Joseph II was a Holy Roman Emperor during the years of 1765 to 1790. He was the son of Francis I and Maria Theresa and was born at Vienna on March 13, 1741. He grew up learning from the writings of Voltaire, and the example of Frederick the Great of Prussia. He grew very tired of his mother as she ruled because she granted him no freedom to make his own path and follow his instincts. From his father’s death to his mother’s death, Joseph ruled the Hapsburg lands jointly with his mother but had little authority. As a young man he was in awe by the subhuman conditions of the peasantry that he viewed while touring the provinces. Joseph was impatient with the slowness and lack of Maria Theresa's reforms. Although he was ridiculed and hated by the clergy and nobles, Joseph II was absolutely adored by the common people for his mark on a now socially free state of Austria.
Before Joseph, his predecessor, his own mother, Maria Theresa ruled Austria-Hapsburg. Maria Theresa came to power in a time of great turmoil. She inherited from emperor Charles VI (her father), a weak and decentralized kingdom whose power rested in the hands of the provincial ministers of the provinces instead of the monarchs. The treasury was empty and there were no troops available to protect Hapsburg from its enemies constantly attacking them from all sides. The successor of Maria would have to be able to bring in new ideas, concepts, and tactics in place to ensure the growth and stability of Austria-Hapsburg. Maria’s successor was surely up for the challenge from a young age. Joseph grew tired of Maria’s thinking and limitations on what he could do/think/feel. He was ready to inherit the throne to bring in new ways to help Austria-Hapsburg prosper. A little while after his mother died, Joseph II, now full ruler of Austria-Hapsburg, decided to get right to work and created (arguably) his most famous reforms of all time, the Toleration Patent. In the patent, he guaranteed basic liberties to believers of religions such as Lutheranism, Calvinism, Greek Orthodoxy, and to Jews. They were granted permission to worship in their own sanctuaries, educate their youth, own their own property, and judge the moral standards of their community. This allowance of toleration wasn’t heard of in the European community, making this reform and Joseph II highly controversial. Joseph influenced every political, social, and ethical aspect of Austria. When his mother’s death arrived and Joseph began spreading education, secularizing church lands (making Austria religiously tolerant), and promoting unity by using German language. He focused on abolishing