Currently I am learning about Absolutists and Enlightened rulers. Our class always has an essential question we are trying to answer for each lesson. In this lesson we were trying to decide if Enlightened Absolute monarchs were more enlightened or more absolute. In order to answer this question our teacher gave us notes that we copied into our Evernote and discussed. Then we individually read a page in our textbooks that explained what Frederick the Great, Catherine the great, and Joseph II did as monarchs. With this information from the textbook we made a Venn diagram. In one circle we put actions that represented the Absolutists acts that the ruler did and then in the second circle we put Enlightened acts that the ruler did. Then where they intersected we put things that the ruler did that could be considered absolutist and enlightened. After we completed the Venn diagram we chose one of the ruler to focus on and formed a propaganda poster. This poster is used to persuade people to join the ruler by using only good things that they did, so I chose Joseph II and used one of his enlightened acts because the absolutists acts are all negative. Through this lesson we were able to form a better understanding of how the monarchs were persuaded by Absolutists and Enlightened ideas.
An Enlightened monarch is defined as someone who has or shows a rational, modern, and well-informed outlook. Monarch started to rule as enlightened in the 1600s because people were getting fed up with the lavish lifestyles and the costly wars of absolute monarch. An absolute monarch is a ruler with absolute authority which means they have complete control over the citizens of a country. Philosophers and scholars started to realize that reforms needed to happen, so they thought that it would be best if the reforms came from enlightened, benevolent monarchs. Benevolent monarchs are well meaning and kindly which is why enlightened rulers are more for the people then selfish like absolutists. Enlightened rulers are focused on giving power to the people rather then to themselves.
Joseph II was the holy roman emperor from 1765 to 1790, and he was at first co ruling with his mother, Maria Theresa from 1765 to 1780 and then ruled Austrian Habsburg dominions from 1780 to 1790. This propaganda poster "plays up" Joseph's enlightened act of granting tolerance to Protestant and Jews even though he was Christian. This poster shows enlightenment by having the three religions but saying that they are all Austrians and are the same. The pictures on the poster show that Joseph II joined the three religions together in his own way. However Joseph II was not all about good deeds. He also did somethings that would be considered him as being an absolute ruler. Something he did was that he ended censorship. This was not for the best of the people so it was not an act of enlightenment. He also sold the property of monetarists and convents however he did it so he could build hospitals. Joseph II was a more enlightened ruler then Catherine or Fredrick the Great. Joseph II was rightfully called an enlightened monarch.