Semester

Spring

Date of Graduation

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Type

MA

College

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Department

History

Committee Chair

Katherine Aaslestad

Committee Member

Robert Blobaum

Committee Member

Kate Kelsey Staples

Abstract

Louise of Meckelburg-Strelitz was born on March 10, 1776 and died just thirty-four years later. In her short time as the queen consort of Prussia, she would give birth to nine children, command her own dragoons, negotiate with Napoleon, and eventually become a complex and celebrated German historical figure. Immensely popular in life, her early death was considered a national tragedy, and commemorations of her life only solidified her role as a new type of Prussian queen. Using Louise as a case study, this work will examine how the role of queen changed, not only in Prussia, but also between the early modern and modern era in Europe. Following Joan W. Scott’s framework for gender analysis, this work places Louise within societal conceptions of Prussian masculinity and femininity, as well as each gender’s connection to power. This will require the use of secondary sources on Louise’s life as well as an examination of primary sources such as Louise’s personal correspondence, as well as an analysis of commemorations through the artifacts of material culture, memorial literature, and popular depictions. This assessment of Louise’s role as a woman, a mother, and as a martial consort within a socio-cultural context, as well as its representations both during and after her life, will reveal the Louise’s role as a transitional queen of the Sattelzeit period. This work will therefore contribute to the growing field of queenship studies and provide insight to of how periodization can impact historians’ understanding of queenship, gender, and power.

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