Frederick’s “Greatness”

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This essay attempts to identify the various qualities that made Frederick II of Prussia’s just appellation ‘the Great’. Frederick employed a completely new type of rule, which was not only unique in the eighteenth century but also prefigured modern governance in many respects. Frederick personified the "raison d’etat" and came to exemplify the rational use of state power for the creation of a completely new standard of judicious kingship. As a visionary ruler of his day, Frederick foreshadowed modern principles of the state. To highlight Frederick’s innovations, the essay not only shows Frederick’s brilliant leadership in the scene of eighteenth-century Europe, but it also refers to rarely quoted contemporary sources; by doing so, the essay contrasts the prodigious divide between the crumbling culture of the "Ancien régime" and that of Frederick’s Prussia—the former still feudal and the latter possessing a vision that rulers are the ‘first servants of the state’.
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Archival date: 2019-09-16
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