From the death of his father (1765) to the death of his mother (1780) Joseph ruled the Hapsburg lands jointly with his mother but had little authority. As a young man he had been profoundly impressed by the subhuman conditions of the peasantry that he saw while touring the provinces. Joseph was impatient with the slowness of Maria Theresa's reforms and on her death he was ready with a full revolutionary program.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.