Friedrich Wilhelm II, 1786-1797
Thaler 1791 A
Frederick William II (* 25 September 1744 in Berlin; † 16 November 1797 in Potsdam) was descended from the noble house of Hohenzollern and from 1786 was King of Prussia and Margrave of Brandenburg, Arch-Chamberlain and Elector of the Holy Roman Empire. He was a bon vivant, fundamentally different from his uncle Frederick II, and did not continue the work of his much more famous predecessor. He was often called Der dicke Lüderjahn (The Fat Lüderjahn) by the people. Frederick the Great died at Sanssouci on 17 August 1786 at the age of seventy-four. As planned, his nephew succeeded him on the throne and became King Frederick William II of Prussia. When he came to power he was very popular and the people hoped for a general improvement in their situation. At the end of his life, the late king had had long since ceased to be popular at the end of his life, and his death did not cause great mourning in Prussia.
The new king moved the residence from Sanssouci back to Berlin, causing great enthusiasm among the Berliners. He abolished a hated tax and handed out medals, honours and increases in rank. Frederick William had the by renowned architects such as Carl Gotthard Langhans (1732- 1808) and, among other things, had the Brandenburg Gate built.
The king, himself an excellent cello player, promoted the arts, especially music and theatre. music and the theatre. Soon, however, the darker side of the new monarch became apparent. monarch. Since his uncle had not introduced him to the political processes, he was not able to he could not govern the state from his desk as his uncle had done. In contrast to Frederick the Great's conviction that everyone should be blessed according to his Frederick William embraced the Reformation. However, he ensured that the other religious denominations with the Edict of Religion of 9 July 1788. The The edict triggered heated debates in Prussia, so that he followed it up with the Censorship Edict of 19 December 1788. December 1788, in which personal freedoms were again restricted. were restricted again.