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“enlightened absolutism”
Potemkin village

Frederick II (“the Great”), r. 1740-1786
Peter I (“the Great”), r. 1682-1725
Catherine II (“the Great”), r. 1762-1796

Related Documents (Brophy reader)

Voltaire, from Letters Concerning the English Nation

Hume, from A Treatise of Human Nature

Montesquieu, from The Spirit of the Laws

The Age of Aristocracy
History 104 / February 4, 2013

I. Britain and its aristocracy
          A. Country houses
          B. Improving the land
II. Prussia -- the German exception
          A. Generational turnover in Prussia
                   1. Baroque excesses under Frederick I
                   2. Soldierly savings under Fr. Wilh. I
                   3. Frederick II, champion monarch
          B. Prussian nobles as servants of the state
III. Russia -- a scarcely functional aristocracy
          A. The Moscow tsars
          B. Peter the Great seeks to “Westernize” Russia
          C. Catherine's fragile peace
                   1. Wars against Turkey
                   2. The Pugachev Rebellion
IV. Urban challenges to aristocratic domination
          A. The bourgeoisie – a rival social pyramid
                   1. Merchants and bankers: respectable wealth
                   2. Pastors and professors: respect without wealth
                   3. Professionals: middling status
          B. Other urban groups
                   1. Artisans: experience downward mobility
                   2. Day laborers
                   3. Beggars and indigents
          C. The creation of new public spaces
                   1. Newspapers
                   2. Coffee houses
                   3. The salon, an exclusive new space