Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia (1744-1797)

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Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia
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Friedrich Wilhelm II (Frederick William), King of Prussia (König von Preußen), 1786-97, was born 25 September 1744, the son of Prince August Wilhelm of Prussia (1722-1758), (second son of King Friedrich Wilhelm I) and Luise Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1722-1780). Friedrich Wilhelm succeeded his uncle Friedrich II as king in 1786.

Friedrich Wilhelm II was as benevolent toward the Mennonites as his uncle. He recognized the significance of the work that these economical, sober, and industrious people accomplished in the crafts and in agriculture, and was therefore not opposed to their spread in West Prussia. But he was at the same time unable to evade the fear of his officials that if too much land passed into Mennonite hands there might be difficulty in raising replacements for the army. In the Marienburg region the complaint was also made that the rapid increase in Mennonite ownership of land jeopardized the Lutheran Church. The king there fore decided to regulate matters concerning the Mennonites by a specific law. Thus the "Edict concerning future regulation of Mennonite life in all the royal provinces with the exception of Silesia" came into being 30 July 1789. It consists of 14 paragraphs; it confirms their liberty of conscience including nonresistance, but it also restricts their acquisition of land, sets a fee to be paid to the Lutheran Church by Mennonite landowners, and specifies the official attitude toward persons of other creeds who join the Mennonites. Because this edict made it difficult for young Mennonites to acquire new land, the emigration of West Prussian Mennonites to the steppes of South Russia began in 1789. During his reign the Danzig Mennonites came under Prussian rule.

Friedrich Wilhelm died 16 November 1797 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Friedrich Wilhelm III.


Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. II, 3 ff.

Mannhardt, H. G. Die Danziger Mennonitengemeinde, ihre Entstehung und ihre Geschichte von 1569-1919. Danzig, 1919.

Mannhardt, W. Die Wehrfreiheit der Altpreussischen Mennoniten. Marienburg, 1863.

Reiswitz and Wadzek. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Mennonitengemeinden. Berlin, 1821.

Author(s) H. G. Mannhardt
Richard D. Thiessen
Date Published April 2007

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MLA style

Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia (1744-1797)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. April 2007. Web. 2 Mar 2024.,_King_of_Prussia_(1744-1797)&oldid=145180.

APA style

Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. (April 2007). Friedrich Wilhelm II, King of Prussia (1744-1797). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from,_King_of_Prussia_(1744-1797)&oldid=145180.


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 386. All rights reserved.

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