Signs of social responsibility: enlightened absolutism
The Habsburg empress Maria Theresia and her son emperor Joseph II did successfully reform the social, economic and administrative conditions in their Central European dominions, due, mainly, to a reasonable efficiency in raising wealth
Considering that the sovereign was the prime servant of the state, the great Prussian king Frederic II gave Europe one of the most significant mottos for the enlightened reform of absolutist reign towards a more modest and responsible government: not for the needs and interests of the aristocracy alone, but also for all levels of the society. According to that, also, the Habsburg empress Maria Theresia (r. 1740–65) and her son emperor Joseph II (r. 1765–90) did successfully reform the social, economic and administrative conditions in their Central European dominions, due, mainly, to a reasonable efficiency in raising wealth. An example of their endeavours can be seen in the Sugar Refinery in Rijeka, Croatia.
Maria Theresa with Sons Below the Bust of Her Deceased Husband Franz Stephan of Lorraine and Chancellor Kounic-Rietberg
Valtice, Moravia, Czech Republic
Oil on canvas
Empress Maria Theresia and her eldest son, emperor Joseph II, were very much engaged in reforming the absolutist reign towards a more responsible one, and did successfully improve the social, economic and administrative conditions of their dominions.