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Before Frederick took charge Prussia was not a country. It was broken into separate territories. France and England had become very powerful in the 1600's and Prussia felt endangered. Frederick's father Frederick the I was the elector of Prussia. When Frederick came to power his goal was to make Prussia a country. He believed that good government was rational but also authoritarian. Frederick was the first modern organizer. He put most of the country's wealth intro the military. He believed that the key to a country's wealth was through its military. 80% of Prussia's income went to the military. Prussia selected people for the military through the draft. Eventually Frederick died and left the kingdom to his son. Frederick the great was left with a 72,000 person military. This was a great deal of people for such a little country. Prussia only had 2,000,000 people.
Frederick the great believed that the idea of Prussian buacracy was that if you pay people well you would get loyalty. Frederick saw government as a contract with his people. Frederick was a very enlightened ruler. He believed that God had not chosen him to be Prussia's ruler. This was shocking because in Frederick's time kings were thought to be chosen from God. Frederick was enlightened in three ways. He didn't allow government officials to take money. He didn't allow his subjects to be tortured. Finally, he had religious toleration. Frederick found that it was time to expand Prussia into a great nation so he conducted a series of wars. These wars were called the Silesian Wars. Frederick started these wars for three reasons. The first reason was to show the rest of Europe how powerful Prussia was. The second reason was Frederick had an ambition to expand Prussia. The final reason was that silesia had over 1,000,000 people. This was half the size of his nation. More people meant more money for his army.
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Why did Prussia need Frederick the Great? Prussia needed someone that fights for the people. Prussia needed someone who cared about his subjects. Prussia all a long, had the talent to become a great nation. It just needed someone to give them a kick-start. Frederick was this person. Frederick put himself on his subject's level. This was revolutionary idea. I leave you with a quote from Frederick to sum everything up. Frederick said, "I am the first servant of the state."