When Mendelssohn arrived in Berlin in 1743, Frederick the Great was already in power. Frederick’s rule embodied many of the contradictions of the Enlightenment. On the one hand, he was a great patron of the arts, encouraged freedom of thought, and sought to unify Prussia under a single set of laws. But he was also a notorious anti-Semite who perpetuated and extended the special laws that governed every detail of Jewish life in Prussia. When the Berlin Academy of Sciences recommended that Mendelssohn be made a member in 1771, Frederick effectively vetoed the Academy’s recommendation.