The Revolution Of Peter The Great Essay

The Revolution Of Peter The Great Essay

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Peter the Great became tsar of Russia in 1682 and instituted many comprehensive changes designed to modernize and develop Russia during his reign. In The Revolution of Peter the Great, James Cracraft portrays the tsar as an ambitious and pivotal leader who sought to create a modern and powerful state by emulating Western European nations. The author insists that Peter inspired a revolution in Russia by establishing new bureaucratic, civil, and educational institutions. Cracraft argues that although all of Peter’s modifications had social and economic consequences, it was the cultural revolution that had the greatest impact on Russia. Cracraft describes Peter the Great as the most essential and historic figure in all of Russian history, and thus claims Peter as one of the most significant figures in all of modern history.
Peter’s reign was a period of change and growth. Cracraft praises Peter’s innovations, claiming that they promoted change in Russian tradition, society, and the church. The tsar’s new bureaucratic, civil, and educational institutions brought to Russia western ideas and technologies, which according to the author was equal to modernization. Peter expanded the alphabet and printing, while also advancing art and architecture in Russia. Cracraft contends that the construction of St. Petersburg was the center and symbol of Peter’s cultural revolution. Even so, were Peter’s actions the equivalent to a revolution that transformed Russian society and culture forever?
The transformation of the Russian military was crucial to Russian existence and expansion. Following the defeat by Swedish forces at the Battle of Narva in 1700, Peter understood the necessity for the creation of a Russian navy and the advance...


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...a revolution had occurred, as Cracraft insists, Russia would not have continued on the same regressive and oppressive course. Cracraft disregards Peter’s personal flaws and advises avoiding “the common practice of confusing the person and the ruler, as a way of excusing the tsar’s behavior (24). The government Peter inherited was backward; however, if Peter wished for future Russian development and growth, he would have left a governmental system and structure in place to continue his work after his death. Russia experienced progress and development during Peter’s reign, but not revolution. Peter’s reforms were brutal, costly, and subsidized at the expense of the peasantry. The tsar forced upon change through coercion and foreign influence. He, therefore, restricted the amelioration of Russian society and culture while hindering the progression toward the future.

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