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History Alexander II Tsar Liberator

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					       History 304:
Alexander II, “Tsar Liberator”
         Alexander II, r. 1855-1881
• Born April 1818
• Eldest son of Nicholas I
• Tutor: Vasily Zhukovsky
   – founder of Russian
     Romanticism
• Kindness, warmth, humane
• Toured Europe and 20
  provinces
• Potential not anticipated.
• Adhered to no particular set
  of ideas, neither a radical or
  a reactionary
        Coronation
26 August/7 September 1856
             • Ended the war, then
               celebration.
             • Count von Moltke’s
               account: ritual, riches,
               ceremony.
             • “Behind the troops stood
               the bearded populace,
               with heads uncovered,
               close together, but without
               crowding.”
             • Queen mother
             • Church’s role
    Causes of the Great Reforms
• Crimean War, 1853-1856
  – Humiliating defeat on “Russian” soil
  – Defeat greatly undermined Romanovs’ legitimacy.
  – Exposed army’s problems, especially recruitment
    “non-system” and poor quality of soldiers.
  – technological inadequacies:
     • Railroad
     • telegraph (dispatches took 7.5 days to Piter)
• Symptoms of a larger, key problem: serfdom
• Emergence of “enlightened” bureaucracy
• Earlier reform attempts
        Emancipation of serfs, 1861
• 1857: Polish nobles of Lithuania
  complained.
• 1858: Alexander called for
  committees to “improve the
  condition of peasants.”
• Two proposals: with or without
  land
• 3 March 1861: Emancipation
  Manifesto
   –   23 million serfs emancipated
   –   Got the worse half of the land
   –   Had to pay for it over 49 years
   –   Strengthened and empowered the
       village commune “mir” or
       “obshchina” – in charge of land
       redistribution.
       1861 manifesto proclaimed




Bezdna uprising, April 1861:
     •Kazan province
     •5000 peasants
     •Up to 91 killed
     •350 wounded
•Black Repartition (Chornyi
peredel)
Other Great Reforms
          1864: Judicial reform
          • New penal code
          • Simplified and liberalized
            court system:
             –   Equality before the law
             –   Public hearings
             –   Trial by jury
             –   Professional legal advocate
                 for all parties
          • Abolished death penalty
              Other Great Reforms
1864: Local Government reform
• Zemstvo: local self-government,
   five curia:
     – large landed proprietors
     – small landowners, clergy in
       their capacity of landed
       proprietors
     – wealthier townsmen
     – less wealthy urban classes;
     – delegates of the peasants,
       elected by the volosts
• Not democracy (nobles were 74%
   of members, but 1.3% of
   population)
• But greater representation.
           Other Great Reforms
1874: Military reform:
• universal military
  conscription
• army reserve
• military district system
• building of strategic
  railways
• Better military
  education of officer
  corps

				
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posted:10/16/2011
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