This is an essay on Maria Theresa and her effects on the Enlightenment period.

Essay by mike3851High School, 10th gradeA+, April 2007

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Maria Theresa is specially known for her financial and educational reforms. She took the throne of Austria and held it until her death. She helped in the time of need and did a good job of ruling despite having the throne thrust onto her and her husband, Francis. She was little known until the wars started up, but the people loved her. She promoted commerce and the development of agriculture. She also reorganized Austria's army when they needed it. She made educational reforms and often put aside her own health or feelings to do what was best for her country.

Maria Theresa was born on May 13, 1717 in Vienna. She was born to Charles VI, the Holy Roman Emperor. Charles died on October 20, 1740, leaving the throne to Maria. Her husband Francis, Duke of Lorraine, was named emperor and her empress. Maria did not have much experience in politics.

After a couple months of rule, Maria faced her first test. Frederick II of Prussia invaded and occupied Silesia. The War of the Austrian Succession had begun. She realized that the army Austria had was weak, so she made a couple of alliances and increased her army by 200%. She also centralized the government by combining the Austrian and Bohemian chancelleries and set up a supreme court with the responsibility of upholding justice. These reforms strengthened the economy greatly.

During the years of the war, Maria made some changes that ultimately helped win the war. She established the Theresian Military Academy in 1752 and an academy of engineering science in 1754. She also demanded that the University of Vienna be given more money to finance medical staff. She was just about to attack Prussia in 1756 when Frederick struck first. He occupied most of Silesia, forcing her to sign...