Frederick William III

1770-1840, king of Prussia 1797-1840.

* * *

German Friedrich Wilhelm

born Aug. 3, 1770, Potsdam, Prussia
died June 7, 1840, Berlin

King of Prussia (1797–1840).

The son of Frederick William II, he pursued a policy of neutrality in the early years of the Napoleonic Wars, which accelerated the decline of Prussia's prestige. Prussia joined the third coalition against France in 1806 and suffered crushing defeat at the Battles of Jena and Auerstedt. Defeat convinced the king of the need to make decisive changes. He allowed Prussian statesmen such as Karl August, prince von Hardenberg, and Karl, imperial baron vom Stein, to make domestic reforms, though the state remained absolutist. The Congress of Vienna confirmed Prussia's acquisition of Westphalia and much of Saxony, but the last 25 years of the king's reign brought a downward trend in Prussia's fortunes.

* * *

▪ king of Prussia

born Aug. 3, 1770, Potsdam, Prussia
died June 7, 1840, Berlin

      king of Prussia from 1797, the son of Frederick William II. Neglected by his father, he never mastered his resultant inferiority complex, but the influence of his wife, Louisa of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, whom he married in 1793, occasionally moved him outside his essentially pedestrian character.

      His policy of neutrality in the Wars of the Second and Third Coalitions accelerated the decline of Prussia's prestige. Domestic reforms before the Battle of Jena foreshadowed later reforms without, however, altering the absolutist structure of the state. Until 1807 he clung to the traditional cabinet government, influenced by mediocre personages. After the military collapse of 1806–07 and the loss of all provinces west of the Elbe River, he finally realized that Prussia would have to make decisive changes. He therefore sanctioned the reforms proposed by Prussian statesmen such as Karl Stein and Karl von Hardenberg, but these amounted only to a reform of the higher bureaucracy, not of the royal prerogative. The King never lost his fear that reform might lead to “Jacobinism,” and he could not tolerate outstanding men as advisers. Through the War of Liberation (1813–15) he remained remote from his people's ardour, being always subservient to the Russian emperor Alexander I and in harmony with the Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich. In the crisis of the Vienna Congress (Vienna, Congress of) over the partition of Saxony, he sided with Alexander I, thus bringing Prussia to the brink of war against England, France, and Austria (January 1815). The final compromise allowed Prussia to acquire the Rhine province, Westphalia, and much of Saxony. In contrast to these territorial gains, the last 25 years of Frederick William's reign show a downward trend of Prussia's fortunes, to which his personal limitations largely contributed.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • FREDERICK-WILLIAM III —    king of Prussia from 1797 till 1840; incited by the queen and the commons he abandoned his position of neutrality towards Napoleon and declared war in 1806; defeat followed at Jena and in other battles, and by the treaty of Tilsit (1807)… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Frederick William III — /frɛdrɪk ˈwɪljəm/ (say fredrik wilyuhm) noun 1770–1840, king of Prussia 1797–1840 …   Australian English dictionary

  • Frederick William III — noun king of Prussia who became involved in the Napoleonic Wars (1770 1840) • Instance Hypernyms: ↑king, ↑male monarch, ↑Rex • Member Holonyms: ↑Hohenzollern * * * 1770 1840, king of Prussia 1797 1840 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Frederick William III of Prussia — Frederick William III ( de. Friedrich Wilhelm III., August 3 1770 ndash; June 7 1840) was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840.Early lifeThe son of King Frederick William II of Prussia, Frederick William was born in Potsdam and became Crown Prince… …   Wikipedia

  • FREDERICK WILLIAM° — (Ger. Friedrich Wilhelm), name of several kings of Prussia. FREDERICK WILLIAM III was king of Prussia from 1797 to 1840. The defeats in the Napoloenic Wars at Jena and Auerstädt and the peace treaty of Tilsit (1807) brought Prussia heavy… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Frederick William — 1. 1620 88; elector of Brandenburg (1640 88): called the Great Elector 2. Frederick William I 1688 1740; king of Prussia (1713 40) 3. Frederick William II 1744 97; king of Prussia (1786 97) 4. Frederick William III 1770 1840; king of Prussia… …   English World dictionary

  • Frederick William II of Prussia — Infobox Prussian Royalty|monarch name = Frederick William II title =King of Prussia; Elector of Brandenburg caption =Portrait by Anton Graff (1792) reign =1786 1797 coronation = predecessor =Frederick II successor =Frederick William III spouse… …   Wikipedia

  • Frederick William IV — 1795 1861, king of Prussia 1840 61 (brother of William I of Prussia). * * * German Friedrich Wilhelm born Oct. 15, 1795, Cölln, near Berlin, Prussia died Jan. 2, 1861, Potsdam King of Prussia (1840–61). The son of Frederick William III, he was a… …   Universalium

  • Frederick William — The name Frederick William usually refers to several monarchs of the Hohenzollern dynasty: *Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg (1620 1688) *Frederick William I (1688 1740), King of Prussia *Frederick William II (1744 1797), King of Prussia …   Wikipedia

  • Frederick William IV of Prussia — King Frederick William IV of Prussia (German: Friedrich Wilhelm IV von Preußen; October 15, 1795 January 2, 1861), the eldest son and successor of Frederick William III of Prussia, reigned as King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861. Life Frederick… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.