1768. Maria Amalia married Ferdinando of Parma in 1769. Marie Antoinette wedded Louis XVI in 1770. Duke Ferdinand of Breisgau married Maria Beatrice, heiress of Modena and Reggio, in 1771. Maria Theresa had a severe case of smallpox in 1767, and that year inoculation for it was initiated in Vienna. In 1768 she began taxing the clergy without the pope’s approval, and in 1769 she began dissolving monasteries and giving their assets to poor parishes. Emperor Joseph II met with Friedrich II at Neisse in August 1769 and again at Neustadt in July 1770. In 1771 she decreed that monastic vows could not be taken until the age of 24, and they could bring no more than 1,500 florins with them to the monastery. The Empress issued decrees to encourage marriages, but in 1766 one prohibited unemployed drifters from marrying. That year she established a commission to codify the laws. The Consitutio Criminalis Maria Theresiana implemented more reforms in 1769 but still punished severely blasphemy, adultery, lapsing from Catholicism, and marrying a non-Christian.
      Chancellor Kaunitz extended his administration of foreign policy to domestic issues when he became President of the new Council of State (Staatsrat) that created a United Chancery for Austria’s three dominions. On finances the Hofkammer became more active, and a Credit Deputation and an Accounting Office had been added in 1761. Haugwitz’s Directory and Internal Conference were dissolved, and the Supreme Judiciary was made independent. In this second wave of reforms Lombardy and Belgium took on a larger share of the tax burden. Austrian state’s revenues increased from 35 million florins in 1763 to 50 million by 1780 and had its only balanced budgets in 1775 and 1777.
      In 1764 the Hungarian Chancery insisted on its continuing next to the United Austrian and Bohemian Chancery. The Hungarian Diet of 1764-65 agreed to contribute only 3.9 million florins. Maria Theresa told them, “I must serve justice to rich and poor alike. I must answer my conscience. I do not want to be damned for the sake of a few magnates and noblemen.”1 After that she did not convene another Hungarian Diet nor did her son Joseph II. The central government ruled the Military Border in southern Hungary and restructured its administration in 1765. Her Urbarial Patent in 1767 gave Hungarian peasants the right to hold land for a home, cultivation, and a pasture. The Illyrian Commission continued to govern Greater Hungary’s Serbians, and the Illyrian Church Congress began having regular meetings in 1769. Empress Maria Theresa persuaded the conclave to restrict the privileges that Leopold I had granted to Orthodox patriarchs in 1690. Austria put duties on Hungarian manufactures five times greater than their own, and penal tariffs on Hungarian exports. By 1770 Austria took in 87% of Hungarian exports and supplied 85% of Hungary’s imports. Thus Hungary became like an Austrian colony providing raw materials and consuming expensive goods. Less than one percent of Hungarians were involved in manufacturing. By 1780 Hungary was contributing 5.75 million florins or about a third of the imperial revenues.
      In 1771 Maria Theresa made an agreement with the Turks to limit Russian aggression in exchange for getting back Little Wallachia. Learning that Friedrich II and Russia’s Ekaterina (Catherine) were dividing Poland, Austria got Polish Galicia with 2.65 million people and 83,000 square kilometers in the first partition of Poland on August 5, 1772. After Russia and the Turks made peace in 1774, Joseph II in 1775 arranged for Austria to get Bukovina that connected Transylvania with Galicia. Galician nobles were oppressing peasants by demanding five days of robot service per week; but officials speaking Czech were sent there to implement reforms, and an estates Diet was established in Galicia.
      The Jewish convert Joseph von Sonnenfels promoted Austrian cameralism to reform financial administration. As theater censor in 1770 he banned Vienna’s bawdy comedies. Maria Theresa now believed that sustaining the peasants was the best way to strengthen the state. She mourned the loss of her husband Franz Stefan who died in August 1765. She gave away all her jewelry and wore black for the rest of her life. The deaths of Haugwitz in 1765, Daun in 1766, and Bartenstein in 1767 prepared the way for younger men. In 1765 she had appointed her son Emperor Joseph II co-regent over the Austrian domains, though she made the final decisions. In 1772 he and Field Marshal Lacy instituted the Prussian canton system that recruited the army from the estates. His father Franz Stefan had accumulated 31 million florins, and as his heir Joseph donated nearly 19 million to reduce the state debt. Franz had reduced the interest on government bonds from 6% to 5%, and Joseph used his inheritance to lower them to 4%. Joseph eliminated the formality of the Spanish court, and his mother agreed to ban gambling and hunting. In Vienna the Prater park was opened to the public in 1766 followed by the Augarten park in 1775. However, Maria Theresa would not agree to end tax immunities. She did abolish the Transylvanian Chancery in 1774, but she would not agree to subordinate Hungary, Lombardy, and the Austrian Netherlands to the Council of State. In 1775 internal duties on trade were reformed or abolished in Austria and Bohemia. Joseph traveled more than 30,000 miles visiting his empire, sometimes incognito as “Count Falkenstein” and became famous for having plowed a couple of fields.
      The Second Theresian Reform included progress in public education. In 1763 Sonnenfels had begun teaching financial administration at the University of Vienna, and by 1776 cameral sciences were required of all civil service applicants. Kaunitz employed the reformers Beccaria and Pietro Verri in Milan. Maria Theresa approved an Educational Commission for the Erblande in 1760. Johann Anton von Pergen became director of the Oriental Academy, and in August 1770 he proposed extensive reforms that included replacing Jesuits with lay teachers. His plan was favored by Swieten and Emperor Joseph II but was rejected as too expensive. After Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Society of Jesus in 1773, the regime used assets confiscated from the Jesuits to pay for public education. Bishop Johann Ignaz Felbiger of Sagan in Silesia devised the General School Ordinances that were issued for the Erblande in 1774 and for Hungary in 1777. They provided for compulsory elementary education in local languages, a middle school for vocational training or academic preparation in German, and the Gymnasium that prepared students for the university. Rote memorization was replaced by learning to use reason and judgment, and students were grouped by ability. Felbiger’s goals were to educate students to become honest Christians and good citizens who are useful to the community. By 1780 the Austrian Empire had 6,000 schools with 200,000 students.
      Agrarian reform involved limiting the days of robot service that peasants were required to work. The official policy was that peasants had to do one day per week or two if they had no draft animals, but landlords had been increasing these. After the peasant revolt in Slavonia in 1755 the Empress had granted an urbarium to Slavonians that curtailed abuses by landlords. In November 1769 an urbarium for Transylvania reduced the robot service from four or more days to three. During a devastating famine in central Europe from 1770 to 1772 a quarter million Bohemians peasants died of starvation while landlords made profits exporting grain to Prussia and Saxony. Maria Theresa considered abolishing serfdom; but a compromise plan in April 1774 did not prevent a Bohemian revolt a year later. An army of 40,000 men dispersed the unarmed peasants, and in August 1775 the maximum robot service was set at three days per week and was extended to Moravia as well. The project’s director Franz Anton Raab believed that compulsory labor violated the laws of nature. The Raab System freed peasants from subjection and gave them long-term leases on the land they worked. This experiment increased production, and in 1777 it was extended to other crown estates. Inner Austria had robot service set at four days per week, but finally in 1778 this was reduced to three days except in Carniola. Decrees enabled peasants to regain the right to purchase and market goods.
      Maria Theresa refused to abolish torture until 1776. Kaunitz promoted anti-religious policies. Monastic vows could not be taken until the age of 25, and the number of monks in each monastery was limited. Religious holidays and pilgrimages were reduced. Kaunitz and Joseph II persuaded Maria Theresa that religious intolerance caused resentment and emigration to Protestant nations. In 1777 she granted private worship to 1,000 Protestants discovered in northern Moravia, and the next year she allowed Protestants to earn a degree at the University of Vienna. Yet in the Erblande she still had dissenters sentenced to hard labor, drafted into the army, or banished to Transylvania which had religious freedom. She refused to fund Calvinist Latin schools. She ordered Jews in Vienna restricted to a ghetto. Also in 1777 the university at Nagyszombat was transferred to Buda and was provided with a modern library, scientific collections, and an observatory. She put Croatia’s officials and Fiume and Banat under Hungarian administration, and Fiume gave Hungary a port on the Adriatic Sea. By 1778 Hungary had 82 counts and only 24 barons, and many built large houses in Vienna and married Austrian aristocrats. The magnates borrowed money from the Empress at 4%, and by 1781 they owed 2.75 million florins. Maria Theresa wanted to force 10,000 Moravian Protestants to become Catholics, but Emperor Joseph II’s threat to resign from being co-regent changed her mind.
      After the death of Bavarian Elector Maximilian III Joseph on December 30, 1777 Austrian forces invaded Bavaria on January 16, 1778. Kaunitz refused to negotiate with Friedrich II whose army was stopped by 160,000 imperial soldiers led by Lacy, Laudon, and Emperor Joseph. The Prussians spent the winter in the Sudeten Mountains and fought over potatoes. French and Russian envoys mediated the treaty at Teschen on May 13, 1779, and Maria Theresa gave back most of Bavaria to gain peace except for Innviertel east of the Inn River which had 80,000 inhabitants. The war had cost Austria 100 million florins. Maria Theresa died on November 29, 1780. By then Vienna had 200,000 people and the Austrian Empire 26 million.
      Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782) was born in Rome but lived in Vienna from 1730 until his death writing numerous plays and libretti for operas.

Austrian Empire of Joseph II’s Reforms 1780-88

      During his reign over the Austrian domains Joseph II issued an average of two decrees per day compared to Maria Theresa’s two per week. He agreed with Beccaria that government should work for the welfare of the greatest number of people, but he also expected them to serve the state. He was influenced by French philosophers and German cameralists. He visited the Netherlands for the first time, and in January 1781 he appointed his sister Maria Christina and her husband, Duke Albert of Saxe-Teschen to govern the Austrian Netherlands. In February 1781 he put Gottfried van Swieten and Joseph von Sonnenfels in charge of literary censorship, and they reduced the number of prohibited books each year from more than 4,000 to about 900. In May he allied with Russia’s Ekaterina II, and he promised to join the Russians within three months in case of a war against the Turks. In July he visited Louis XVI in Paris. He told a peasant family that his greatest honor would be to rule over free men.
      In 1781 Emperor Joseph II required bishops to swear allegiance to the crown, and all communications from the pope had to be cleared by the government. In September a decree extended the legal training for lawyers and judges with rigorous examinations. The salaries of judges were greatly increased to reduce the temptation to accept bribes. Courts of appeal were established, and the supreme court in Vienna made final decisions. The same system was imposed on Lombardy.
      In October and November he issued patents of toleration that reduced the restrictions on Jews and greatly expanded the freedom of the Protestants and the Orthodox church, but he was criticized and obstructed by some Catholics such as the cardinals Migazzi in Vienna and Batthyany in Esztergom. Lutherans, Calvinists, and Orthodox Christians were allowed private worship, and communities with a hundred sectarians could build a church without bells and with an entrance that did not face the street. Within five years 150 non-Catholic communities had formed, and during his reign (1780-90) Hungary established 1,015 new communities. Jews no longer had to wear a yellow star. They did not have to pay higher legal fees, and they were given the right to practice their faith, to organize their own schools, and to attend Christian schools and universities. Those who did not attend Jewish schools had to attend German-speaking schools. Jews were allowed to trade, open factories, hire Christians as servants, and build houses wherever they wanted in Vienna, though Jewish immigration was limited to those bringing assets.
      On November 1 Joseph II abolished serfdom in Bohemia and Moravia, and this was extended to Inner Austria and Galicia in 1782. A patent gave peasants free legal aid against their landlords, and manorial courts could not levy fines or jail terms over eight days without the approval of crown officials. In November the Emancipation Patent freed the serfs in Bohemia and gave them the same rights as those in Austrian archduchies which meant that they could leave the manor, buy or sell land, marry, or take up a new trade.
      Pope Pius VI visited Vienna in March and April 1782, but Joseph did not stop suppressing the monasteries. In five years he dissolved 738 of the 2,047 abbeys, and 27,000 of the 65,000 monks had to move to other monasteries, find new jobs, or retire on a pension. Orders dissolved included the Carthusians, Camaldulensians, Cistercians, Carmelites, Poor Clares, and Franciscan hermits. Those institutions involved in teaching or caring for the sick survived. Monasteries had owned half of Carniola and three-eighths of Moravia and Austrian Silesia. The estates of the Carthusians had been worth 2.5 million florins. Selling the dissolved monasteries brought in 1.6 million florins from Lower Austria and another million from Bohemia, and these funds were used to help the poor and provide education. He reduced the salaries of high churchman while greatly increasing and making regular those of the common priests. Parishes were reorganized, and more Catholic churches were built. Novices were required to have six years of study at one of the general seminaries in the cities of Vienna, Prague, Graz, Innsbruck, Olmütz, Pavia, and Louvain. The curriculum still emphasized religion and ethics but also included math, science, and history to remove superstitions. After the budget forced reducing study to four years, dogma, polemics, and the Bible were removed from the curriculum. Marriages became civil contracts, and divorces could be obtained more easily. The assets from dissolved religious societies were put into a fund to finance schools.
      In March 1783 the Directive Regulation of the robot service was replaced by peasants paying their landlords with cash or crops. Galicia was excepted, and their robot work was reduced from five days a week to three. When Joseph was visiting Transylvania in 1783, he observed the misery of the Rumanian serfs, and demanded that they be registered for the military and liberated from their landlords. The authorities resisted, and the peasants began pillaging the houses of the nobles. In October 1784 about 30,000 peasants rebelled and demanded an end to serfdom. Vasile Nicula Horia led three armies of rebels and asked for protection of the Emperor. Rumanians were rebelling against Hungarian landlords and were supported by the Orthodox clergy. Joseph sided with the Hungarian nobles and sent Orthodox priests with his troops to reduce the violence, and the army suppressed the revolt in a few weeks. Horia and a few other leaders were executed in February 1785.
      After Count Johann Paul von Hoyer replaced the director Raab, he favored the nobility and restricted the peasants’ rights. Joseph II ended the resulting unrest in February 1785 by replacing Hoyer and appointing a commission to investigate the peasants’ conditions. On August 22, 1785 he abolished serfdom in all the Hungarian crownlands.
      In 1784 duties were imposed on the importation of foreign goods in order promote local industries, and in 1785 a decree prohibited the sale of foreign textiles in the kingdom. The number of workers in the woolen industry in Bohemia and Moravia increased from 80,000 in 1775 to 152,000 in 1789. Duties on luxuries from abroad favored the manufacture of porcelain and glass in Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary. Guild workshops were replaced by factories which multiplied in Bohemia from 24 in 1780 to 86 in 1788.
      In June 1784 Joseph II made German the official language for the government in the monarchy’s domains except for Lombardy and Belgium. That year the largest and most modern general hospital opened in Vienna with 2,000 beds; fees were based on income with paupers being treated for free. In July he cancelled the special status of Transylvania’s three privileged nations and their county representatives in the Diet. Despite Magyar appeals he refused to convene the Hungarian Diet even for his own coronation which never took place, and he upset Hungarians by removing their Holy Crown of St. Stephen from Pozsony to Vienna. Although Joseph spoke Magyar (Hungarian) and Czech, he wanted to replace Latin as the official language of his kingdoms. The administrative use of German replaced Czech in Bohemia in 1785; but he allowed publications in Czech, and that led to editions of ancient Bohemian works and translations. In 1784 the Austrian government began registering all property, and it would take five years to complete the Kadaster. Austria’s state revenue increased from 65,777,780 florins in 1781 to 87,483,740 florins in 1788.
      In July 1785 Friedrich II organized a league of twelve German princes to protect their states against Emperor Joseph II. In the November treaty of Fontainebleau the Dutch agreed to pay Joseph 10 million florins because they had blockaded the Scheldt estuary for two centuries, though it remained closed. In 1786 he abolished Milan’s state council and senate and cancelled their privileges. Then he unified the Lombard administration over Milan and Mantua with a governing council and eight districts. Municipal authorities were given wider power but lost their judicial capacity. He extended military conscription to the Austrian Netherlands and to Tyrol. Clerics in the Netherlands demonstrated against state-run seminaries, and in response to administrative changes in Belgium the estates in Brabant withheld their taxes in April 1787. On May 20 a riot erupted in Brussels, and the Belgian revolt provoked Joseph to impose political censorship in his kingdoms. On May 31 Maria Christina annulled the reforms.
      The new civil code was published in 1786, and in 1787 Joseph implemented a new criminal code based on equality before the law that enacted the reforms of Beccaria. Suspects had to be charged within 24 hours and given a court hearing within three days. They could not be tortured or even threatened with corporal punishment. Cruel punishments such as mutilation were abolished. Capital punishment became so exceptional that only one person was executed in Austrian lands during Joseph’s reign, and he removed a Hungarian judge for executing criminals. Yet the public could not attend trials, and the accused did not have a defender.
      In August 1787 the Ottoman empire declared war against Russia, an ally of Austria, and an imperial army of 200,000 men defended the Balkans. Hungary had just suffered two bad harvests and floods, but they were expected to pay for a war tax and raise 400 recruits for every thousand able men. After the Turks invaded the Banat, Joseph took command; but the army suffered from dysentery, typhus, and malaria, and the weakened Joseph came down with tuberculosis and returned to Vienna. In February 1788 the Tax Regulation Court Commission’s president Karl von Zindzendorf submitted a memorandum criticizing the Emperor for violating the landlords’ property rights, and Joseph quickly removed him.

      Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) developed chamber music, sonatas, the string quartet, and the symphony in his long career, composing 106 symphonies from 1759 to 1795. Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-87) also worked in Vienna and composed music for 49 Italian, French, and German operas and eight ballets.
      Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. His father Leopold Mozart (1719-87) was a composer, violinist, conductor, and teacher of music. In 1762 Wolfgang began traveling with his family and performed as a prodigy with his older sister. He composed his first symphony at the age of eight. In Milan he had three of his operas premiered—Mitridate in 1770, Ascanio in Alba in 1771, and Lucio Silla in 1772. In 1773 he became a musician at the Salzburg court, and he visited Paris in 1777-78. In January 1781 his opera Idomeneo opened in Munich and was a success. In March he went to Vienna and decided to stay. Mozart met Emperor Joseph II and offered to perform in concerts to benefit Vienna’s musicians. His opera The Abduction from the Seraglio premiered in July 1782 and was so popular that it was performed widely in German-speaking countries. Mozart became a Freemason on December 14, 1784. His music for the Italian translation of the revolutionary French play by Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro, was performed on May 1, 1786 at Vienna and then at Prague. His opera Don Giovanni opened at Prague in October 1787 and came to Vienna in 1788. Mozart became ill while in Prague for the opening of his opera La clemenza de Tito on September 6, 1791. Yet he conducted The Magic Flute on September 30. He died on December 5 before reaching his 35th birthday, leaving for the world more than 600 brilliant musical compositions.
      In The Magic Flute Mozart wrote music for the romantic comedy of Papageno and Papagena as well the screaming vengeance of the Queen of the Night who tells Tamino to rescue her daughter Pamina from the wicked Sarastro. Yet the audience has to shift their consciousness when they learn the true characters of the Queen and Sarastro. In the deep Masonic themes the mystical Sarastro sings, “In these holy halls we know nothing of revenge, and love for their fellow men is the guiding rule of the initiated.” This opera played a hundred times in fourteen months and was the most popular opera before Wagner and Verdi.

Austrian Empire during Revolution 1789-99

Swiss Confederation 1715-88

Swiss Confederation and Neutrality 1648-1715

      A major conflict between the Catholic cantons and the Protestants was resolved by the peace of Aargau on August 11, 1712, ending Catholic domination and allowing both faiths equal rights in the Swiss Confederation. On September 7, 1714 a treaty was signed at Baden in the Swiss Confederation, and the French and Emperor Karl (Charles) VI secretly agreed to favor the Catholic cantons against the Protestants. The Catholic and mostly German cantons were Lucerne, Uri, Schwyz, Solothurn, Unterwalden, and Zug. The mostly German and Protestant cantons were Basel, Appenzell, Glarus, Schaffhausen, and Zürich. Bern was the largest with German, French, Protestants, and Catholics. Freiburg was French and Catholic. They renewed their defensive alliance with France’s Louis XIV in May 1715. Switzerland would have a peaceful period for the next eighty years.
      The Confederation had a weak central government that allowed the thirteen cantons sovereignty, but they were united for mutual protection. The Swiss Diet had no legislative power, and decisions could only be made by unanimity. In 1712 the Diet began meeting at Frauenfeld and did so for more than eighty years. Two representatives from each of the thirteen cantons and one from each associated state met occasionally in the general Diet. The seven aristocratic cantons were centered around a major city. Bern had the Great Council of Two Hundred, but elections were held only once every nine or ten years. Lucerne had a Great Council of 100 and a Small Council of 36 with more power in the latter. In Solothurn only ancient burghers were eligible for the Great Council. Guilds were strongly represented in the governments of Zürich, Basel, and Schaffhausen. Burghers who were at least fourteen years old had the right to vote in the guild-dominated cantons. The Austrian Empire exerted some influence over the Swiss, and Empress Maria Theresa (r. 1740-80) received a share of the fines from crimes in order to pay for the judges and courts. Two-thirds of the fines went to the local governor, and judges also benefited from fines and so avoided other punishments. In Bern those convicted of misdemeanors were fed and clothed by the House of Labor and had to clean the streets. The Swiss Confederation renewed its defensive alliance with France in 1777.
      Agriculture was most important to the Swiss economy, and Bern’s landowner Johann Rudolf Tschiffeli developed improved methods of farming. The Swiss developed industries for cotton, linen, and silk. France was most favored for trade until 1781 when a poll tax was imposed on Swiss citizens in France. The French imposed duties on Swiss imports and banned Swiss linen in 1786. Swiss home industries pioneered the manufacture of clocks and watches. By the 1780s they were producing 40,000 watches a year.
      The independent republic of Geneva spoke French and was Calvinist. The burghers demanded more rights, and the government appealed to Bern and Zürich for help. When fighting broke out in the streets, Bern and Zürich intervened. A compromise was mediated in 1738, and burghers were given more access to governmental powers. That year Geneva abolished torture. Voltaire lived in Ferney for many years and influenced Swiss culture. Jean Jacques Rousseau was born in Geneva in 1712, and his writings would become a controversial influence in the second half of the century. In 1762 his books were burned in front of the Geneva Council House. Conflicts in 1766 led to the Pacification Edict on March 11, 1768 that let the burghers elect half the Council of 200, and more natives were allowed to be elected into the burgher class. After a more serious uprising in April 1782, the government fled as top authorities formed a security council. In July 6,000 troops from France, 2,000 from Bern, and 3,000 from Sardinia-Piedmont arrived and restored the government which cancelled the burghers’ rights gained in 1738; only natives retained equal rights with the burghers.
      In 1735 Albrecht von Haller wrote a political memorandum that was submitted to the Great Council of Bern showing how aristocratic governments evolved from oligarchies or democracies. In 1744 the burghers asked the government to simplify election procedures. Micheli de Crest left Geneva and stirred up trouble in Bern. An effort to unseat the ruling families was led by Samuel Henzi. Authorities charged sixty people with conspiracy and arrested Henzi on July 4, 1749, and he and two others were hanged on the 17th. Crest and others were sentenced to life in prison.
      Levinental was suffering from taxes imposed by Uri to pay for the Villmergen War. As the conflict escalated, in May 1755 Uri sent in the military to punish the rebels. Levinental lost its self-government that was replaced by Uri. People in Neuchatel were also concerned about their taxes that were profiting the tax farmers who collected them which had been introduced by Prussia’s Friedrich II in 1767. The faction demanding independence was opposed by the French and the Prussians. In 1768 General Scipio von Lentulus, who was a citizen of Prussia and Bern, managed to resolve the issues.
      In Zürich in 1768 the anonymous pamphlet De Helvetiorum juribus circa sacra showed that the confederation had exercised power over the Church. The Bishop of Constance ordered the book suppressed, and Pope Clement XIV put it on the Index. In 1769 The Reflections or Observations of a Swiss advocated abolishing monasteries. Valentin Meyer wrote Refutation of the Reflections but attacked the monasteries even more vehemently.
      From 1726 to 1739 peasants in Gruyère had been rebelling against the aristocrats of Freiburg. The Bishop of Basel could get no help from Swiss cantons and asked the French to suppress the revolt in 1739. Suppression of religious festivals and the monks provoked another insurrection in Gruyère in April 1781, and authorities increased punishments. The Freiburg burgher Pierre Nicholas Chenaux aroused the people, and in May thousands of armed peasants marched on Freiburg. The city rulers asked Bern for support, and a thousand troops led by General Lentulus came the next day and reinforced the garrison. The rebels dispersed as the leaders fled. Chenaux was captured and killed by a repentant rebel. People gathered and made him a martyr until the Bishop of Lausanne threatened them with excommunication. In 1782 patrician towns persuaded the people of Freiburg to compromise with the nobles.
      The Swiss made scientific and scholarly advances in the 18th century. The Natural Science Society met regularly starting in 1746. In 1759 Tschiffeli founded the Swiss Economic Association (Okonomische Gesellschaft) in Bern, and this led to the Natural Science Society of Bern formed by Samuel Wyttenbach in 1786. Johann Bernoulli (1667-1748) and his nephew Daniel Bernoulli (1700-82) traveled in Europe and learned about theology, medicine and used their mathematical abilities to study physics and other fields. Daniel published Hydrodynamics in 1738, and Johann taught Leonhard Euler (1707-83) who published 80 volumes on natural science. Johann Heinrich Waser was from Zürich and became a pastor. He used statistics in writing about Bern’s population and circulation of currency. He was arrested for his political views and secrecy and was executed on May 27, 1780.
      Religious minorities such as the Anabaptists were encouraged to emigrate, and Mennonites and Amish went to America. The number of Swiss who served as mercenaries in other countries reached a high of nearly 79,000 in 1748 but had fallen to about 40,000 by 1787.
      Education of the Swiss in the 18th century was usually reserved for the wealthy and influential. Franz Urs Balthasar, a patrician councilor of Lucerne, published his Patriotic Dreams of a Confederate upon Means of Rejuvenating the Senile Confederation in 1758 that recommended a federal school for national education. Isaak Iselin published his Philosophical and Patriotic Dreams of a Friend of Humanity in 1755, and he helped organize the Helvetic Society in 1761. The Helvetic Military Society was founded in 1779.

Swiss Cantons during the Revolution 1789-99

Vattel on International Law

      Emerich de Vattel was born on April 25, 1714 at Couvet in Neuchatel, Switzerland. His father was a clergyman of the Reformed Church but died in 1730. Then Emerich excelled at the University of Bale until he went to Geneva in 1733. He liked literature and philosophy, and in 1741 Vattel published a Defense of the Leibnitzean System. He went to Dresden, and in 1747 he received a pension in Saxony. In 1758 during the Seven Years’ War he published his Law of Nations and was appointed a privy councilor by King August III of Saxony. His last work in 1762 was on the natural law philosophy of Wolff. Vattel’s health declined, and he died of edema in 1767.
      Vattel was much influenced by Leibniz and Wolff, and he wanted to bring the benefits of philosophy to politics. Believing that the Latin of Wolff’s 1749 Law of Nations was obscure, he began translating it into French but added his own ideas. The work published in London in 1758 became his influential Le droit des gens ou principes de la loi naturelle, the complete title being translated as The Law of Nations or the Principles of International Law Applied to the Conduct and to the Affairs of Nations and of Sovereigns. In his preface Vattel reviewed concepts of the law of nations from the Roman law of Justinian and the definitions of Grotius. In order to increase human happiness Vattel aimed to promote political liberty, mutual aid among nations, and the diminution and mitigation of wars.

The end or aim of civil society is to procure for its citizens
the necessities, the comforts, and the pleasures of life,
and in general their happiness;
to secure to each the peaceful enjoyment of his property
and a sure means of obtaining justice;
and finally to defend the whole body
against all external violence.2

      Vattel argued that a state is not and cannot be the patrimony of a despotic prince because the sovereignty of the people is inalienable. A nation has the right to change its constitution, and those who dissent are free to leave the country. A nation is a political body or society of people, “who have united together and combined their forces in order to procure their mutual welfare and security.”3 Like Wolff, Vattel asserted the equality and sovereign independence of states. Just as individuals aim to perfect themselves, nations are obligated to mutual assistance in perfecting themselves.

No nation has the right
to meddle in the government of another….
It is a manifest consequence
of the liberty and independence of nations,
that all have the right to govern themselves as they choose,
and no one has the least right to intrude himself
in the government of another.
Of all the rights which belong to a nation,
its sovereignty is without doubt the most precious.4

      For Vattel self-preservation is the most basic obligation, but helping to promote and protect the welfare of others comes next. The first book of his Law of Nations delineates the obligations a nation has to itself, and the second book discusses its rights and duties in relation to other nations. He wrote that these latter duties include assisting a nation against a powerful enemy that threatens to oppress it, giving aid during a famine, imparting laws, not monopolizing trade, not taking possession of vacant lands, engaging in commerce, instituting consuls for trade, rendering justice regardless of nationality, giving aid when requested to carry out justice in its jurisdiction, opening one’s borders to foreigners provided they observe the laws of the country, not restraining them if they wish to leave, not preventing the right of inheritance, and even in civil war aiding those with justice on their side or protecting people from unjust tyranny. Thus Vattel argued that each state owes to other states what it owes itself.
      Respecting the liberty of nations, Vattel argued against attempting to benefit natives against their will, and he specifically condemned the Europeans for attacking the American nations and subjecting them to their avaricious rule in order to “civilize” them, a pretext he considered both unjust and ridiculous. A nation must request duties of humanity before receiving them. Vattel defined the rights of necessity and primitive community, and he distinguished perfect rights from imperfect rights. Necessity may make some actions right that would otherwise be unlawful, when not doing so would mean one would not be fulfilling an indispensable obligation. He gave the example that a nation in desperate need of food can force a neighbor with an over-supply to furnish food at a fair price. Primitive community of ownership is the duty to give assistance that causes no harm or inconvenience, such as allowing the use of coastal waters, rivers, or roads for commerce. Perfect rights compel the fulfillment of corresponding obligations and can be enforced. Imperfect rights request an optional obligation, which may be declined. If a perfect right is refused, it is an injury; but an imperfect right is doubtful. However, a doubtful or imperfect right may be made obligatory or perfect by means of a treaty.
      Vattel followed Wolff in separating the natural law of ethical conscience, which he called internal, from the positive or external law, which he classified as voluntary, conventional, and customary. Voluntary law comes from presumed consent, conventional law from expressed consent, and customary law from tacit consent. For Vattel just as the conventional law of a treaty may transform a doubtful obligation into a perfect right so too customary law may remove doubt so that a sovereign need not submit his case to arbitration.
      Vattel defined war as prosecuting our rights by force. He believed that if men were reasonable, they would settle their quarrels by appealing to justice and equity for deciding judgment; but using force is a sad expedient that is used against those who despise justice and will not listen to reason. A wise nation will only use it as a last resort after all other methods have failed. He noted that humanity revolts against a ruler who goes to war without necessity, for an unjust war leads to innumerable crimes and disasters. Such a ruler is responsible before God and answerable to humanity. For war to be endured, a nation must want it, and the cause must be just. Nations that use arms for gain are unjust plunderers and enemies of humanity. Other nations then are justified in uniting together to punish the offending nation.
      So for Vattel a war is only justified if a right needs to be protected and if there is no other method except by force of arms to secure that right. In a doubtful case he recommended that the dispute be settled by compromise. If one side refuses a fair compromise, the other side may be justified in enforcing it. However, he considered it pernicious and absurd to think that war should be used to decide controversies because victory usually goes to the stronger and more skillful, not to those with justice on their side. He also believed that both sides in a war cannot be just. Although Vattel did not believe in the supreme state of Wolff and Vitoria, he did recommend that confederations can maintain a balance of power and may preserve the liberties of nations. Vattel emphasized the independence of nations, but he has been criticized for failing to provide effective ways to keep the peace and assure justice. He did suggest that nations could join together to put down a violator of international law, writing,

If, then, there would be found
a restless and unprincipled nation,
ever ready to do harm to others,
to thwart their purposes,
to stir up civil strife among their citizens,
there is no doubt but that all the others
would have the right to unite together, to discipline it,
and even to disable it from doing further harm.5

      Vattel argued that a declaration of war is necessary as the last attempt to settle the dispute without bloodshed. The arguments for the war being just should be presented. A conditional declaration threatens war if specific obligations are not met. Vattel reminded people at war not to forget the humanity of their enemies and never to abandon the charity that binds the human race. During war the nation must always consider the legality of the means employed. The Swiss Confederation had been following the maxim of neutrality for two centuries, and Vattel contributed to clarifying these rights and legal principles. Vattel was the first to suggest that neutrality does not mean equality of assistance to both sides but rather giving no help to either side.

Pestalozzi’s Early Ideas on Education

Comenius on Education 1650-70

      Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was born on January 12, 1746 in Zürich. His father was a physician, but he died in 1751. The boy was raised by his mother and a woman servant. He spent holidays with his grandfather, a pastor who helped the rural poor. Elementary school then was mostly mechanical memorizing. Pestalozzi studied Greek, Hebrew, and philosophy at the Collegium Carolinum; but he left at the age of nineteen when he joined the Helvetic Society where he made some close friends. In their newspaper he criticized official corruption and was arrested as part of a conspiracy. He wished that someone would make the principles of education intelligible to everyone and that a generous person would print the pamphlet so that it could be given to the public for nothing.
      In September 1767 Pestalozzi went to Tschiffeli’s experimental Kirchberg farm in the canton of Bern. In 1768 he borrowed money to buy 15 acres of wasteland and built a house called Neuhof, but the vegetable farm failed. After seeing the misery of the peasants’ children he asked how they could be lifted up. In 1769 he married Anna Schulthess who was eight years older; she understood that his first duty was to his country. He was so influenced by Rousseau’s Emile that he named their son Jean-Jacques, and he also liked the ideas of Leibniz and Wolff. Pestalozzi believed that the way to right action was right feelings. If children were loved, they would give back love and respect. He wrote letters that were published in the periodical Die Ephemerides and the Diary on the Education of his three-year-old Son. In the winter of 1774 he took poor children into his home to teach them with love as they earned their living spinning or weaving cotton. Boys also did gardening, and girls cooked and sewed. They ate bread and vegetables and were healthy. Within a few years they had fifty people there. After poor crops his wife became ill, and the business failed in 1779. His land was rented to pay the creditors, but Pestalozzi stayed in the house. The servant Elizabeth Naef came to help, and she became the model for his Gertrude. At this time he wrote,

Christ teaches us by His example and doctrine to sacrifice
not only our possessions but ourselves for the good of others,
and shows us that nothing we have received is absolutely ours
but is merely entrusted to us by God
to be piously employed in the service of charity.6

In 1779 he opened a school for poor and neglected children which was supported with funds from Zürich, Basel, and Bern.
      Pestalozzi’s The Evening Hour of a Hermit was published in 1780 and begins,

Man who is the same whether in the palace or in a hut,
what is he in his inmost nature?
Why do not the wise tell us?7

He wondered why people do not search for the necessities of nature in order to build enjoyment in life. Humans driven by needs can only find the truth in the depths of one’s own nature. Obeying one’s nature brings peace and guidance for happiness. Human wisdom is based on knowledge of one’s closest relationships. The nursing mother develops love and gratitude in the child, and a son feels duty toward his father who provides a home and food. From fellowship, peace, and gratitude come an understanding of justice and what is right. Justice comes from love and is the basis for freedom. Lack of self-knowledge curbs wisdom. He warned against “the thousandfold confusion of verbal instruction and opinions” before learning “truth and wisdom through first-hand knowledge.” He criticized the artificial method of schooling which prefers words to things. The person with a simple and clear soul will arrive at true wisdom as one applies one’s knowledge and talents modestly and diligently. Although individual talents vary, the unity of humanity is more important than the differences. Wisdom comes from a good and truthful heart. He wrote,

A fatherly spirit makes a good governor—
a brotherly spirit a good citizen;
both create order at home and in the state.8

For Pestalozzi home and the family are the basis of a natural education for character and citizenship. Departing from the wise order of Nature brings shallowness and misery. The most blessed theory is a humane spirit. Children need to learn discipline from real things before going to lessons about words. Conduct not based on what is right undermines one’s capacity to know reality. He believed that God is the nearest human relationship. God is the source of one’s welfare and gives solace, strength, and wisdom. He believed that brotherly love springs from the idea that we are all God’s children. From faith in God springs peace, security, growth, and wisdom which is the key to all human welfare.
      The first volume of Pestalozzi’s Leonard and Gertrude published in 1781 was the first German novel about village life and was very popular, but the second, third, and fourth volumes published in 1783, 1785, and 1787 contained more and more educational theory and had few readers; but the whole work has become an educational classic. He suggested that education can strengthen inner powers while legislation can improve conditions. The first volume describes how officials make the life of peasants miserable. Leonard is a weak husband who squanders his pay at the tavern drinking and gambling, and despite the children’s needs he cannot reform himself. Bailiff Hummel is a corrupt official who uses his position for his own lust and profit. The mother Gertrude cares for her children and teaches them how to speak through natural conversations. She tells the schoolmaster Glüphi that learning things is good, but it is more important for them to learn to be something. The pastor Ernest with love tries to reform the morals of the bailiff, and the squire Arner is a compassionate judge who helps people.
      Pestalozzi also wrote and published the weekly Swiss Journal in 1782-83. He argued that no punishment can reform a person if it is not accompanied by kindness and love. In 1783 he published Legislation and Infanticide to demand reforms on the issue. He became a member of the Order of the Illuminati which worked to promote the welfare of the poor in private ways. Pestalozzi corresponded with Count Zinzendorf over seven years; he wrote to Leopold II, the Grand Duke of Tuscany; and he sent his memoranda On Civil Education to Austrian princes.

Germans 1713-40 and Wolff on Law

German States 1648-80
German States 1680-1715
Pufendorf and Thomasius
Leibniz and Ethics

      In Bavaria the Elector Maximilian II Emanuel (r. 1679-1726) supported the Austrian war against the Turks in 1717. He married the Austrian princess Maria Amalia in October 1722, and in 1725 he attended the wedding of Louis XV at Versailles. Max Emanuel was succeeded by his son Karl Albrecht (r. 1726-45) who neglected the large council and formed the Privy Conference of four advisors. On April 24, 1729 he founded the Order of St. George, and he began construction of the Rothenberg fortress that was not completed until 1750. He was allied with Austria and kept his relationship with France secret. He took responsibility for Bavaria’s debt and managed spending. More than half of Bavaria’s arable land was not taxed because it belonged to tax-exempt churches and monasteries.
      The duchy of Württemberg was ruled by Eberhard Ludwig from 1693 to 1733. He reduced the power of the estates in 1717, and in 1724 the Diet approved a standing army. He tolerated Waldensians from Piedmont to limit the influence of the Lutherans. Eberhard Ludwig was succeeded by his cousin Karl Alexander (r. 1733-37) who encouraged Pietism and was aided by the Jewish financier Joseph Süss Oppenheimer. After Karl Alexander’s death on March 12 Oppenheimer was arrested and accused of fraud, corruption, and treason. He refused to convert to Christianity for a pardon and after a closed trial was hanged on February 4, 1738. Karl Alexander was succeeded by his 9-year-old son Karl Eugen who ruled Württemberg from 1755 until his death in 1793. He tended to be despotic but tried to improve agriculture to feed the people. He argued with the jurist Johann Jakob Moser in the 1750s and had him imprisoned from 1759 to 1764 when Friedrich II intervened on his behalf. Moser published New German Constitutional Law in 24 volumes from 1766 to 1782.
      Hanover was a strong German state; but after George Ludwig (r. 1698-1727) became King George I of Britain in 1714, he spent most of his time in England. Hanover gained Bremen and Verden in 1715 during the Great Northern War. The treaty of Hanover in October with Britain became the basis for the Triple Alliance with France in December. George II founded a university at Göttingen in 1737. The first Freemason lodge began at Hamburg in 1733.
      Saxony’s Elector August II (r. 1694-1733) had converted to Catholicism to become King of Poland-Lithuania in 1697, and he made Dresden the capital of Saxony. In 1722 some persecuted Moravian Brethren migrated to Saxony where Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf gave them refuge on his estate. Moravians influenced a few Protestants to become missionaries. August III from 1733 became King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania in 1734, and he imposed the Catholic religion. In 1740 Moravian missionaries in Bethlehem initiated the celebration of Christmas that introduced German legends of Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus).
      In 1719 Emperor Karl VI recognized the Principality of Liechtenstein by uniting Vaduz and Aschellenburg which had been bought from counts in 1699 and 1712.
      Friedrich Wilhelm was 24 when he succeeded his father Friedrich as King in Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg on February 25, 1713. He learned to speak French fluently but always wrote in German. He was a self-disciplined Calvinist, and he greatly reduced court expenditures. He turned the ground floor of his palace into government offices and converted the garden in front to use it for military drills. He ruled autocratically, and the Council no longer met except for an annual budget meeting. He generally communicated with his ministers in writing. Before he became king, he had increased revenues by using six-year leases of the domains to take advantage of rising prices. He expanded the excise tax on more foods as well as on imported coffee, chocolate, tea, sugar, and on industrial products such as timber, flax, hemp, cotton, leather, tallow, dyes, and silk goods. He imposed a general land tax in East Prussia to tax the nobles’ lands for the first time. Friedrich Wilhelm began the process of replacing the elected governments of towns with paid officials. The central government assumed their debts and controlled their rural property. Tax Commissioners were given considerable power with each commissar over about seven towns. Peasants were taxed about 40% of their income. In 1716 a decree regulated the Merchants Guild in Berlin barring from membership “Jews, homicides, murderers, thieves, adulterers, or any other persons afflicted with great public vices or sins.”
      In April 1715 Prussia joined the coalition of Saxony, Poland, Hanover, Denmark, and Russia and declared war against Sweden. Danes, Saxons, and Prussians forced Stralsund to surrender on December 24. In 1717 Friedrich Wilhelm made elementary education compulsory in Prussia, and 1,700 schools were founded in the next twenty years. In March 1719 he abolished serfdom on crown land. At the end of the Northern War on January 21, 1720 in Stockholm the Swedes ceded most of Pomerania to Prussia. In his testament in 1722 he warned rulers,

In the name of God I implore my dear Successor
never to start an unjust war nor to be the aggressor;
for God has forbidden unjust wars,
and you shall have to render an account
for every man who falls in an unjust war.9

      In December 1722 the General Finance Directory and the General War Commissariat were combined into the General Directory in Berlin and the War and Domains Chambers in the provinces. On October 10, 1723 Prussia made a treaty at Charlottenberg with Britain. From 1725 on Friedrich Wilhelm wore his military uniform. He was careful not to waste his military resources in wars and lacked the diplomatic skill to further his interest in Jülich-Berg. During the War of the Polish Succession the Emperor Karl VI did not consider the Prussians an ally but only a contingent in his imperial army, and during the Turkish War in 1736-39 Friedrich Wilhelm declined to send troops but contributed 1.2 million thalers.
      Friedrich Wilhelm did not trust the nobles and hired commoners in the civil service. He increased the number of grain storehouses to assure supply for the army which received 80% of all government revenue. Prussia spent only 2% on the court compared to Bavaria’s 20%. In 1721 he imposed duties on grain imports, and in 1732 he prohibited cheap grain from Poland. In 1731-32 he permitted 11,000 religious refugees to immigrate from Salzburg to East Prussia which had been devastated in 1708-10 during the Northern War.
      Friedrich Wilhelm expanded the army from about 40,000 men in 1713 to 83,000 in 1740 making it the fourth largest in Europe even though Prussia had less than 2.5 million people. Prussians were not allowed to serve in foreign armies, but by 1740 two-thirds of Prussia’s army was from other states where they were recruited aggressively. In 1732 he started compulsory military service, and in 1733 he improved recruiting by using the canton system based on military districts rather than company captains. The officers were drawn from the noble families which were expected to send at least one son for cadet training. Between 1732 and 1735 Prussia’s guild charters were revised to include an industrial code which put them under state supervision. He supported Pietist institutions, and in 1734 he decreed that every child must be literate before religious confirmation. Friedrich Wilhelm was not interested in philosophy, and theologians persuaded him to banish Christian Wolff. Friedrich Wilhelm was obese and had a temper, and he died on May 31, 1740, leaving behind 8 million thalers in the treasury. During his reign annual revenue had increased from 1.3 million to 3.3 million thalers.

      Christian Freiherr von Wolff was born on January 24, 1679 in Breslau, and his father vowed to dedicate his son’s life to study. Christian learned mathematics at the University of Jena and received a master’s degree at Leipzig. With a recommendation from the renowned philosopher and mathematician Leibniz, Wolff began teaching at the University of Halle in 1707. He became interested in philosophy and theology, and his lectures on those subjects were popular but aroused jealousy from theology professors. Wolff aimed to apply the methods of science to theology. In 1711 he was elected into the Royal Society in London, and he became a member of the Berlin Society of Science and the Academy of Science in Paris. He advised Tsar Petr 1716-25 and helped found the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences.
      Wolff published German Ethics in 1720 and German Politics in 1721. He argued that nature obligates us to perfect our condition and to avoid what makes it less perfect. He added that one is also obligated to improve the condition of others. The highest good for a human is to make unhindered progress toward greater perfection. He believed that even an atheist has access to whatever one needs to know in order to live correctly. He noted that only a small minority of people are rational. He warned against tolerating atheists because they are “dangerous seducers.” Yet he was a champion of academic freedom and the unhampered search for truth. Pietist theologians objected to his new philosophy examining the highest questions, and they tried to confine him to teaching mathematics.
      When Wolff became Pro-Rector at Halle in 1721, he gave a lecture that emphasized the importance of Confucius and his idea that one may attain happiness by human reasoning without revelation. Two years later military officers persuaded King Friedrich Wilhelm to dismiss Wolff for teaching doctrines opposed to religion. Those reading Wolff’s writings might be punished with servitude. Wolff went to Marburg and got an increase in salary too. He began writing in Latin instead of German for all of Europe. His most influential Latin treatises were Psychologia empirica in 1732, Psychologia rationalis in 1734, and Theologia naturalis in 1736. That year a society of the friends of truth struck medals stamped with the heads of Leibniz and Wolff and followed Wolff’s dictum that they should not hold anything as true or false unless they are convinced by sufficient reason. The King Carlo VII of Naples adopted Wolffian systems in their universities, and Martin Knutzen at the University of Konigsberg taught Wolff’s philosophy to Immanuel Kant. When Friedrich II became king in 1740, he invited Wolff back to Halle as professor of law and vice-chancellor of the university. Three years later Wolff was made chancellor, and in 1745 he was proclaimed a baron of the empire. He died of arthritis in 1754.
      Wolff is recognized for systematizing philosophy with scientific logic. After writing extensively on mathematics, logic, ontology, cosmology, physics, psychology, and theology, he turned to ethics and natural law. His work on natural law (Jus Naturae Methodo Scientifica Pertractatum) in eight volumes was written between 1740 and 1748. A ninth volume on international law was completed in 1749 and was given the long title: The Law of Nations Treated According to a Scientific Method: In which the Natural Law of Nations is carefully distinguished from that which is voluntary, stipulative, and customary. This was followed in 1750 by Wolff’s Institutiones Juris Naturae et Gentium.
      In The Law of Nations Wolff defined his terms and explained his general principles in the Prolegomena. He followed Grotius in defining the necessary law of nations as what binds nations in conscience, and as part of natural law he considered it immutable. Humans are naturally social and are bound to preserve society for the common good. All the nations together make up the supreme state, which should have its own right to promulgate laws for the good of all. Individual states are bound to the whole because they wish to promote the common good; they have the right to coerce individual nations that are unwilling or negligent in performing their obligations. Wolff wrote that all nations are equal because they are like free persons, who are also equal before the law. Thus all nations have the same rights and obligations. Since the supreme state is made up of many individual nations, its government is naturally democratic; its sovereignty rests with humanity as a whole. What seems best to the majority must be considered the will of all humanity. Since they are not all able to meet, leadership may be provided naturally by right reason.
      Following Grotius, Wolff defined the voluntary law of nations as equivalent to civil law. Agreements between nations create what is called stipulative law, which is not universal but particular. The customary law of nations is also particular and is based on the tacit consent of nations. These three kinds of law—voluntary, stipulative, and customary—deriving from the will of nations, Wolff called the positive law of nations, and he distinguished it from the natural or necessary law of nations that is immutable.
      Next Wolff described in detail the duties and rights of nations to themselves and to each other. Contrary to Vitoria and Suarez, Wolff argued that the ruler of a territory can prohibit missionaries from entering. Wolff also analyzed treaties and other agreements of nations as to their obligations in various circumstances. In his chapter on the methods of settling controversies of nations Wolff acknowledged that retaliation may be customary; but he argued that it is unjust by natural law, and therefore the right of retaliation is unjust customary law. When a nation suffers an irreparable injury, it should try to find out if an agreement can be made concerning payment. Wolff differentiated reasons that justify a war from “persuasive reasons” derived from utility or advantage, both of which he considered made the war unjust. In the conduct of war Wolff held that it is not allowable to kill or enslave those captured unless they have committed specific crimes liable to punishment. He recognized the right of nations to contract treaties of neutrality.
      In the chapter on peace and treaties Wolff emphasized that it is the obligation of rulers “to strive in every way to preserve peace” for the sake of their subjects. If nations fear a disturber of the public peace, they should make treaties of war at the proper time and may ally themselves with the one who is being harassed by the disturber’s attacks. He also discussed how peace treaties could be made to end war.
      In his Institutiones §1218 Wolff wrote,

He who wages an unjust war has no legitimate cause for war.
Whatever, then, he does in this war
is unlawful in every respect;
hence, if he kills his enemies, he is a murderer;
if he takes property belonging to the enemy,
he is to be considered an aggressor and robber.
A disturber of the public peace must he be called
who attacks other nations through needless and unlawful wars.
Therefore, all nations have the right to force such a disturber
of the public peace to desist from disturbing it.
If a nation is in fear of such a disturber of the public peace,
it must form alliances of war with others in time.

Germany, Friedrich II and Wars 1740-63

      Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) was born on January 24, 1712. He was tutored in French and German and read Greek and Roman classics, and he was raised as a Calvinist. In 1726 he was named Major of the Potsdam Grenadiers who were called “giants” because they all had to be over six feet tall, though Friedrich was only 5’ 7”. When he was 16, Friedrich had a close relationship with a 13-year-old page who was sent away to a regiment on the Dutch frontier, and Friedrich was told to repent for the sin. In August 1730 he planned to run away to England with his friend Lt. Katte and other army officers; but his father stopped this, imprisoned him in Küstrin, and had Katte beheaded on November 6. Friedrich was forced to stay at Küstrin studying administration before returning to Berlin for his sister’s wedding a year later. Eugene of Savoy persuaded Friedrich to wed 17-year-old Elisabeth Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel-Bevern, a Habsburg relative, on June 12, 1733. He resented the diplomatic marriage but used it to gain his father’s favor. He and his wife lived apart for a year. Despite her love for him he was not attracted to women sexually, and they had no children. Friedrich studied the writing of Niccolò Machiavelli, and in 1739 he wrote an essay that Voltaire in 1740 revised and called “Anti-Machiavel” because he and Friedrich criticized many of his ideas.
      On May 31, 1740 Friedrich inherited the kingdom of Prussia with 2.24 million people scattered around northern German and a well-trained army of 83,000. D’Alembert urged him to be the leader and model of the philosophers and literary men. Like his father, Friedrich had military ambitions. He frankly admitted that ambition, advantage, and his desire to make a name for himself were what motivated him to wage war against Maria Theresa of Austria, Bohemia, and Hungary. Questioning her succession after the death of Emperor Karl VI on October 29, Friedrich, led his Prussian army into Austrian Silesia on December 16 before the Saxony Elector, August III of Poland, could do so. In seven weeks they occupied all of Silesia except for three fortresses. On April 10, 1741 at Mollwitz the Prussian army of 21,600 fighting 19,000 Austrians were losing the battle and suffered more casualties; but then Field Marshal Schwerin used the infantry to force the Austrians to retreat. Friedrich realized he needed to improve his cavalry.
      On June 5 the French and Prussians formed an alliance, and Friedrich agreed to vote for the Bavarian elector Karl Albrecht as emperor. In September the Franco-Bavarian army occupied Upper Austria and approached Vienna in October, but then Karl Albrecht led his army into Bohemia. On October 9 Friedrich had negotiated the secret Convention of Klein-Schellendorf with the Austrian commander Neipperg who was allowed to remove his army from Bohemia unmolested. However, the French led the Bavarians against Prague which they conquered with help from the Saxons in late November. Karl Albrecht was crowned King of Bohemia on December 19, and on January 24, 1742 he was unanimously elected Holy Roman Emperor Karl VII. He was crowned on February 12; but on that day an Austrian army occupied his capital of Munich, and soon they occupied all of Bavaria. Friedrich led an army that included French and Saxon troops from Upper Silesia through Moravia toward Vienna, but so many became sick or deserted that Friedrich retreated to Silesia. While the English mediated the conflict between Prussia and Austria, Friedrich defeated the Austrians at Chotusitz on May 17. They agreed to a preliminary peace at Breslau on June 11 and a treaty at Berlin on July 28. Maria Theresa recognized Prussian control over most of Silesia. Also in 1742 Friedrich II founded a university in Bayreuth, but he moved it to Erlangen the next year.
      On June 27, 1743 George II led British, Hanoverian, and Hessian troops to victory over the French at Dettingen on the Main. The French retreated to Alsace which was invaded by an Austrian army. Saxony turned against Prussia. In May 1744 the French army of 80,000 men invaded the Austrian Netherlands (Belgium), and Friedrich allied with France’s Louis XV in June. Friedrich expanded his army to 140,000 men and marched toward Prague through Saxony in August claiming he was supporting Emperor Karl VII; but Prussian “heretics” were not popular, and Prague, taken in September, could not be held. Charles of Lorraine left the attempt to take Alsace and Lorraine and marched the Austrian army to Bohemia. About 20,000 Saxons opposed Friedrich and joined the Austrian army. Friedrich retreated and lost 17,000 deserters before he reached Silesia in December.
      The death of Emperor Karl VII on January 20, 1745 led to the end of the war between Austria and Bavaria. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian Joseph had a Habsburg mother. The Austrians defeated the Franco-Bavarian army at Pfaffenhofen on April 15, and one week later Bavaria agreed to a treaty with Austria at Füssen. On May 11 near Fontenoy in Belgium a French army of 50,000 defeated 52,000 allies that included Dutch, British, and Hanoverian troops. On June 4 at Striegau near Hohenfriedberg in Silesia the Prussian army defeated Austrians and Saxons, capturing 5,080 men. On September 13 French and Austrian forces helped persuade the electors to select Maria Theresa’s husband Franz to be Holy Roman Emperor. Friedrich and the British accepted the election, but Maria Theresa did not accept Prussia’s claim to Silesia. On September 30 Friedrich’s army of 22,500 defeated 40,200 Austrians and Saxons at Soor in Bohemia. Another Prussian army led by old Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau defeated a mostly Saxon force at Kesselsdorf on December 15, and Friedrich occupied Dresden and on December 25 signed a peace treaty there with Austria and Saxony. He recognized Franz as Emperor and gained control over Silesia while Saxony promised to pay Prussia one million rixdollars for reparations.
      Friedrich II returned to Berlin in 1746 and was acclaimed “Friedrich the Great,” though others called him “Friedrich the Unique.” He had studied the ideas of Christian Wolff but later came to prefer the philosophy of Locke. In 1744 he transformed the Academy to the Academy of the Sciences and Literature and made Pierre Louis Maupertuis president. Friedrich was especially influenced by the humanistic ideas of Bayle, Voltaire, and d’Alembert. Voltaire visited him at Berlin and Potsdam from 1750 to 1753. Friedrich wanted to use power for the welfare of the people, but he favored mercantilism and military strength to enhance the economy and power of the nation. He commanded the civil servants of the government as he did the military. In 1750 he ended the prayer for the Emperor in the churches of his realm. In 1746 the Plauer canal connected the Elbe to the Havel River, and then the Finow canal went from the Havel to the Oder north of Berlin. The large marshes in the Oder valley were drained and ameliorated from 1747 to 1753, and this was also done in the Netze region in 1772.
      Friedrich appointed Samuel von Cocceji to reform the legal system of conquered Silesia, and then he made him Minister of Justice to develop the Codex Fredericianus Marchicus that simplified rules in 1749. Judgeships could no longer be purchased, and examinations had to be passed. Friedrich could reprimand and remove incompetent judges.
      Duke Karl Leopold ruled Mecklenburg-Schwerin from 1713 to 1747 so despotically with military force that Hanover and Brunswick deposed him, and his brother Christian Ludwig II, who had been the administrator for many years, became duke. In 1755 the estates persuaded him to grant them their rights. The pious Duke Friedrich II (r. 1756-85) imposed his puritanical beliefs on the urban population of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, but he promoted schools and textile manufacturing and eventually abolished torture.
      On January 6, 1756 the British and Prussians agreed in the Convention of Westminster to protect Hanover from attack. Prussia lost France as an ally, and on May 1 at Versailles the French made a defensive alliance with Austria. After Maria Theresa would not promise to go to war against Prussia, Friedrich II began the Seven Years’ War in Europe by invading Saxony on August 29. His army occupied Dresden on September 9 and two days later besieged the Pirna fortress. He appropriated money from Saxony and forced Saxon prisoners to serve in his army, though many deserted. An Austrian army stopped their advance at Lovosice in Bohemia on October 1, but on the 14th Pirna surrendered, and the Prussians took about 20,000 Saxons into their army. On May 6, 1757 in the battle of Prague the Prussians had 14,300 casualties to 12,000 Austrians lost, but they captured 4,500 Austrians. On June 18 a much larger Austrian army defeated the Prussians at Kolin in Bohemia in the first major defeat for Friedrich. That summer 75,000 Russians besieged and captured Memel and then used it as a base to invade East Prussia.
      In May 1757 France had organized an army of more than 100,000 to help Austria regain Silesia in exchange for Ypres and other places in Belgium, and they attacked Hanover whose allies had an army of 45,000. Sweden declared war on Prussia and invaded Pomerania. On November 5 at Rossbach 22,000 Prussians defeated 42,000 French and Austrians who suffered 5,000 casualties and had 5,000 more captured while the Prussians had only 558 casualties. Friedrich moved his army into Silesia, and at Leuthen on December 5 he defeated an Austrian army that was twice as large as his, taking 12,000 prisoners. The Austrians evacuated Silesia and returned to Bohemia.
      In 1758 the Prussians invaded Moravia and besieged Olmütz. On April 11 the British and the Prussians agreed not to make a separate peace, and Prussia was to receive annual subsidies of 4 million thalers (£570,000). On June 30 only 12,000 Austrians defeated 30,000 Prussians under General Zieten. Friedrich left Moravia in July 1758, and on August 25 at Zorndorf in Brandenburg his army fought the Russians who suffered heavier casualties. After a couple of small battles against the Swedes, an Austrian army of 80,000 defeated about 33,000 Prussians at Hochkirch in Saxony on October 14.
      On July 23, 1759 the Russians defeated the Prussians at Kay in Brandenburg. British and German allies overcame the French and Saxons at Minden on August 1; but on the 12th a Russian army with Austrian allies defeated Friedrich’s Prussians at Kunersdorf in Brandenburg as each side suffered more than 15,000 casualties. On July 31, 1760 the British allies were victorious over the French at Warburg. At Liegnitz in Silesia on August 15 the Prussians fought Austrians and took 4,734 prisoners. Russians and Austrians occupied Berlin in October, and Friedrich fought the Austrians again at Torgau in Saxony on November 3. By 1760 Prussia’s army had been reduced to about 100,000 troops, and two-thirds of Friedrich’s soldiers were foreigners. Prussians urged Sultan Mustafa III to attack the Austrian Empire. In mid-July Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel led an army of German and British allies that defeated a much larger French army at Vellinghausen.
      Tsarina Elizaveta died January 5, 1762 and was succeeded by her nephew Petr III who admired Friedrich and renounced the Russian conquests in Prussia and asked his allies to make peace. Russia made a peace treaty with Prussia on May 5, and then Sweden did the same. Petr III offered to send 20,000 troops if Friedrich would support Russia’s claim to Holstein, and they became allies in June. That spring Britain stopped the subsidies as it ended its alliance with Prussia. Petr III was assassinated on July 6 (OS), and Empress Ekaterina II cancelled the Prussian alliance and withdrew Russian troops from Silesia. On October 29 at Freiberg in Saxony the Prussians were victorious over the Austrians.
      Peace negotiations began in 1763, and in the treaty signed at Hubertusburg on February 15 Prussia was allowed to retain what it had gained in two Silesian wars. The Seven Years’ War had cost Prussia about 100 million thalers. The English had contributed 16 million, and Prussia had extracted 50 million from Saxony and 8 million from Mecklenburg. Friedrich II dismissed 30,000 troops and sent them back to the farms along with horses from the cavalry and artillery. During the war he had withheld salaries of civil servants and depreciated coins to one-fifth their value. Now he paid off his promissory notes with the devalued coins at their nominal worth, an injustice that saved the Prussian treasury money. He spent more than 20 million thalers on public relief as he promoted agriculture and industry to attract colonists to depopulated areas. Roads, bridges, and canals were built, and about 1,500 square miles of waste and swamp land was reclaimed for cultivation. Silesia was exempted from taxes for six months; 8,000 new houses were built in the three years; and a land bank gave farmers loans.

German States and Friedrich’s Prussia 1763-88

      After the death of Poland’s August III on October 5, 1763 Ekaterina II of Russia favored Stanislaus Poniatowski as the new ruler of Poland; but because Austria would not agree, she decided to ally with Prussia’s Friedrich II and recognized his annexation of Silesia. They each promised to support the other with 12,000 men if attacked. In 1763 Johann Nicolaus von Hontheim under the pseudonym Justinus Febronius expressed his radical views in On the State of the Church and the Legitimate Power of the Roman Pontiff proclaiming the supremacy of the bishops and secular princes on human issues. In 1764 in Hanover the Agricultural Society in Celle was founded, but the British King George III (r. 1760-1820) never even visited his German electorate. In 1765 the first European savings bank was founded at Brunswick, and the second began at Hamburg in 1778.
      In 1766 Friedrich adopted the French model for his Excise and Tolls Department and appointed two hundred French professionals. He considered the peasants as essential to agriculture but still favored the nobles and burghers. The nobles were only taxed in East Prussia and Silesia according to tradition, and he worked to keep the aristocratic Junkers owning their estates by disapproving land purchases by the burghers; but the nobles were not allowed to take over the land of the peasants. Burghers received privileges and support for their economic enterprises and industries, and they were exempt from military service. In 1771 Karl Abraham von Zedlitz was put in charge of culture and promoted education which emphasized moral rules and practical skills for a job.
      The Electorate of Mainz was the largest and richest ecclesiastical state in the German Reich. During the reign of Archbishop-Elector Johann Friedrich Karl von Ostein (r. 1743-63) the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War resulted in the bankruptcy of Mainz. The Elector of Mainz was also the Archchancellor and Director of the Electoral college which he summoned to Frankfurt for elections. Archbishop-Elector Emmerich Joseph von Breidbach zu Bürresheim (r. 1763-74) imposed reforms by limiting holidays and improving monasteries and schools. An independent academy for teachers was founded in 1771, and the Jesuits were expelled in 1773. Under Archbishop-Elector Friedrich von Erthal (r 1774-1802) Mainz joined the League of German Princes in October 1785.
      In 1769 Austrians had occupied a small Polish territory on the Hungarian side of the Carpathian mountains. In February 1772 Prussia and Russia agreed to take nearly a third of Poland, and Maria Theresa gave in to her son Joseph and Kaunitz and agreed to share in Poland’s despoliation in August. Russia took over the Polish portion of Livonia and much of Lithuania and White Russia. Austria gained Galicia and Lodomeria in Volhynia. Prussia regained the bishopric of Ermland in East Prussia, land along the Vistula River that became West Prussia, and one district in Great Poland by the Netze River. In 1776 Prussia and Russia extended their alliance for twelve more years. In 1777 F. A. von Heintz began directing the Silesian mining industry that increased the production of coal, iron, lead, cobalt, and other minerals.
      In 1777 Karl Theodor of Sulzbach became the Elector Palatine of the Rhine, and after the death of the Bavarian elector Maximilian III Joseph on December 30, Emperor Joseph II persuaded Karl Theodor to sign a treaty recognizing the Austrian claim to Bavarian territory. Bavaria’s lavish court expenditures and debt had brought financial difficulties, though Vice Chancellor W. von Kreittmayer had reformed the laws in 1751-56, and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences had been founded in 1759.
      In January 1778 Austrian troops occupied Bavaria. In early July the Prussian army invaded Bohemia; but by October the soldiers were trying to live on potatoes picked in the field, and so Friedrich and his brother Heinrich withdrew the army to Silesia and Saxony. Austria and Prussia agreed to an armistice on March 7, 1779 and began negotiating. In the peace treaty at Teschen signed on May 13 Friedrich granted some Bavarian territory to Austria which recognized Prussia’s Hohenzollern claim to Franconian Ansbach and Bayreuth. Prussia spent 29 million thalers on this “Potato War” and lost 20,000 men.
      The electorates of Bavaria and the County Palatine of the Rhine were combined under the House of Wittelsbach. Johann Adam Weishaupt had founded the secret Order of the Illuminati in May 1776 in Bavaria. Karl Theodor ruled Bavaria 1777-99. After he discovered and suppressed the Illuminati and the Freemasons in 1784-85, he used police to impose censorship.
      In 1780 Maria Theresa’s son Maximilian Franz was appointed the coadjutor of Cologne and Münster. Prussia’s alliance with Russia ended in 1781. Landgrave Friedrich II ruled Hesse-Kassel 1760-85 and was considered an enlightened despot, but he rented Hessians to the British to fight the Americans in the Revolutionary War. Karl Friedrich ruled Baden-Durlach 1738-71 and the unified Baden 1771-1803, and he encouraged education, jurisprudence, the economy, and culture. He banned torture in 1767 and serfdom 1783.
      In 1779 Minister J. H. von Carmer began working on a new Prussian law code, and Karl Gottlieb Suarez, who studied with Christian Wolff, wrote most of the Prussian Law Code that was implemented 1785-94. They believed in the ideas of Montesquieu that separate the power of the executive from the judiciary and the people, but they could not be implemented until after the death of Friedrich. The Code did recognize the peasants as the third estate. The Code also “granted complete freedom of religion and conscience.” Friedrich believed that the people could say what they liked as long as he could do what he liked. The Moravian Brethren were exempt from military service but had to pay a tax. The King could still levy taxes without popular consent. In 1781-82 Prussia had imports and exports amounting to more than 26 million thalers with about three million more in exports. In 1781 the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86) persuaded the Prussian official Christian Wilhelm Dohm to publish On the Civic Improvement of the Jews urging the assimilation of the Jews without demanding conversion. By 1784 Germany had 217 daily or weekly newspapers. The number of German authors doubled from 3,000 in 1773 to 6,000 in 1787, but most of them were poor.
      On July 23, 1785 diplomats from Prussia, Hanover, and Saxony signed the Constitutional Association of Imperial Princes, and in a secret article the three electors were bound to oppose the annexation or exchange of territories by armed force. Support by the Elector of Mainz gave them half of the eight electors. Fourteen other princes joined the association including Duke Karl of Weimar, the bishop of Osnabrück, and the princes of Zweibrücken, Brunswick, Baden, Ansbach, Anhalt, and Mecklenburg.
      Friedrich II died on August 17, 1786. During his reign the territory of Prussia nearly doubled; the population increased to 5.4 million, and the army reached 200,000 soldiers. Prussia became the fourth largest industrial country but was far behind England, France, and Holland. By 1786 Prussia had accumulated a war chest of 54 million in its treasury and collected 23 million in revenues.
      Friedrich II was succeeded in Prussia by his nephew Friedrich Wilhelm II (r. 1786-97) who loved pleasure and was dominated by his ministers. He tried to restore the Protestant faith and opposed the Enlightenment, though he patronized the arts. In August 1786 the archbishops of Trier, Mainz, Cologne, and Salzburg met at Ems in Trier to protest the new nunciatura that the Bavarian Elector Karl Theodor set up to control his bishops. They published the Punctation of Ems that asserted their independence from the papacy. In 1787 the Swiss historian Johannes von Müller published his Darstellung des Fürstenbundes that defended the German League of Princes, but he ignored the secret articles that committed the members to oppose exchanging Bavaria for the Austrian Netherlands. Prussia formed an alliance with the British in August 1788.  

      Johann Bernhard Basedow (1724-90) was the son of a wigmaker but ran away from home and was taught by Reimarus in the Hamburg Grammar School. At the University of Leipzig he was influenced by Wolff’s philosophy. While tutoring the son of a nobleman in Holstein he developed a conversational style of teaching that involved play. After lecturing for eight years at the Sorø Academy in Denmark he published Practical Philosophy. In 1761 he moved to Altona, but his writings were opposed by orthodox clergy. In 1763 he published Love of Truth that relied on nature rather than divine revelation. After reading Rousseau’s Emile and making his “Address to Philanthropists and Men of Property on Schools and Studies and their Influence on the Public Weal,” in 1768 he published his Appeal to Friends of Mankind about Schools with a Plan for an Elementary Book on Human Knowledge. He received contributions from Emperor Joseph II, Tsarina Ekaterina II, and Denmark’s Kristian II, and in 1774 he completed his Elementary Book in four volumes with pictures by Daniel Chodowiecki on school reform using natural methods. More than a century had passed without illustrated textbooks for children since the Orbis Pictus of Comenius. Goethe introduced Basedow to Prince Franz of Anhalt-Dessau, and his support enabled him to found the Philanthropinum school at Dessau in December that was admired by Kant and Zedlitz. Basedow advised teachers to “treat children as children, that they may remain the longer uncorrupted.” He advocated education that is cosmopolitan, free of religious dogma, equal for all classes toward the goal of practical living, good citizenship, and happiness. In 1776 he wrote Examination of the Old Most Natural Religion. Christoph Martin Wieland published his novel, The Story of Agathon, in 1766 and the pedagogical Golden Mirror in 1772.

Germans, Austria & Swiss 1789-1830


1. Quoted in Hungary in the Late Eighteenth Century: The Decline of Enlightened Despotism by B. K. Kiraly, p. 55.
2. The Law of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 2, §15 by Emerich de Vattel, tr. Charles G. Fenwick, p. 13.
3. Ibid., Introduction, §1, p. 3.
4. Ibid., Book 2, Chapter 4, p.21.
5. Ibid., Book 2, Chapter 4, §53.
6. Quoted from Guimps 72 in Essays on Educational Reformers by Robert Hebert Quick, p. 301.
7. The Evening Hour of a Hermit by Pestalozzi tr. Robert Ulich in Three Thousand Years of Educational Wisdom, p. 480.
8. Ibid., p. 484.
9. Quoted in The Sword and the Scepter: The Problem of Militarism in Germany, Volume 1: The Prussian Tradition 1740-1890 by Gerhard Ritter, p. 18.

Copyright © 2017 by Sanderson Beck

EUROPE & REASON 1715-1788 has been published as a book.
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Britain of Georges I-III 1714-88
Wesley, Hume, Johnson, Smith & Pope
British Novels and Plays 1715-88
France of Louis XV and XVI
Montesquieu, Voltaire & Rousseau
French Literature and Theatre 1715-88
Spain, Portugal & Italy 1715-88
Austrian Empire and German States 1715-88
Lessing, Kant, Goethe and Schiller
Netherlands and Scandinavia 1715-88
Poland-Lithuania and Russia 1715-88
Summary and Evaluating Europe 1715-88


Chronology of Europe 1716-1830
World Chronology 1715-1817

BECK index