What Social Reforms Did Joseph II Of Austria Make?


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Joseph's social reform was the area which he was most influenced by Enlightenment thinkers. Before 1780, Austria had no government funded welfare agencies. Hospitals and schools were run by the Church and there was no specific provision for the old, the disabled and lunatics.

Joseph established the most comprehensive welfare system in Europe. The system was expensive and wide ranging. Reforms went further than the radical suggestions of a writer. He financed the extensive programme mostly from the dissolution of the monasteries. Orphanages, hospitals, maternity units, medical colleges, lunatic asylums and institutions for unmarried women, the blind, the deaf and cripples were all established in the 1780s. In 1785 Vienna General Hospital had 2000 beds. Joseph's provisions were the most effective of any state in Europe and would not be improved in any other country until a century later. In these reforms, Joseph showed his very Enlightened and strong humanitarian principles of caring and support.

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