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Frederick was an absolute ruler, but he considered himself the first servant of his state. Prussia was underdeveloped in industry and trade. There was no navy, no raw materials and no regions suitable for mining. Over many years the people had become accustomed that the sovereign made all decisions for them. If Frederick wanted to drive his still backward state forward, he could only count on himself to do so. One of his aims was to improve the living conditions of the peasant farmers. He tried to implement reforms in 1748, but was opposed by the entire Prussian nobility. The land owners were depending on the peasants to work the land. But Frederick was more successful in lower Silesia, where he was able to change the work conditions of the peasants for the better. All 46 years of his reign he was at odds with the Junkers, or land squires, trying the improve the lot of their servants. Frederick saw in the aristocracy the foundation of the state. The Junkers provided the state with civil servants and officers for the military. The third class of this society lived in the cities, where the tradesmen were producing the goods which would benefit the state by internal use and foreign trade. A mayor of a city was appointed by the king, and all administrative personnel was paid by the state. A gentleman of the gentry was usually the overseer of the villages, while in the cities royal counselors belonged mostly to the law professions. We can not deny that Frederick raised the moral of the working population of Prussia by his tireless personal example of hard work. He expected common sense, obedience, and every man to do his duty.

Frederick had achieved independence from the judicial systems of the Greater German Reich, which had been at that time totally corrupt. He looked closely into jurisprudence and the administration of justice for his state, and he was able to make Prussia the first country on the European continent were the people were treated fair and just under the law. The courts of Prussia were independent, but they operated under the watchful eye of the King, who saw himself as the defender of the poor. He counseled consideration of social situations and the adaptation of humane methods of punishment.


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