IV was a conscientious monarch who appears to have exercised his autocratic
powers more effectively than his father, Christian
V. He had a great capacity for work and imposed strict discipline and
order on himself. His subjects were permitted to approach him with their
complaints, complaints to which the king was very attentive. Many laws
and public undertakings were changed as a result of complaints from the
The military aspirations and ideals that formed part of the kingís role persisted under Frederickís rule. He upheld his fatherís decision to join Saxony and Poland in an alliance against Sweden. The Danish did, in fact, manage to put an end to Swedenís status as a great power in the Great Northern War of 1700 and 1709 to 1720. They did this, however, only at great cost to themselves and with disastrous consequences for the state finances for a long time to come. Frederick IV did not actively take part in the fighting, and it was left to the naval heroes Iver Huitfeldt and Peter Wessel to salvage the honour of Denmark-Norway. When the Swedish king, Karl XII, tried to conquer Norway in 1716 and 1718, the Norwegians remained loyal to King Frederick, and Karl was killed under the siege of Halden in 1718. Frederick was intent on continuing the war after Karl XIIís death, but when England applied pressure, he made peace in 1720. As part of the peace treaty, the Gottorp portions of Schleswig were surrendered to Denmark-Norway, but the territory that had been lost to Sweden in the 1600s was not won back.
In his later years, Frederick was strongly influenced by the pietistic movement and gave his support to the missionary activity of Hans Egede and Thomas von Westen in Greenland and Finnmark in north Norway. In 1730 he issued a decree with rules for the Sabbath, prohibiting masquerades, comedies and feasts on church holidays. It was also made an offence to forgo church services, punishable by fines and the pillory. Frederick IV died in Odense, Denmark, in 1730 and was succeeded by his son, Christian VI .