||The Brandenburg Recess: Resolutions agreed to by Frederick William ("the Great Elector") and the Brandenburg Estates in the Recess of July 26, 1653 (1653)
The historical literature long viewed this important document as the founding charter of “Prussian absolutism.” It was seen to have introduced a standing army financed by the new taxes agreed to....
||Political Testament of Frederick William ("the Great Elector") (May 19, 1667)
This extraordinary document displays
Frederick William’s psychology and statecraft with unvarnished....
||King Frederick William I’s Handwritten Instructions to the East Prussian Land-Tax Commission [Generalhufenschoß-Kommission] (April 23, 1716)
In this famous statement, the
Prussian “soldier king”
(r. 1713-40) bluntly expresses his determination....
||The Political Testament of Frederick William I ("the Soldier King") (February 17, 1722)
This hard-boiled statement of the earthy, shrewd, and domineering
Frederick William’s views....
||Frederick William I ("the Soldier King") Demands Unvarnished Information from the Pomeranian Commissariat (July 20, 1722)
One weak point of all political systems headed by powerful (or seemingly all-powerful) individuals is the failure of subordinate officials to report to the political center on unwelcome conditions....
||Frederick William I ("the Soldier King"), Instructions on the Formation and Functioning of the General Directory (December 20, 1722)
This revealing document announced Frederick William’s decision to merge the hitherto multi-branched....
||Frederick II ("the Great"), Notes to Himself on the Invasion of Silesia (1740)
These reflections, jotted down in French soon after the unexpected death of Austrian Emperor Charles....
||Political Testament of Frederick II ("the Great") (1752)
In 1768, Frederick revised this document, meant only for his eventual successor’s eyes, to take....
||Frederick II ("the Great"), "Forms of Government and the Duties of Rulers" (1777)
Here, Frederick presents a version of social contract theory, in which monarchical power is justified....
||The General Law Code for the Prussian States, proclaimed on February 5, 1794, effective June 1, 1794 (1794)
The “rationalization” of public and private law through systematization and codification was an Enlightenment precept that Frederick II aimed to fulfill. The overseer of the project was jurist Carl....
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