John Green of Crash Course European History previously lectured here and here about “about the Enlightenment, and the philosophers and thinkers whose ideas would shape governance for hundred of years.” They challenged the idea that kings and nobles were qualified to be elites simply because of the families into which they were born into.
In this 13 and a half-minute lecture, “we’re learning how monarchs across Europe were influenced by those ideas. Adoption of Enlightenment ideas across Europe was…uneven, to say the least.” Transcript.
In this episode you’ll learn about
- Catherine the Great of Russia (1729-1796),
- Frederick the Great of Prussia (1712-1786),
- Maria Theresa of the Habsburg Dynasty (1717-1780),
- Joseph II, her successor (1740-1790), “probably the most enlightened of the enlightened monarchs,” who sought to end discrimination against Jews and to diminish the grip of the aristocracy on serfs;
- a series of King Louis in France.
and how they supported Enlightenment thinkers, even though these philosophers criticized absolutist monarchs’
- capriciousness, and use of
“Monarchs could have ordinary people thrown into prison for just about any reason, large or small.”
Yet the monarchs did engage with Enlightenment philosophers such as
- Elliot, John H. Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.
- Judson, Pieter M. The Habsburg Empire. A New History. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2016.
- Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia: People and Empire. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.
- Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization. 7th ed. Belmont, CA: Thompson Wadsworth, 2009.
- Vermes, Gábor. Hungarian Culture and Politics in the Habsburg Monarchy, 1711-1848. Budapest: Central European University Press, 2014.