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Born:October 15, 1795Germany...(Show more)Died:January 2, 1861 (aged 65)PotsdamGermany...(Show more)Title / Office:king (1840-1861), Prussia...(Show more)Notable family members Members:father Frederick wilhelm IIIbrother william I...(Show more)Role In:Punctation of OlmützRevolutions of 1848...(Show more)

Frederick wilhelm IV, (born Oct. 15, 1795, Cölln, near Berlin—died Jan. 2, 1861, Potsdam, Prussia), king the Prussia native 1840 till 1861, who conservative policies assisted spark the change of 1848. In the consequences of the fail revolution, Frederick William followed a reactionary course. In 1857 he was incapacitated by a stroke, and also his brother, the future william I, became regent (1858–61).

Early life.

Frederick william was the kid of the future king Frederick wilhelm III and Louisa the Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He to be educated through tutors, largely experienced civil servants. Despite he was fully unsoldierlike by nature, his experience in the German war of Liberation (1813–15) against Napoleon left lasting traces top top his political and intellectual development. That became and remained a disciple that the German Romantic movement, v its nostalgia for the middle Ages. Romanticism appealed come his exceptionally sensitive dilettante creative nature. A draftsman interested in architecture and landscape gardening, he was a patron of Christian Daniel Rauch, a detailed sculptor, and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, one architect and city planner. His marriage in 1823 come Elizabeth of Bavaria, a transform to Lutheranism, verified happy, return they had actually no children.

As crown prince, Frederick William arisen romantic-conservative convictions that led the to approach even politics as a inquiry of ideas and also problems fairly than as a issue of hard reality. Conservative philosophers, males of letters, and politicians were among his friends and the guys he admired. Also though right 20, he used his affect to limit the promised constitution of 1815 come the creation of district and also provincial estates, in i m sorry the landing aristocracy had actually an overwhelming majority. Because that him liberalism supposed revolution: a contemporary constitution was “a scrap the paper” interposed as an intolerable barrier between the patriarchal, divinely justification king and also his people. Though he to be no absolutist and had no real will come domination, yet, by his romanticizing mystique and his countless respect because that the alleged “organic growth” the the medieval estates, the stood irreconcilably protest to the political principles of the 19th century and to the heritage of the French Revolution. Tensions to be not reduced by his genuine personal piety. Together for him, social homogeneity outweighed politics unity, however he was basically opposed to the activity toward a German national state; ~ Prussia’s occupation by Napoleon, he related to his country’s close alignment v Austria together essential. That never challenged the Habsburg empire’s primacy, i m sorry he experienced as consecrated through history; because that the king that Prussia he claimed only the army dignity of one “arch-general” the the empire.


Frederick William easily disappointed the an excellent hopes aroused by his ascede in 1840, because that he was by no way willing to meet the constitutional aspirations the the Liberals. In 1842 the permitted just “united committees” that the provincial estates; and also in 1847, after lengthy delay, that summoned not a famous representative assembly but the united Diet, consisting of all the provincial estates, through the ideal to grant taxes and loans but without the best to accomplish at continuous intervals. This unwieldy body remained his ideal, even though the narrow limits of his concessions instantly produced a dispute (the Diet’s refuse of the proposed loan for the Berlin–Königsberg railway) and even despite this very first assembly of all Prussia powerfully boosted the people’s self-confidence on the night of the revolution of 1848.

Revolution that 1848.

Despite belated attempts to organize a common resistance by the German governments, Frederick william was eventually totally overwhelmed by the transformation in in march 1848, i m sorry was inspired by the change of the preceding month in France. He could neither stop the street fighting in Berlin by last-minute concessions nor ride the wave; ~ the tap the money of the troops come barracks, he masked his entry to the change by a processional ride through Berlin under the black and also red and golden flag, the prize of the united Germany, by paying homage to the bodies of the victims of the soldiery, and by his promise that “Prussia is henceforth linked in Germany.” ultimately he had to convene a Prussian national assembly. Under the affect of his entourage, however, he roused self to a stubborn resistance: he appointed his uncle, the count of Brandenburg (a son of Frederick wilhelm II’s critical morganatic marriage), prime minister; eliminated the assembly native Berlin and then dissolved it; and also imposed a structure the an initial moderately liberal draft of which to be modelled on the of Belgium. These measures revived the leading function to the crown and also its instruments, the army and also the bureaucracy, firmly sustained by the recently formed Conservative party.

When, top top April 3, 1849, Frederick wilhelm refused the royal crown offered by the nationwide assembly in Frankfurt to be Main—because as a true conservative he would accept it only from the German princes—he ruined the structure drafted by that assembly. Under Russian and English pressure, moreover, he had withdrawn Prussian support of the climbing in the duchies the Schleswig and also Holstein, aimed at overthrowing Danish rule there. Next, however, greatly contravening his vault policy, the attempted to develop a German union under Prussian leadership (1849–50)—though this, as a “Little German” federation, have to remain allied through a “wider” federation embracing Austria. Once Austria tested this union, the King shrank indigenous war, to like capitulation at the Punctation that Olmütz convention. Despite Prussia had actually to return to the federal Diet in ~ Frankfurt to be Main, Prussian management of the German customs union, which excluded Austria, remained unchallenged.

In spiritual affairs Frederick William, in 1841, cleared up the “Cologne church conflict” ~ above terms an extremely favourable to the roman Catholics, with whom, largely affected by his love because that the old and also picturesque, he had great sympathy; he also furthered the reconstruction of Cologne cathedral. On the various other hand, he actively promoted the joint Anglican-Lutheran bishopric of Jerusalem.

Final years.

The last years that his power were a duration of reaction. Frederick William, rejecting the bureaucratic absolutism the his element minister otto von Manteuffel, worked above all for recasting the structure of 1848 in a conservative mold. This included the disastrous development of three-class suffrage according to income in 1850 instead of global suffrage, the retention that the autarchic character of army and also bureaucracy, the reestablishment that the conservative ar assemblies and also the provincial diets, and the counter (1854) of the very first chamber right into a home of lords entirely dominated by the mostly aristocratic landowners. He believed this home of lords to be modelled on the English top house, but in a political testimony he implored his successors to refuse to take it the oath on the Prussian constitution.

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In 1857 a stroke resulted in paralysis. Native this time on, with the exemption of quick intervals, the king’s mind to be clouded, and also his brother william (afterward emperor) take it on the duties the government, coming to be regent in 1858. Frederick William died at Sanssouci palace in 1861.