• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Alexander II deserved the epithet Tsar Liberator', how far do you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Alexander II deserved the epithet 'Tsar Liberator', how far do you agree with this statement? 'To liberate' means to set free from imprisonment or bondage and from social and economic constraints or discrimination. Alexander II is known as the 'Tsar Liberator' due to the emancipation of the serfs that took place during his reign and because of the many more liberal reforms he brought about, for example in the army and within education. He introduced a programme of reforms that was undoubtedly the most radical and far reaching of any attempted by a previous Tsar or a European government in the 19th century. However, a profound paradox ran through this programme. While it introduced a degree of personal and legal freedom previously unknown in Russia, it did so by an act of the monarch's autocratic will. It can be argued that his motives were not so noble or moral. The reforms did not achieve the anticipated results and were unsuccessful in combating the problems of the peasants. Russia's humiliating defeat at the Crimean war in 1855 was one of the most important factors for the introduction of the Edict of Emancipation. ...read more.

Middle

The domestic serfs who had not previously worked the land did not receive land under the terms of the edict. They had to find other employment which included working in the slowly industrializing sector or metallurgy. The emancipation of the Serfs should have meant a degree of equality i.e. citizenship, right to have legal representation, trade on the market or be involved with politics. However the edict of 19 February 1861 certainly did not accomplish these things and most policies such as the tax system and passport reform were postponed. Freedom is always better than slavery, yet freedom without the ability to acquire property or upward social mobility imposes a new kind of slavery. It is a little wonder that for years after the 1861 act, peasants still believed that the real emancipation was still in the future. Ironically many were far worse off after the emancipation than they had been before. Clearly, his reforms did not create any 'liberating effect' on peasants. Emancipation not only failed the peasants, it angered the nobility from whom it had taken power and it led to bitter criticism of the Tsar concerning injustice in land allocation and compensation for land owners. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Catholic Church was replaced by the Russian Orthodox Church. Similar policies were introduced in Finland, Ukraine, Armenia and the Baltic states. Such policies do not indicate towards a just ruler or a 'liberator.' The growth of radical opposition, ranging from nihilism to populism suggests that the reforms had a counter-effect on people. The position of the Tsar was seriously threatened with the rise of terrorism. Such outcomes makes one question the efforts of the Tsar. Were the reforms just half - hearted concessions? The popular opinion during 1870-81 seems to suggest that people did not believe him to be a 'liberator'. In conclusion, after all these aforementioned reforms, the concept of the state embodied in the person of the autocrat was in no way altered. The political system that initiated these reforms, supposedly to strengthen its own position, had collapsed within 60 years of their introduction. It is, therefore difficult to view these reforms as successful. Even though Alexander II went further than any other Tsar and liberated 40 million from slavery, there were other ulterior motives. The reforms did not have the desired impacts and the Russian society became worse off than before. Furthermore, his assassination by terrorist group indicates the discontent among people. Hence, it would be ignorant to honor him with the title of 'Tsar Liberator'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Modern European History, 1789-1945 essays

  1. How successful was Alexander II in transforming Russian Society

    Many had less land than before, and were forced to pay 'redemption payments' for 49 years at a 6% rate of interest. The nobility were not satisfied either, and by 1905, 50% of the remaining land had been sold, as profits fell.

  2. To What Extent Were the Reforms of Alexander II Intended to Preserve and Strengthen ...

    many this meant the serfs were only technically free and not truly free. The reason behind tying the serfs to their land after being freed was Alexander's fear that freed serfs would descent on the cities of Russia in their masses and threaten to alter to the balance of Russian

  1. How far should the first period of Alexander Is reign (1801-1815) be seen as ...

    his liberal intention, in a difficult role of autocratic ruler, and he did achieve his goal on a minor scale, but failed to force it through in its entirety. In 1807 Alexander appointed Speransky as the chief advisor on the reform of government.

  2. How far did the reforms during the period 1826-39 contribute to the eventual fall ...

    to a flood of British goods and ruined many Ottoman crafts'.xxv The destruction of the Janissary corps (1826) and the Anglo-Turkish Convention (1838) further integrated Ottoman and European economies, just as the 1839 Tanzimat decree more closely aligned the Middle Eastern with Western political structures.

  1. How far do you agree that the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 was ...

    It was also important in the development of Soviets, workers councils who were to be an integral part of Russian society in years to come. The Petrograd Soviet gained immense power and with huge influence over workers in the city it provided a template for future Soviets.

  2. To what extent did Alexander II deserve his title of the Tsar Liberator

    Ultimately, however, this reform was a failure in that it caused more revolt that it suppressed ? the aim was defeated.

  1. Was Alexander II more successful than Alexander III in coping with the problems ...

    Russia now looked to be on the path to developing a modern army on the Prussian model. However the Russo-Turkish 1877-1888 war saw the limitations of the army with the diminishing Ottoman Empire not being overrun by the new Russian army.

  2. 'Alexander III was the most successful Tsar in the period 1855-1917'. How far do ...

    all show that vital progress was being made, that was long overdue. Whilst agriculture may have been neglected somewhat under Alexander III, he had a different focus ? currency stabilisation, and industrialisation. Perhaps most notably, this approach is exemplified by Vyshnegradsky's push to get Russia into the competitive (but lucrative)

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work