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Frederick the Great


        Frederick II or Frederick the Great was born on January 24, 1712 in Berlin.  He was the son of King Frederick William I and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover.  As a young boy, Frederick had a passion for literature and music and his father disliked him for his interests.  When Frederick was eighteen, he tried to run away to England.  His father then had him arrested and forced him to watch the murder of one of his friends.  In 1733, Frederick married Elizabeth Christine of Brunswick-Bevern after serving in the military.  he then lived for seven years on his estate in Rheinsburg.  After Frederick William I died on May 31, 1940, Frederick II became king.
 
        He was very focused on enlarging the Prussian empire.  In April 1741, he won his first military battle, the Battle of Mollwitz, against Maria Theresa of Austria.  Frederick went on to become a brilliant military leader and because of this, Prussia gained a higher status.  He established an alliance with Catherine the Great of Russia and set up the first partition of Poland.  Frederick encouraged the introduction of new methods for farming and manufacturing.  He also "liberalized" serfdom.  Frederick issued the Codex Fridericianus, a new law code.  He also improved elementary education greatly.  Frederick gave religious freedom to Catholics and Protestants, allowed freedom of the press, and reduced the use of torture.  Besides being a military leader and brilliant ruler, Frederick was a writer and musician.  Frederick the Great later died on August 17, 1768 in Potsdam.