Frederick the Great and his Father
Frederick II, later known as Frederick the Great, was born on January 24, 1712. He was born to the powerful Prussian monarch King Frederick William I and his wife Princess Dorothea of Hanover. Frederick II, was born destined to become a powerful military leader. In his early childhood, Frederick II hated the life of a soldier. His father was very strict in all aspects of Frederick’s life. He insisted in a strict military education for his son. Frederick was simply not interested in a military lifestyle as a child. He was more interested in the arts, literature and music. These obsessions bothered King Frederick. He forbade Frederick’s tutors from teaching the young Prince Latin, but Frederick took it upon himself to study the classics and Latin on his own in secret.
As Frederick became older the treatment by his father grew worse. Fredericks mother and sister Wilhelmina took the side of Frederick. This further enraged the king who was solely concerned with the state of Prussia. Frederick’s father seemed to be concerned that his son, who had little care for military or politics, would some day become the king of Prussia and squander all that his father had built. These concerns turned into physical abuse that sometimes became public. These abuses got so bad that one time the king beat his son in public with a cane.
When Frederick was 18 years old, he tried to flee Prussia and the tyranny of his cruel and evil father. Frederick was captured just before he reached the border. His penalty for this stunt was a period of time in solitary confinement. From a window in his jail cell he watched his best friend, who had accompanied him on his journey out of the country, be executed. The king for a period considered executing his son on charges of being a military deserter. During the time Frederick spent in solitary confinement, he became a changed man. He became ruthless and crafty and decided to start training himself to succeed his father. When Frederick was released from solitary confinement his father began giving him more and more responsibilities when it came to ruling the state of Prussia. In 1773, Frederick married Elizabeth Christina, daughter of the duke of Brunswick-Bevern. This wedding was arranged and set up by Frederick’s father.
At the age of 28, it was finally Frederick’s turn to take the throne and assume the responsibilities of ruler of Prussia. Frederick would rule for 46 years, from 1740 to 1786. Frederick spent the first half of his reign engaging Prussia in warfare and proving to the people of Europe that there was no soldier that was his equal. The second half of his reign Frederick devoted his effort to peace and recovery. It was Fredericks military genius throughout the first half of his reign that won him the title “The Great.”
Frederick the Great died on August 17, 1786. This turned out to be the night before the start of the French Revolution. The French Revolution turned out to be an event that greatly affected the power of the king in England for the rest of time. Thus Frederick was the last great absolute monarch in West Europe.
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