Karl von Hardenberg (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Hardenberg played a leading role in the Prussian reform movement. He also directed the foreign policy of his country during the eventful years 1810-1822 and played a pivotal role in forming the coalition of powers that defeated Napoleon. He was the spokesman for Prussia at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, which determined the political fate of Europe for the next fifty years.
Karl August von Hardenberg was born at Essenrode, Hanover, on May 31, 1750, to Christian and Charlotte von Hardenberg. His father, the scion of an old Hanoverian family, had a distinguished military career. Hardenberg’s parents determined that he should pursue a career in government service, and they sent him to Göttingen University in 1766, to study law and political science. He also studied briefly at the University of Leipzig in 1768. He completed his studies in 1770, having returned to Göttingen. Upon graduation he entered the Hanoverian bureaucracy in the department of justice.
In 1775, Hardenberg made an unfortunate marriage to the Countess Juliana von Reventlow, after which Hardenberg was appointed as the Hanoverian minister to England. His wife became involved in a sordid affair with the Prince of Wales, which, when it became a public scandal in 1781, forced Hardenberg’s recall from England and ultimately his resignation from service. Hardenberg managed to find a new post in the Brunswick...
(The entire section is 1733 words.)
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