Youth of the Great Elector - George Upton

The Great Elector of Prussia was an ancestor of Frederick the great, but the main events of this book focus on the Thirty Years' War, which occurred during his youth. Son of Calvinist monarchs, in a Lutheran country, governed by a Catholic minister, the young Frederick was witness to all the intrigue and excesses of the tragic war which laid waste to great swaths of Germany during his lifetime.

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[Book Cover] from Youth of the Great Elector by George Upton
The Great Elector in his tenth year.


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Translator's Preface

The story of Frederick William, The Great Elector," as he is known in history, begins with his birth and closes with his accession to power upon the death of his father. It is the story of his youth only, but in the youth we find all the attributes which made him so great as an Elector and as a man. Its scenes are laid in the period of the terrible and devastating Thirty Years' War, which had not yet come to a close when Frederick William became Elector of Brandenburg. Its characters, Ferdinand the Second, Frederick the Fifth, Christian of Denmark, Gustavus Adolphus, Wallenstein, Tilly, Maximilian of Bavaria, the Swedish Chancellor Oxenstjerna, Count von Mansfeld, the Empress Elizabeth, the Elector of Brandenburg, his high-minded wife, and his great son, are world-famous.

Its progress throws a strong light upon that memorable war of faiths, which lasted more than a generation, and which was characterized by bitter enmity and cruel atrocities on both sides, as has usually been the case in every religious struggle. It is a terrible picture of those days when Catholics and Protestants were struggling for the supremacy, but its dark and repellent details are rendered more endurable by the knowledge in this twentieth century that such wars and such cruelties in the name of religion are not likely to occur again. The world has advanced; freedom of thought and of conscience is everywhere recognized and conceded. Sects may still disagree in doctrine, but the old deadly hatreds are extinguished. The central figure in this stirring drama is Frederick William, who, as the curtain falls, enters upon his career as the Great Elector.

G. P. U.

CHICAGO, July 1, 1909.

[Contents] from Youth of the Great Elector by George Upton
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The following is a chronological statement of the principal events in Germany and elsewhere during the youth of the Great Elector:

1619    George William becomes Elector of Brandenburg.
1619    Frederick the Fifth elected Emperor of Bohemia. bia;
1620    Birth of Frederick William, the Great Elector.
1620    Frederick the Fifth defeated at White Mountain and deposed. .
1622    Tilly victorious at Wimpfen.
1623    Maximilian of Bavaria made Elector.
1625    Christian the Fourth of Denmark becomes Protestant leader.
1626    Tilly defeats Christian the Fourth at Lutter.
1626    Wallenstein defeats Count von Mansfeld.
1628    Siege of Stralsund.
1629    Frederick issues Restitutions Edict.
1630    Wallenstein dismissed.
1630    Gustavus Adolphus becomes Protestant leader. bia;
1631    Tilly storms Magdeburg.
1631    Victory of Gustavus Adolphus at Breitenfeld. .
1632    Death of Gustavus Adolphus at Lutzen.
1634    Murder of Wallenstein.
1635    Treaty between Saxony and Frederick.
1637    Death of Ferdinand the Second.
1640    Death of George William and accession of the Great Elector.