ABSOLUTISM AND ITS LIMITS.
THE MONARCHY AND THE NOBILITY IN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY PRUSSIA
Dmitrii V. Sterkhov
N. I. Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University
This article contributes to the ongoing debate about absolutism. Its primary focus is the relationship between the Hohenzollern monarchs and the Prussian nobility in the eighteenth century in terms of absolutism theory. It considers three major factors that set limits on the absolutist intentions of Prussian kings, and identifies regionalism as one of the most important factors. Secondly, it addresses the Prussian military system, which guaranteed the Prussian nobility the leading position in society, while emphasizing that this cannot be viewed entirely as a compromise between the Prussian aristocracy and the crown. Thirdly, it notes that the Prussian nobility never lost its representative rights and privileges. The political and social activity of the Prussian Junkers was centered in minor representative organs such as standing commissions, committees, and credit institutions. While the Prussian example does not invalidate the theory of absolutism, it helps to redefine this concept for Prussian and, by extension, European history.
Keywords: absolutism, Prussia, the House of Hohenzollern, regionalism, Frederick II, enlightened absolutism, nobility, cantonal system, representative organs, Seven Years’ War.