Friday, February 27, 2015

"The Peasant Emperor"

The essential question we studied in class was “were enlightened absolute monarchs more enlightened or more absolute?” We did two activities in class to answer this question.  One activity we did was read about three enlightened absolute monarchs and made a venn-diagram.  The three monarchs are Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great, and Joseph II.  The venn-diagram we created distinguished the enlightened and absolute things the rulers did.  When we were done and discussed, it turned out that Frederick was the most absolutist, along with Catherine and Joseph II was the most enlightened. The next activity we did was split into small groups to make a propaganda poster.  Each group chose one of the monarchs and made a poster.  The point of these posters were show the enlightened things the ruler did, so the posters were biased towards them being enlightened rulers.  These activities helped us answer the question, were enlightened absolute monarchs more enlightened or absolute.

An enlightened monarch was one was benevolent.  They have a well informed and rational outlook when they rule and look at different perspectives, appealing to everyone’s needs.  Frederick the Great, Catherine the Great and Joseph II all considered themselves enlightened.  But they were also absolute rulers, so they are enlightened absolute monarchs.  An absolute monarch is one who has total and complete power of the citizens of the country.  By the mid 1600’s, citizens were fed up with the lavish lifestyles and costly wars of absolute monarchs.  So, many philosophers and scholars decided that reforms needed to happen.  They believed that these reforms would be best if they came from enlightened, benevolent monarchs.  But, these enlightened monarchs were not completely enlightened and ended up being enlightened absolute monarchs.

My group had the ruler Joseph II.  Our poster’s slogan is “The Peasant Emperor makes excellent happen”, much like the New Balance slogan “Let's make excellent happen.”  We chose that slogan because Joseph was the most enlightened out of the three rulers and we wanted to shine a light on what he did.  Unlike many monarchs, Joseph II granted toleration to Protestants and Jews in his Catholic Empire.  Also, he traveled in disguise among his subjects to learn their problems and improve their lives.  This got him the nickname of “The Peasant Emperor”, which ties back to the slogan of the poster.  Joseph II also ended censorship, which is why we have a picture of it on our poster.  Lastly, Joseph II built hospitals, but he sold property of monasteries and convents to get the money.  Selling the property was absolute, but he used it for good deeds.  One thing Joseph II did that was more absolute than enlightened was attempting to bring the Catholic Church under royal control.  Although Joseph II did some absolute things, he was truly a more enlightened ruler than Frederick the Great and Catholic the Great and I believe that enlightened absolute rulers were more enlightened than absolute.

Friday, February 13, 2015

"The Great" Ruler of Absolutopia

Dear Lord and Lady Manager of Human Resources and Kingdom of Absolutopia,
The nation of Absolutopia is seeking applicants for an immediate opening for ruler of the country.  Qualified candidates will have significant experience as an authoritarian leader.  The new king or queen will act in best interests of the nation, promote its stability and expansion, rule in the name of God, and eliminate all threats both internal and external.  Experience managing an army/navy, crushing rebellions and/ or instituting reforms in a plus.

If interested please submit your resume and three references to:
Lord and Lady Manager of Human Resources
Kingdom of Absolutopia

      My monarch is Peter I ("The Great") of Russia. He rules in Russia and he ruled from 1682-1725, which is 43 years.  Peter I was born in Moscow, Russia in 1672 and before his ruling, his father, Czar Alexis I, ruled Russia since 1645.  Peter's brother, Theodore took over the throne from is father and ruled until 1682.  When he died, Peter was the new King.  Peter I ("The Great") is mostly known by the city he had named after himself.  In 1703, Peter ordered a absolutist city to be built, and he named it St. Petersburg.  I have done research on Peter I of Russia and believe he will be a great candidate for the job in Absolutopia.
     I greatly believe that Peter I will be the best ruler of Absolutopia.  If you are looking for a ruler who has features of Absolutism, than Peter I is the best candidate for the job of ruler.  The features of Absolutism he has are having a powerful army, he limits power of nobility and church officials, he makes the laws and dispenses justice and finally he amasses wealth and uses it to display power.  Peter I has a very powerful army, a troop of 600 men who trained in fighting units and learn military tactics.  Peter formulated a plan for a great navy and that's what he got.  He also used his army to attack Sweden and ended with huge victory.  Peter loves having power and limited the power of nobility and church officials.  He taxes nobleman and reduces power of nobility by opening it to newcomers (people who served in civil service and obtained high rank, or sailors and soldiers who became officers), and they gained the standing and privileges of heredity nobles.  Peter also has no problem with making laws and dispensing justice.  He uses torture chambers and has deaths by floggings and burning of victims.  He also uses torture  to get information out of people.  His son was a victim of this torturing.  Peter's son ran away, and Peter announced that if he returned, he would not be punished.  This was not true, and when his son returned, he was tortured until he finally told his father who helped him escape.  This was all part of an elaborate plan Peter had.  One last law Peter made was the increase of taxes, which definitely shows the authority of an absolute monarch.  Peter's favorite part of being an absolute monarch is most likely how he amasses wealth and uses it to display power.  In the beginning of his time being an absolute monarch, Peter took the opportunity to go sailing on the White Sea and form the "Drunken Council of Fools".  He later toured other parts of Europe, traveling through cities, looking at the life in his neighboring cities.  Well into his reign, Peter ordered many buildings to be constructed and a new city St. Petersburg to be founded.  This city was named after him, and Peter later moved the government to St. Petersburg and made that city the new capital.  With Peter's great wealth, he could do whatever he wanted.  Peter I ("The Great") of Russia was definitely an absolute monarch and would be perfect for the job of ruler of Absolutopia.
     I believe that Peter I ("The Great") of Russia would be the right fit for the job in Absolutopia.  He is a good candidate for the job because his characteristic fits the job of an absolute monarch and the way he rules fits under many of the features of absolutism.  The features he follows are having a powerful army, limiting power of nobility and church officials, making laws and dispensing justice and amassing wealth and using it to display power.  Electing Peter I ("The Great") of Russia for absolute monarch of Absolutopia would be an excellent decision.
Olivia Sahagian