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I, Tashell Mitchell, do hereby nominate Emperor Joseph II to receive the Monarch of the Century award. This award stands to be given to one who has successfully exemplified both authority and control.

Joseph, the Holy Roman Emperor, was the eldest son of Maria Theresa, and was the most difficult to manage. He was instructed by a Jesuit tutor, which only led to his disregard of religion. He was later tutored by one who emphasized the importance of physiocracy, which provided him with his views of the rights of man. Fredrick the Great and Voltaire also influenced him with the French Enlightenment. He was a friend to religious toleration, anxious to reduce the power of the church, to relieve the peasantry of feudal burdens, and to remove restrictions on trade and on knowledge. After the death of his father in 1765, he became emperor and was made co-regent by his mother in the Austrian dominions. As emperor, he had no real power, and his mother was resolved that neither husband nor son should ever deprive her of sovereign control in her hereditary dominions. He placed a great strain on her patience and temper, as in   the case of the first partition of Poland and the Bavarian War of 1778, but in the last resort the empress spoke the final word. Until the death of his mother in 1780, Joseph was never quite free to follow his own instincts.

Joseph sought to reform jurisprudence, but he constantly allowed the rule of the Hapsburg to be lessened. He abolished serfdom, but the peasantry still managed a great deal of responsibility to work and fix the economy. He enacted an Edict of Toleration, which granted Jews, Lutheranists, and Calvinists the right to worship freely. He began what is known as Josephism, which reinstated the priests and monasteries. He wanted to be fair, and tax everyone in efforts to stabilize the economy. He increased the German culture, Austrian dignity, and major...