Maria Theresa (1717-1780), archduchess of Austria, Holy Roman Empress, and queen of Hungary and Bohemia, began her rule in 1740.She began his reign after her father death
(Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI). Charles VI left the monarchy financially compromised, and the army weakened.
King Frederick II of Prussia was her first challenger, taking advantage of the Charle´s death to attack Silesia and later Maria Theresa´s lad from the west, starting the War of
Austrian Succession (1740-1748). Maria Theresa was determined not to give up to her enemies, but to reconquer all of her lands. She began by initiating reforms.
• Maria Theresa, as an Austrian empress, decreased the power of the nobility. She limited the amount of labor that nobles could force peasants to do.
• She established a strong army, centralized the administration of the government, and initiated reforms in agriculture and education.
• She approved drastic changes in universities, such as the introduction of textbooks.
• She tried to abolish serfdom in Bohemia but met opposition from her husband who was getting complaints from the lord-holders.
Maria Theresa was an absolute ruler, and if any absolute ruler wants people to follow them, they need to get them to believe in the theory of Divine Right. The definiton of divine right is that monarchs derive their right to rule directly from God and respond to God. At this time, they were not too far after the Middle Ages, a time where people were very religious and God was the center of their lives. So if a ruler says that they are sent from God and the people believe that person, then anything they do is for the best of humanity and they can not make wrong choices.
Maria Theresa of Austria represents absolute monarchy because Austria did not have a background of absolutist monarchical rule, but the Wars of the Austrian Succession made her determined to adopt the centralized governments typical of absolutist countries, such as France and Prussia.The war of the Austrian Succession is the struggle between
Maria Theresa and King Frederick II of Prussia.