The German Territories, <i>c</i>.1648–<i>c</i>.1760

Joachim Whaley

in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199693078
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732256 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of Early Modern Europe

The German Territories, c.1648–c.1760

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This section argues that absolutism is an inappropriate label to attach to the German territories. Government activity expanded in the face of the need for reconstruction after 1648 and new ideas about the nature of government developed in the early Aufklärung (German Enlightenment). Conditions varied between Austria and Brandenburg-Prussia and smaller counties, knights' territories and imperial cities. The period saw a renewal of the court as a central agency of government (manifested in the construction of new castles and palaces in the baroque style), the development of armies, new relationships between princes and their subjects, and developments in both government and private economic enterprise. Rulers sought to impose confessional uniformity and to control phenomena such as Catholic popular piety or Pietism (Spener) and Protestant revivalism. Ideas of religious toleration emerged, reacting against the confessional conflicts of the past, as well as new forms of territorial patriotism.

Keywords: Absolutism; government; Aufklärung; reconstruction; Austria; Brandenburg-Prussia; imperial counts; imperial knights; imperial cities; the court; palaces; baroque style; economic enterprise; peasantry; Catholic piety; Pietism; revivalism; religious toleration; territorial patriotism

Chapter.  78231 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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