Full Text

Frederick William IV

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1795–1861), King of Prussia (1840–61). Under frederick william iii , Prussia had cooperated with Austria in the suppression of liberal-national movements, and the accession of his idealistic and mercurial son, Frederick William IV, promoted hopes of a change of policy. These were unfounded, for the latter was a firm believer in Divine Right monarchism , with no time for popular sovereignty or paper constitutions. Although keen to promote german unification , his vision of it involved a revived medieval empire. As Germany was swept by widespread revolution in the spring of 1848 (see revolutions of 1848–9), he was forced to concede a more liberal constitution and a reform of the german confederation under Prussian leadership. In March, he demonstrated considerable firmness when popular demonstrations led to clashes between soldiers and citizens outside the royal palace at Berlin, appeasing public opinion by ordering the army to withdraw, donning the national colors, and paying homage to the dead. But he subsequently sacked his liberal ministers and restricted still further the already conservative constitution he had conceded. When eventually offered the leadership of a new federal German state by the frankfurt parliament early in 1849, he rejected what he termed a “crown of shame,” declaring that he must be selected by fellow-monarchs, not by popular will. He subsequently ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top