Joseph II

Assessment

Obsessed with his social responsibility, Joseph found only occasional time to interest himself in any but the utilitarian arts. With the exception of the pliable Kaunitz, Joseph's ministers found it difficult to collaborate with him. Joseph was hated and ridiculed by the clergy and nobles, but he was the idol of the common people. Judgments on Joseph II vary widely, but it is certain that he left a socially freer state on his death than he had found on his accession.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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