Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
König von Preußen
(15.10.1795 - 02.01.1861)
place of birth: Berlin
Preußen: Seine Majestät der König,
Chef der Armee
King of Prussia from 1840 to 1861,
Friedrich Wilhelm IV (Frederick William) was the son and successor of
Friedrich Wilhelm III. His mother was Luise von Mecklenburg-Strelitz.
Prior to his coronation, he was wed with Princess Elisabeth von Bayern
in 1823, although the marriage did not produce any children.
A romanticist and a mystic, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV conceived
vague schemes of reform based on a revival of the medieval structure,
with the rule of estates and a patriarchal monarchy. During the Revolution
of 1848 in Prussia, which broke out in March, he was forced, at
first, to accede to revolutionary demands. Later, however,he crushed the
opposition, dissolved the constituent assembly, and promulgated a
conservative constitution, which, as modified in 1850, remained in force
Friedrich Wilhelm IV refused the crown of a united Germany
offered him (1849) by the Frankfurt Parliament on the grounds
that a monarch by divine right could not receive authority from an
elected assembly. He nonetheless desired German unity under Prussian
leadership and presented the Prussian Union plan for a confederation of
Prussia and the smaller German states. Austrian opposition to the plan
forced him to abandon it in the Treaty of Olmütz (1850). In
1848, he briefly supported the revolt in Schleswig-Holstein against
Denmark but yielded to British pressure for an armistice. In 1857 his
mental condition necessitated a temporary (later permanent) regency of
his brother, who succeeded him as Wilhelm I. He died in January
1861 in Potsdam.
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