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Frederick William II

Frederick William II, 1744–97, king of Prussia (1786–97), nephew and successor of Frederick II (Frederick the Great). He had the power but lacked the ability of his distinguished predecessors. He joined the European coalition in support of Louis XVI and fought in the early campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars. Financial difficulties and the revolt (1794) in Poland against the Prussian and Russian occupiers of that country following the second partition of Poland (see Poland, partitions of) led Frederick William II to make a separate peace with the French at Basel (1795). Frederick William's extravagance left a ruined exchequer. He was a patron of the arts and an amateur cellist; Mozart dedicated three string quartets to him. His son, Frederick William III, succeeded him.

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

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