Frederick William IV of Prussia

Last updated

Frederick William IV
Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia (1847).jpg
King of Prussia
Reign7 June 1840 2 January 1861
Predecessor Frederick William III
Successor Wilhelm I
President of the Erfurt Union
Born15 October 1795
Kronprinzenpalais, Berlin, Kingdom of Prussia
Died2 January 1861 (aged 65)
Potsdam, Kingdom of Prussia
Burial
Crypt of the Friedenskirche, Sanssouci Park, Potsdam [1] (Heart in the Mausoleum at Charlottenburg Palace, Berlin) [2]
Spouse Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria
House Hohenzollern
Father Frederick William III of Prussia
Mother Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Religion Lutheranism (Prussian United)
Signature FrederickIVofPrussiaSignature.svg
Prussian Royalty
House of Hohenzollern
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Prussia 1873-1918.svg
Frederick William III
Children
Frederick William IV
William I
Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia
Princess Frederica
Prince Charles of Prussia
Alexandrine, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg
Prince Ferdinand
Princess Louise
Prince Albert of Prussia
Frederick William IV

Frederick William IV (German : Friedrich Wilhelm IV.; 15 October 1795 [3]  2 January 1861), the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. Also referred to as the "romanticist on the throne", he is best remembered for the many buildings he had constructed in Berlin and Potsdam, as well as for the completion of the Gothic Cologne Cathedral. In politics, he was a conservative, and in 1849 rejected the title of Emperor of the Germans offered by the Frankfurt Parliament as not the Parliament's to give. In 1857, he suffered a stroke and was left incapacitated until his death. His brother (and heir-presumptive) Wilhelm served as regent for the rest of his reign and then succeeded him as King.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages that are most similar to the German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Frederick William III of Prussia King of Prussia

Frederick William III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. He ruled Prussia during the difficult times of the Napoleonic Wars and the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Steering a careful course between France and her enemies, after a major military defeat in 1806, he eventually and reluctantly joined the coalition against Napoleon in the Befreiungskriege. Following Napoleon's defeat, he was King of Prussia during the Congress of Vienna, which assembled to settle the political questions arising from the new, post-Napoleonic order in Europe. He was determined to unify the Protestant churches, to homogenize their liturgy, their organization, and even their architecture. The long-term goal was to have fully centralized royal control of all the Protestant churches in the Prussian Union of Churches.

Prussia state in Central Europe between 1525–1947

Prussia was a historically prominent German state that originated in 1525 with a duchy centred on the region of Prussia on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. It was de facto dissolved by an emergency decree transferring powers of the Prussian government to German Chancellor Franz von Papen in 1932 and de jure by an Allied decree in 1947. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organised and effective army. Prussia, with its capital first in Königsberg and then, in 1701, in Berlin, decisively shaped the history of Germany.

Contents

Early life

Born to Frederick William III by his wife Queen Louise, he was her favourite son. [3] Frederick William was educated by private tutors, many of whom were experienced civil servants, such as Friedrich Ancillon. [3] He also gained military experience by serving in the Prussian Army during the War of Liberation against Napoleon in 1814, although he was an indifferent soldier. He was a draftsman interested in both architecture and landscape gardening and was a patron of several great German artists, including architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and composer Felix Mendelssohn. In 1823 he married Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria. Since she was a Roman Catholic, the preparations for this marriage included difficult negotiations which ended with her conversion to Lutheranism. There were two wedding ceremonies—one in Munich, and another in Berlin. The couple had a very harmonious marriage, but it remained childless. [4]

Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of Prussia

Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was Queen of Prussia as the wife of King Frederick William III. The couple's happy, though short-lived, marriage produced nine children, including the future monarchs Frederick William IV of Prussia and German Emperor Wilhelm I.

Friedrich Ancillon historian,statesman

Johann Peter Friedrich Ancillon was a Prussian historian and statesman.

Prussian Army 1701-1871 land warfare branch of Prussias military, primary component and predecessor of the German Army to 1919

The Royal Prussian Army served as the army of the Kingdom of Prussia. It became vital to the development of Brandenburg-Prussia as a European power.

Frederick William was a staunch Romanticist, and his devotion to this movement, which in the German States featured nostalgia for the Middle Ages, was largely responsible for his developing into a conservative at an early age. In 1815, when he was only twenty, the crown prince exerted his influence to structure the proposed new constitution of 1815, which was never actually enacted, in such a way that the landed aristocracy would hold the greatest power. He was firmly against the liberalization of Germany and only aspired to unify its many states within what he viewed as a historically legitimate framework, inspired by the ancient laws and customs of the recently dissolved Holy Roman Empire. Frederick William opposed the idea of a unified German state, believing that Austria was divinely ordained to rule over Germany,[ citation needed ] and contented himself with the title of "Grand General of the Realm".

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Landed nobility or landed aristocracy is a category of nobility in various countries over the history, for which landownership was part of their noble privileges. Their character depends on the country.

Reign

Frederick William became King of Prussia on the death of his father in 1840. Through a personal union, he also became the sovereign prince of the Principality of Neuchâtel (1840–1857), today part of Switzerland. In 1842, he gave his father's menagerie at Pfaueninsel to the new Berlin Zoo, which opened its gates in 1844 as the first of its kind in Germany. Other projects during his reign—often involving his close collaboration with the architects—included the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and the Neues Museum in Berlin, the Orangerieschloss at Potsdam as well as the reconstruction of Schloss Stolzenfels on the Rhine (Prussian since 1815) and Burg Hohenzollern, in the ancestral homelands of the dynasty which became part of Prussia in 1850. [4] He also enlarged and redecorated his father's Erdmannsdorf manor house.

A personal union is the combination of two or more states that have the same monarch while their boundaries, laws, and interests remain distinct. A real union, by contrast, would involve the constituent states being to some extent interlinked, such as by sharing some limited governmental institutions. In a federation and a unitary state, a central (federal) government spanning all member states exists, with the degree of self-governance distinguishing the two. The ruler in a personal union does not need to be a hereditary monarch.

Menagerie form of keeping common and exotic animals in captivity that preceded the modern zoological garden

A menagerie is a collection of captive animals, frequently exotic, kept for display; or the place where such a collection is kept, a precursor to the modern zoological garden.

Pfaueninsel island (landscape garden and nature reserve) in the River Havel in Berlin, Germany

Pfaueninsel  is an island in the River Havel situated in Berlin-Wannsee, in the district of Steglitz-Zehlendorf in southwestern Berlin, near the border with Potsdam in Brandenburg. The island is part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for day-trippers. Pfaueninsel is also a nature reserve in accordance with the EU Habitats Directive and a Special Protection Area for wild birds.

Although a staunch conservative, Frederick William did not seek to be a despot, and so he toned down the reactionary policies pursued by his father, easing press censorship and promising to enact a constitution at some point, but he refused to create an elected legislative assembly, preferring to work with the nobility through "united committees" of the provincial estates. Despite being a devout Lutheran, his Romantic leanings led him to settle the Cologne church conflict by releasing the imprisoned Clemens August von Droste-Vischering, the Archbishop of Cologne. He also patronized further construction of Cologne Cathedral, Cologne having become part of Prussia in 1815. In 1844, he attended the celebrations marking the completion of the cathedral, becoming the first King of Prussia to enter a Roman Catholic house of worship. When he finally called a national assembly in 1847, it was not a representative body, but rather a United Diet comprising all the provincial estates, which had the right to levy taxes and take out loans, but no right to meet at regular intervals.

Cologne City in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Cologne is the largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. With slightly over a million inhabitants within its city boundaries, Cologne is the largest city on the Rhine and also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany's largest and one of Europe's major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometres (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia's capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometres (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.

Clemens August von Droste-Vischering Catholic bishop

Baron Clemens August von Droste zu Vischering, German Clemens August Freiherr von Droste zu Vischering was an Archbishop of Cologne. His clashes with the Prussian government personified the conflict relationship between the Catholic Church and the Prussian-Protestant state power in the 19th century Germany.

Archbishop of Cologne Wikimedia list article

The Archbishop of Cologne is an archbishop representing the Archdiocese of Cologne of the Catholic Church in western North Rhine-Westphalia and northern Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany and was ex officio one of the electors of the Holy Roman Empire, the Elector of Cologne, from 1356 to 1801.

Silver Coin of Frederick William IV, struck 1860
Frederick William IV of Prussia.jpg
Obverse (German): FRIEDR[ICH] WILHELM IV KOENIG V PREUSSEN, or in English, "Frederick William IV, King of Prussia"Reverse (German): EIN VEREINSTHALER XXX EIN PFUND FEIN 1860, or in English, "One Double Thaler 30 to the Fine Pound"

When revolution broke out in Prussia in March 1848, part of the larger series of Revolutions of 1848, the king initially moved to repress it with the army, but on 19 March he decided to recall the troops and place himself at the head of the movement. He committed himself to German unification, formed a liberal government, convened a national assembly, and ordered that a constitution be drawn up. Once his position was more secure again, however, he quickly had the army reoccupy Berlin and in December dissolved the assembly. He did, however, remain dedicated to unification for a time, leading the Frankfurt Parliament to offer him the crown of Germany on 3 April 1849, which he refused, purportedly saying that he would not accept "a crown from the gutter". The King's refusal was rooted in his Romantic aspiration to re-establish the medieval Holy Roman Empire, comprising smaller, semi-sovereign monarchies under the limited authority of a Habsburg emperor. Therefore, Frederick William would only accept the imperial crown after being elected by the German princes, as per the former empire's ancient customs. [5] He expressed this sentiment in a letter to his sister the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia, in which he said the Frankfurt Parliament had overlooked that "in order to give, you would first of all have to be in possession of something that can be given." [6] In the king's eyes, only a reconstituted College of Electors could possess such authority. [7] With the failed attempt by the Frankfurt Parliament to include the Habsburgs in a newly unified German Empire, the Parliament turned to Prussia. Seeing Austrian ambivalence towards Prussia taking a more powerful role in German affairs, Frederick William began considering a Prussian-led union. All German states, excluding those of the Habsburgs, would be unified under Hohenzollern authority, and these two polities would be linked in an overarching political framework. [8] Frederick William, therefore, did attempt to establish the Erfurt Union, a union of the German states except for Austria, but abandoned the idea by the Punctation of Olmütz on 29 November 1850, in the face of renewed Austrian and Russian resistance. The German Confederation remained the common government of German Europe.

The crypt containing the Sarcophagi of Frederick William IV and his wife Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria in the Church of Peace, Sanssouci Park in Potsdam Friedenskirche potsdam sarkophag2.jpg
The crypt containing the Sarcophagi of Frederick William IV and his wife Elisabeth Ludovika of Bavaria in the Church of Peace, Sanssouci Park in Potsdam

Rather than returning to bureaucratic rule after dismissing the Prussian National Assembly, Frederick William promulgated a new constitution that created a Parliament of Prussia with two chambers, an aristocratic upper house and an elected lower house. The lower house was elected by all taxpayers, but in a three-tiered system based on the amount of taxes paid, so that true universal suffrage was denied. The constitution also reserved to the king the power of appointing all ministers, re-established the conservative district assemblies and provincial diets, and guaranteed that the civil service and the military remained firmly under control of the king. This was a more liberal system than had existed in Prussia before 1848, but it was still a conservative system of government in which the monarch, the aristocracy, and the military retained most of the power. This constitution remained in effect until the dissolution of the Prussian kingdom in 1918.

Later years and death

Following the revolutions of 1848, the increasingly gloomy king withdrew from the public eye, surrounding himself with advisers who preached absolute orthodoxy and conservatism in religious and political matters. A stroke in 1857 left the king partially paralyzed and largely mentally incapacitated, and his brother (and heir-presumptive) William served as regent from 1858 until the king's death in 1861, at which point the regent acceded to the throne as William I of Prussia.

Frederick William IV is interred with his wife in the crypt underneath the Church of Peace in the park of Sanssouci, at Potsdam. [4]

Religion

He was a Lutheran member of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia, a United Protestant denomination that brought together Reformed and Lutheran believers.

Honours

German decorations [9]

Ancestry

See also

Notes

  1. Dorgerloh, Hartmut, ed. (18 August 2011). "Palaces and Gardens in Potsdam: 18-Church of Peace". Palaces and Gardens (PDF). Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg. p. 4. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 October 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2012. The Church of Peace was built from 1845– 54, based upon Italian models. King Frederick William IV and Queen Elisabeth were laid to rest here.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg, (Hartmut Dorgerloh, ed) (1992–2012). "König Friedrich Wilhelm IV". Potsdam, Brandenburg, Germany: Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kultur des Landes Brandenburg. Retrieved 10 January 2012. Begräbnisstätte: Friedenskirche im Park von Sanssouci; das Herz im Mausoleum im Park von Schloss Charlottenburg in Berlin[ permanent dead link ]
  3. 1 2 3 Koch 2014, p. 227.
  4. 1 2 3 Feldhahn, Ulrich (2011). Die preußischen Könige und Kaiser (German). Kunstverlag Josef Fink, Lindenberg. pp. 21–23. ISBN   978-3-89870-615-5.
  5. Clark, Christopher (2006). Iron Kingdom: The Rise and Downfall of Prussia, 1600-1947. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 490.
  6. Ibid. p. 494.
  7. Ibid. p. 490.
  8. Ibid. 495.
  9. Königlich Preußischer Staats-Kalender für das Jahr 1859, Genealogy p.1
  10. Le livre d'or de l'ordre de Léopold et de la croix de fer, Volume 1 /Ferdinand Veldekens

Related Research Articles

House of Hohenzollern dynasty of former princes, electors, kings, and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania

The House of Hohenzollern is a German dynasty whose members were variously princes, electors, kings and emperors of Hohenzollern, Brandenburg, Prussia, the German Empire, and Romania. The family arose in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century and took their name from Hohenzollern Castle. The first ancestors of the Hohenzollerns were mentioned in 1061.

William I, German Emperor 19th-century German Emperor and King of Prussia

William I, of the House of Hohenzollern, was King of Prussia from 2 January 1861 and the first German Emperor from 18 January 1871 to his death, the first Head of State of a united Germany. Under the leadership of William and his Minister President Otto von Bismarck, Prussia achieved the unification of Germany and the establishment of the German Empire. Despite his long support of Bismarck as Minister President, William held strong reservations about some of Bismarck's more reactionary policies, including his anti-Catholicism and tough handling of subordinates. In contrast to the domineering Bismarck, William was described as polite, gentlemanly and, while staunchly conservative, more open to certain classical liberal ideas than his grandson Wilhelm II.

Duchy of Prussia historical german state

The Duchy of Prussia or Ducal Prussia was a duchy in the region of Prussia established as a result of secularization of the State of the Teutonic Order during the Protestant Reformation in 1525.

Brandenburg-Prussia Former country

Brandenburg-Prussia is the historiographic denomination for the Early Modern realm of the Brandenburgian Hohenzollerns between 1618 and 1701. Based in the Electorate of Brandenburg, the main branch of the Hohenzollern intermarried with the branch ruling the Duchy of Prussia, and secured succession upon the latter's extinction in the male line in 1618. Another consequence of the intermarriage was the incorporation of the lower Rhenish principalities of Cleves, Mark and Ravensberg after the Treaty of Xanten in 1614.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Provinces of Prussia province of the state of Prussia

The Provinces of Prussia were the main administrative divisions of Prussia from 1815 to 1946. Prussia's province system was introduced in the Stein-Hardenberg Reforms in 1815, and were mostly organized from duchies and historical regions. Provinces were divided into several Regierungsbezirke, sub-divided into Kreise (districts), and then into Gemeinden (townships) at the lowest-level. Provinces constituted the highest level of administration in the Kingdom of Prussia and Free State of Prussia until 1933, when Nazi Germany established de facto direct rule over provincial politics, and were formally abolished in 1946 following World War II. The Prussian provinces became the basis for many federal states of Germany, and the states of Brandenburg, Lower Saxony, and Schleswig-Holstein are direct successors of provinces.

King in Prussia King of the Prussian state

King in Prussia was a title used by the prussian kings from 1701 to 1772. Subsequently, they used the title King of Prussia.

Order of the Black Eagle highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia

The Order of the Black Eagle was the highest order of chivalry in the Kingdom of Prussia. The order was founded on 17 January 1701 by Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg. In his Dutch exile after World War I, deposed Emperor Wilhelm II continued to award the order to his family. He made his second wife, Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz, a Lady in the Order of the Black Eagle.

Erfurt Union Prussian initiative to unify Germany, 1849/1850

The Erfurt Union was a short-lived union of German states under a federation, proposed by the Kingdom of Prussia at Erfurt, for which the Erfurt Union Parliament, lasting from March 20 to April 29, 1850, was opened at the former Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The union never came into effect, and was seriously undermined in the Punctation of Olmütz under immense pressure from the Austrian Empire.

The Constitution of Prussia was adopted on 31 January 1850, and amended in the following years. This constitution was far less liberal than the federal constitution of the German Empire.

German Emperor Head of state of Germany 1871–1918

The German Emperor was the official title of the head of state and hereditary ruler of the German Empire. A specifically chosen term, it was introduced with the 1 January 1871 constitution and lasted until the official abdication of Wilhelm II on 28 November 1918. The Holy Roman Emperor is sometimes also called "German Emperor" when the historical context is clear, as derived from the Holy Roman Empire's official name of "Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" from 1512.

Province of Brandenburg province of Prussia, Germany

The Province of Brandenburg was a province of Prussia from 1815 to 1945. Brandenburg was established in 1815 from the Kingdom of Prussia's core territory, comprised the bulk of the historic Margraviate of Brandenburg and the Lower Lusatia region, and became part of the German Empire in 1871. From 1918, Brandenburg was a province of the Free State of Prussia until it was dissolved in 1945 after World War II, and replaced with reduced territory as the State of Brandenburg in East Germany, which was later dissolved in 1952. Following the reunification of Germany in 1990, Brandenburg was re-established as a federal state of Germany, becoming one of the new states.

The state of Prussia developed from the State of the Teutonic Order. The original flag of the Teutonic Knights had been a black cross on a white flag. Emperor Frederick II in 1229 granted them the right to use the black Eagle of the Holy Roman Empire. This "Prussian Eagle" remained the coats of arms of the successive Prussian states until 1947.

Margraviate of Brandenburg major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806

The Margraviate of Brandenburg was a major principality of the Holy Roman Empire from 1157 to 1806 that played a pivotal role in the history of Germany and Central Europe.

Rudolf von Auerswald Prussian politician

Rudolf Ludwig Cäsar von Auerswald was a German official who served as Prime Minister of Prussia during the Revolution of 1848. Later, during the ministry of Charles Anthony, Prince of Hohenzollern, he led the government in all but name.

The German Emperors after 1873 had a variety of titles and coats of arms, which in various compositions became the officially used titles and coats of arms. The title and coat of arms were last fixed in 1873, but the titles did not necessarily mean that the area was really dominated, and sometimes even several princes bore the same title.

References

Frederick William IV of Prussia
Born: 15 October 1795 Died: 2 January 1861
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick William III
King of Prussia
7 June 1840 2 January 1861
Succeeded by
William I
Grand Duke of Posen
7 June 1840 5 December 1848
Annexed to Prussia
Prince of Neuchâtel
7 June 1840 1857
Neuchâtel Crisis