Leopold II

Leopold II was Holy Roman emperor and one of the most capable of the 18th-century reformist rulers known as the “enlightened despots.”


After Leopold’s brother, Holy Roman emperor Joseph II, died in 1790, Leopold was elected emperor (and became king of Hungary and archduke of Austria). At first Leopold reacted cautiously to the explosive situation created by the French Revolution. But in 1791, he joined with the Prussians in issuing the Declaration of Pillnitz. He died less than two months before France declared war on Austria.

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