Habsburg Emperor Joseph II tried to reform Austria into “ideal Enlightened state”. He abolished serfdom, removed restrictions against Jews, gave religious freedom to Protestants and Orthodox and tried to weaken power of Catholic church. But as soon he died all his reforms were abolished

Josephinism

“Josephists” redirects here. For the medieval heretics, see Josephines. For other uses, see Josephites.

Joseph II by Anton von Maron, 1775

Josephinism was the collective domestic policies of Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor (1765–1790). During the ten years in which Joseph was the sole ruler of the Habsburg Monarchy (1780–1790), he attempted to legislate a series of drastic reforms to remodel Austria in the form of what liberals saw as an ideal Enlightened state. This provoked severe resistance from powerful forces within and outside his empire, but ensured that he would be remembered as an “enlightened ruler” by historians from then to the present day.

Joseph II as co-regent

Born in 1741, Joseph was the son of Maria Theresa of… Continue Reading (7 minute read)

5 thoughts on “Habsburg Emperor Joseph II tried to reform Austria into “ideal Enlightened state”. He abolished serfdom, removed restrictions against Jews, gave religious freedom to Protestants and Orthodox and tried to weaken power of Catholic church. But as soon he died all his reforms were abolished”

  1. Uncle1724

    He was also big supporter of art and Mozart and very prominent in Amadeus movie (“Too many notes”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCud8H7z7vU

    Described as wildly ambitious and as expansionist despot wishing to expand power of Austria by foreign conquests. Frederick the Great described him “as man capable to put world on fire”

    Too strong resistance by nobility lead to failure of his reforms, totally broken at the end of his life (unfortunately for his sister Marie Antoinette who begged him to send army in France and save her family) he asked that his tombstone’s epitaph read “Here lies Joseph II, who failed in all he undertook”

  2. TipMeSomeBAT

    His stance on censorship was quite interesting:

    >In February 1781, Joseph issued an edict drastically reducing the power of state censorship over the press. Censorship was limited only to expression that (a) blasphemed against the church, (b) subverted the government, or (c) promoted immorality. Censorship was also taken out of the hands of local authorities and centralized under the Habsburg imperial government.

    >Joseph was remarkably tolerant of dissenting speech—his censors banned only about 900 tracts published each year (down from 4,000 a year banned before his reign). One tract that even criticized him specifically, titled “The 42 Year-Old Ape”, was not banned.

  3. 24736569420

    Sometimes you are too ahead of your time.

  4. DodGamnBunofaSitch

    isn’t he also the contemporary of Mozart? (aka, the emperor in Amadeus)? – the one characterized as a bit of a nincompoop? “too many notes” and “ah… well… there it is!”

  5. AdmiralTiberius

    Progress is rarely linear, and anything radical seems to be almost always reversed immediately even if it’s The way the winds are shifting.

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