Austria, Prussia, and Russia Rise to Power
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In the eighteenth-century Europe was undergoing many changes in power as well as changes in ideals. The country of Europe was going through a time of enlightenment, revolutions, and wars. Central and eastern Europe was also going through changes; there were a set of new powers that began to rise. Austria, Prussia, and Russia were joining the ranks of other strong European countries due to the fact that they were all beginning to build powerful nations. There were important figures in all three countries that led them in the rise to power.

Maria Theresa played a major role in Austrias gain of power because unlike Russia and Prussia, Austria had once been a powerful nation. Maria Theresa was the only female ruler through out the 650 year history of the Habsburg reign in Austria. In order to make Austria powerful she strengthened the army by doubling the number of troops. She also reorganized the tax structure by centralizing an office to assist in the collection so that they can afford to maintain their army and government.

Joseph II also helped in the path towards power for Austria. Joseph II removed many tariffs and also encouraged the building of roads and improvements of river transportation. He wanted to expand his boarders in order to gain more land. Joseph II instituted the judicial system in Austria as well. Joseph was a very stern leader but he only wanted the best for his people. Furthermore, he also passed and act stating that all land owners must pay taxes. Towards the end of his reign he was encountered by aristocratic and peasant rebellions.

In 1685-1725 Peter the Great was the important figure that led to Russias rise in power. Peter became the emperor of Russia in 1685. Peter was the one who caused the Northern War against Sweden in 1700. This war went on for twenty-one years. The Russians defeated the Swedish and were able to take over the land on the Baltic Coast. This leads to the building of the Russian fleet. Furthermore, Russia gained access to European trade through their victory. This was a major factor for which Russia was able to rise to power. After the Northern war Russia was recognized by the rest of Europe an empire with much power.

Another major influence on Russias rise to power was Catherine the Great. She became the empress of Russia in 1762 after the death of Peter III. Catherine was believed to have something to do with the murder of her husband. Catherine felt that Russia was in great need of reforms in order to make Russia a European power. She was an absolutist who had ideas similar to those of enlightened thinkers. In 1785, Catherine issued the charter of the nobility. This charter gave more power and rights to the Russian nobility. This was a great move to get the nobility on her side in order to continue as the empress of Russia. She also focused on the middle class so that she would be able to improve the economy. Her main idea in

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