Maria Theresa

Absolute Monarchy

by Ely

A form of government in which a single individual, often called a king or queen, exercises complete control over all aspects of government. The position of monarch in such a country is hereditary, with succession usually passing through the male line. Saudi Arabia and Bhutan are examples of absolute monarchies.…/absolute-monarchy.html

Absolute Monarchy and Divine Right

Based on the aforementioned definitions that changed the way governments are run, and based on the information on her biography, we can deduct that Maria Theresa's reign was an absolute monarchy. After she decided to not go with her experienced husband's ideas on how to reign, and took her father's suggestions instead, she saw that neither was a good choice. She then intelligently saw that she had to set her boundaries straight and let the people know just how great a ruler she could be. She had a lot of intelligence and guidance brought upon her by her deceased father and her husband, and she had a strong determination to make her country worthwhile. Maria Theresa showed to be an absolute monarch when she stepped up to the plate and protected her boundaries by fighting against Frederick II when he tried to take over Silesia, and still won it. She decreased the power of the nobility and limited the amount of labor that nobles could force peasants to do. She was truly a great leader.

-Betsy R.


Maria Theresa was a great woman who knew hot to lead a country. The following are some of her accomplishments during her reign:
-Mandatory education for children
- Maps of entire country to determine the amount of taxed to be payed from land
-Unified the currency, measures, weights, customs, taxes
-Unified the administration and transformation of the feudal bureaucracy
-Unified the Bohemian, Moravian, Hungarian government,under one ministry centralized in Vienna.
-Encouraged the free enterprise, that speed up industrialization of the state.
-Built system of roadways that were used throughout central Europe.
-Set up various government offices: (postal, transport, naval, notary.)
-Created a unified judicial code that we called Theresian.
-Created a professional army.
-Made German language the only acceptable language of communication.

-Luis R.

Maria Theresa's Reforms


  • Centralized decision making
  • Established schools to train future government officials Instituted a tax on the nobles
  • Required all elected officials (mayors, town counselors, etc.) to have their qualifications to hold office checked by the central government


  • Established gubernia to supervise town administration to curb the arbitrary and sometimes ruthless power of the local nobility and to create uniform laws throughout the Empire
  • Prohibited local magistrates and liege lords from trying capital cases
  • Reduced the number of courts which had jurisdiction in each area to one
  • Abolished the use of torture to extract a confession, although the role of magistrate as judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney remained


  • Restricted power of the guilds
  • Abolished internal customs duties and private and public tolls
  • Encouraged immigration with a temporary tax exemption, freedom from military service for the sons of immigrants, free building materials, and premiums for agricultural improvements
  • Improved roads, navigation, and ports
  • Encouraged private enterprise over state industry


  • Instituted a tax on the Catholic Church
  • Forbid the Catholic Church from sending money to Rome
  • Prohibited visitation by apostolic delegations to the regular dioceses, specifically the inspection of monasteries by generals or their representatives of established religious orders
  • Dissolved the Jesuit order
  • Required government approval for any land purchases by the church
  • Restricted number of feast days
  • Instituted some religious freedom to Protestants


  • Established military training schools
  • Abolished right of towns to control their own defense

Rural Life

  • Created a system of obligatory, state supported public primary education for all male peasants, secondary education for selected students, and teacher training institutions
  • Substantially decreased the obligations of the peasants toward the local nobility
  • Endowed the peasant with the status of a free tenant - the peasant could move from place to place, marry without the lord's consent, and choose his own occupation
  • Restricted power of local nobles to sit on local courts
  • Standardized the fees landlords could impose

Erialbania Lopez

Divine Right is the doctrine which sovereigns use to back up their right to rule for according to them God himself has appointed them to reign. This ascendancy is passed down generations through that ruler's ancestors. On account of the fact that such a monarch was responsible not to his subjects, but the almighty God, failure to follow orders or resisting his majesty at all was a terrible sin worthy of damnation. This beautifully crafted doctrine basically suggests that if anyone attempts to limit the king or dethrone him, that they are going against God's will and are committing heresy. To support such theories, these monarchs shrewdly quoted scripture for you can't claim anything without proof, and even if you could it sure helps your cause a ton, so what better proof for this cause is there than the bible?

Proverbs 8.15-16:
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.

Romans 13.1-2:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

The verses speak for themselves and, fortunately for the sovereign, them as well. One particular defense of the divine right of a king was patriarchalism. This widely accepted belief suggests that husbands had authority over their wives and fathers over their children. A great example of Divine Right would be Louis XIV of France. This extraordinary man ruled for about 72 years. During his long reign France stabilized and hardened into one of the strongest and most imposing powers of Europe at the time. France, along with being politically successful, was also successful in having the most popular culture in Europe of the time for Louis was quite fashionable and did all he could to enhance the beauty of France. Louis was the ideal king of his time and the reason he was so successful in efficiently ruling France mid-reign was because he never doubted his right to rule and didn't let anyone else either.

Genesis A. Landestoy

Jonathan Vargas

Maria Theresa was the female ruler of Hapsburg. She decreased the power of the nobility. She also limited the amount of labor that nobles could force peasants to do. In 1740, Frederick William II attacked the Austrian land of Silesia, which border Prussia. Maria Theresa had recently given birth so she asked the nobles for help; they pledged to give Maria Theresa an army. Great Britain also joined to fight its longtime enemy France, which was Prussia’s ally. Although Maria Theresa did stop Prussia’s aggression, she lost Silesia in the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. Maria Theresa also participated in the Seven Year’s War when she decided that the French kings were no longer Austria’s enemies. She made an alliance with them. The result was a diplomatic revolution. She was also the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands, and Parma.

Maria Theresa's Family and Personal Life

During her reign, Maria Theresa suffered a great personal loss, the unexpected death of her husband, Francis Stephen of Lorraine. Her love for him was so deep that from the day of his death until her own death in 1780, she dressed in mourning. After Francis Stephen's death, Maria Theresa became increasingly withdrawn. She continued reforms, but they came at a slower and more systematic pace. She changed her foreign policy from vigorously trying to regain Silesia to maintaining peace. After fifteen years of war and frustration, Maria Theresa was reluctant to get involved in conflicts that might prove unsuccessful. After the death of Francis Stephen, Maria Theresa recognized the eldest of her sixteen children, Joseph II, as emperor and coregent. Joseph II's many fundamental differences in beliefs with his mother, caused anxiety and arguments. Periodically, Maria Theresa considered abdication of the throne. However, she never did abdicate. Instead, she allowed Joseph II only limited powers, since she felt his judgment too rash.

Maria Theresa was courageous, generous and kind. She respected the rights of others and expected others to respect her rights.

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