- Berlin, Prussia
- January 24, 1712 – Born
Life Sketch from The Other Eminent Men of Wilford WoodruffKing of Prussia 1712-1786 Copyright © Taken from the book: The Other Eminent Men of Wilford Woodruff. Special thanks to Vicki Jo Anderson. Please do not copy. Frederick the Great is one of the eminent spirits who appeared to President Wilford Woodruff in the St. George Temple (Latter-day Saint, LDS) on August 21, 1877. This interesting story is detailed in the Eminent Spirits Appear to Wilford Woodruff wiki. A student of history, Frederick II of Prussia, often called Frederick the Great, concluded that history was an excellent teacher but drew few pupils. He wrote: “It is in the nature of man that no one learns from experience. The follies of the father are lost on their children; each generation has to commit its own.” Frederick’s own knowledge of history led him to establish a new era. In his memoirs of the House of Brandenburg, written in 1758, he wrote a startling new philosophy of state that the ruler was in reality the servant of his state. The concept of royalty serving the people was unknown to the people of that age. Frederick helped inaugurate the age of enlightenment. The rulers of state could not easily turn their backs on this leadership style for Frederick proved it so highly successful. The grand enterprise of Frederick, on of this biographers, Thomas Carlyle, tells us, was making the populace happy. He proclaimed to the public of Berlin: “Our grand care will be further the Country’s well being, and to make every one of our subject contented and happy. Our will is, not that you strive to enrich us by vexation of our subjects; but rather you aim steadily as well towards that advantage of the country…” He further wrote: “My will henceforth is if it ever chance that my particular interest and the general good of my countries should seam to go against each other, –in that case, my will is, that the latter preferred.” Unlike many rulers, Frederick meant what he said. The day after his ascension to the throne, he began his startling reforms.
“A man that seeks truth, and loves it, must be reckoned precious in any human society.” – Frederick the GreatThat first year Prussia experienced an extremely cold summer. Many of the crops froze, and famine threatened parts of the land. Frederick opened the public granaries and ordered grain to be sold at reasonable rates to the suffering poor.