Alexander IIi : The Great Reformer Essay example

Alexander IIi : The Great Reformer Essay example

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In the 19th century, Tsarist Russia was in need of various significant reforms and changes. Westernizers and Slavophiles had varied points of view about how Russia should be governed and what to be done with the crumbling country. Slavophiles believed in conserving traditional Russian autocracy and Russian culture and tradition, while Westernizers sought to modernize and adopt western beliefs and systems. These two viewpoints can be generalized into two main categories; liberal and conservative. From the years 1855-1881, Alexander II led the autocracy. He was known to by many as the “great reformer”, because he emancipated the serfs and put in place many other radical reforms. After the assassination of Alexander II, his son, Alexander III, took control of Russia. Despite of his father’s reputation of being liberal, Alexander III was very strict and conservative when it came to many reforms and how to run Russia 's autocracy. However, regardless of Alexander II’s apparently liberal views and actions; he, to some extent, was just as conservative as his son.

In 1861 the emancipation edict was instilled in tsarist Russia, this helped free the serfs from the control of their landowners. Emancipation is radically liberal in itself, but in this case it was only radical in notion, not action. There was little to no real support of the serfs from the Tsar, but Alexander II recently lost a war and the country under his control was quickly falling apart. Something had to be done and something rather big. Alexander II freed the serfs, although, they were technically not even legally freed from their landowners. Each serf had two additional years to fulfil their duties and then had to pay the land off. Despite the apparent effort t...


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...provided a lot of change to the education system, he refused history be taught in any schools. History education was a threat to the preservation of Russian culture, it provided far too much information that the Tsar did not want the public to have. This would likely enhance the formation of opposition.

Despite Alexander II’s liberal exterior, like his son, he is conservative at heart. Many of Alexander II’s liberal reforms were to minimize opposition and reconstruct the tsarist government that was quickly falling apart. Alexander II was able to put aside his conservative roots to patch the wounds of his country. His conservativeness influenced his actions but his liberal actions were for the best. Alexander II compared to Alexander II was liberal to only some extent, because he considered all points of views but kept his policies conservative in their own way.

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