When Friedrich Wilhelm IV inherited the throne, he was to award a total of 36 crosses of the military Order Pour le Mérite. This was a very small amount in comparison to his predecessors. However, he created the "Peaceclass" or Orden Pour le Mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste, which was for the arts and sciences. He intially invested 56 famous men into it. (For the list of these men, please see the section listed under "Peace".)

Friedich Wilhelm IV was versatile and talented with gifts as a painter, musican, and orator. This Prussian king could easily communicate with the great men of his time as well as peasant men, and unlike his forefathers, he was not a soldier.