A Hohenzollern, Frederick William

Frederick William, a ruler from the Hohenzollern family, inherited Brandenburg and Prussia and was given the name, “The Great Elector.”  He ruled this territory from the years 1640 to 1688.

Frederick William established the first standing army (a large one too) to protect his lands even if they weren’t in war.  To have a large army on hand Frederick had to have lots of tax money to be able to pay for it.  He was able to make a deal with the Junkers (pronounced, yoo-ng-kuh-rs), young noblemen, so that they would vote for more taxes in exchange for peasants to become serfs.  With such a large army behind him he would be able to pass tax laws much more easily.  At one point, a nobleman who spoke against his tax concept was kidnapped, tortured, and executed in 1669.  This was a major violation of Prussian law.

Though, Frederick was more tolerant with religious concepts.  He welcomed Protestants who were seeking religious freedom from the Holy Roman Empire.

He also made himself King when he won a war after he had joined forces with Leopold I (emperor of the Holy Roman Empire) during the Spanish Succession, making himself Frederick I.

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