Karin Friedrich locates the composite state of Brandenburg-Prussia in its historical, political, religious and economic context, from the demise of the Teutonic Knights in the fifteenth century to the Napoleonic crisis. Synthesising debates in German, English and Polish historical writing, the study focuses on key themes and concepts such as:
* confessionalisation, state-building, absolutism, and the rural economy
* the primacy of foreign politics
* the impact of an enlightened public sphere on changing notions of citizenship.
Friedrich assesses the ability of the Prussian state to integrate its constituent parts, not least by creating a patriotic identity and notion of unity under the name of 'Prussia'. Challenging myths and older views, this fresh interpretation is ideal for anyone studying this complex political entity within early modern Europe.