Who were the Prussian soldiers

What were the Prussian reforms?

The reforms

The liberation of the peasants

In 1799, in Prussia, the peasants who cultivated the king's land were given freedom. All other farmers were then exempted from inheritance in 1807. Associated with this was freedom of choice for all citizens of the country. A previous farmer could now move into the city and work there. That wasn't possible before. A farmer no longer needed the consent of his landlord to marry as before.

However, the personal freedom of the farmers did not lead to their owning the farms they managed. From 1811 it was then possible for the farmers to also acquire the land. Those who could not raise the money had to give part of their land to the landlord as compensation.

However, this meant that the land of the large landowners became ever larger and that of the peasants smaller and smaller. Many farmers were so indebted that they had to give the rest of their land to the landlord and thus became land workers without possessions.

Administrative reform

Prussia now became a unified state. Ministries have been set up for home affairs, finance, foreign policy, war and justice. The king's old cabinet, which had existed alongside the ministries, was abolished. The ministers had a strong position. Administration was centralized by dividing the state into provinces, administrative districts and counties.

The courts of the landlords (patrimonial courts), which until then existed alongside the state courts, were abolished. The police rights of the landlords were also restricted by creating a state police force that was organized militarily (gendarmerie).

City regulations (self-government of the cities)

The cities should be administered themselves, so no longer by the state, but by the citizens themselves. They elected city councilors, who in turn elected the city's magistrate. The mayor was elected from this group.

Freedom of trade

The medieval guild obligation was abolished in 1811 and thus the freedom of trade was introduced. Now everyone was free to choose their profession. This promoted competition and thus the economy. The freedom of trade therefore contributed significantly to the Prussian economy growing. However, it also happened that certain trades were represented too often. So there was z. B. soon too many tailors, weavers or carpenters who then became impoverished.

Emancipation of the Jews

With the Jewish edict of 1812, Jews living in Prussia became Prussian citizens. This gave them the same civil rights and duties as other citizens. They were guaranteed the freedom to practice their religion.

As early as the Middle Ages, Jews were disadvantaged and marginalized. Now the ideas of the Enlightenment and the ideal of the equality of all people also had an impact on Jews living in Prussia.

Army reform

The defeat in the war of 1806 clearly showed that the old Prussian army was no longer up to date and lagged far behind the French organization. So a new strong army should be created. Three generals took care of the implementation of the reform: Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Clausewitz.

The army should be more flexible in tactics. Dishonorable punishments such as flogging and running the gauntlet have been abolished. Even commoners could now embark on an officer career. The military leadership was trained in the new Prussian War Academy. In 1814 compulsory military service was introduced.

Educational reform

The educational reform was mainly carried out by Wilhelm von Humboldt. The state received supervision over all schools. Compulsory schooling was enforced more strictly. All children first attended elementary school; there was a grammar school for higher education. Achievement became more important than origin and status. At universities, there was freedom of teaching and research.