Accession of Frederick the Great (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The accession of Frederick the Great sets Prussia on course to become the dominant Germanic state and changes the balance of power in Europe.
Summary of Event
When the rather sickly child who would become Frederick the Great was born on January 24, 1712, to Sophia Dorothea, wife of Crown Prince Frederick William I, the aging Frederick I ordered a celebration that rivaled his own coronation as “Frederick by the Grace of God King in Prussia” in the city of Königsberg eleven years earlier. Thirteen months later, Frederick I was dead; his son Frederick William became king in Prussia, and the infant grandson on whom Frederick I had lavished attention was destined to become Frederick II, king of Prussia.
The Great Elector’s legacy of education, science, and the arts—the “Athens of the North”—rapidly gave way to “Sparta” and the militarism of Frederick William I. Upon Frederick William’s accession to the Prussian throne, the two main bodies of government were the General Finance Directory, responsible for the royal domains, and the General War Commissary, responsible for the army and revenue collections. Frederick William’s first order of business was to balance Prussia’s budget, basing financial expenditures on expected revenues. He would tolerate no burdensome national debt like that of France, Austria, and England.
By an ordinance of August 13, 1713,...
(The entire section is 1410 words.)
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