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

Alexander II is sometimes called the Tsar Liberator. Is this an accurate interpretation of his reign?

Extracts from this document...


Alexander II is sometimes called the Tsar Liberator. Is this an accurate interpretation of his reign? Serfdom was on the verge of being eliminated in Western Europe by 1848. However in comparison to Western Europe, Russia was the only European state yet to emancipate or attempt to emancipate its Serfs, this represented the backward nature of Russian society. However Serfdom was engraved in the Russian hierarchal society hence the reason for which serfdom was still present in Russia during the mid 19th century. Nevertheless by 1861 the emancipation statutes of the Serfs had finally been issued. How was it that despite there being hostility from the gentry and nobility to the destruction of Serfdom and the centrality of which Serfdom had in Russian society, was Emancipation of the Serfs able to occur in 1861. Did the emancipation of the Serfs take place due to Alexander II humanitarian concerns and sympathy towards Serfdom or was the emancipation of the Serfs an attempt for Russia to grow economically as well as politically in an attempt to retain its world status? These questions have been debated as many historians argue that the reasons for the Serfs being emancipated were due to economical, political, military and moral concerns. Russia during the mid 19th century was economical stagnated in comparison to countries such as Britain who saw a great economic boom through the industrial revolution, which consequently saw the boom of railways across Britain. ...read more.


It can be argued that the causation of the Serfs being liberated by Tsar Alexander II were to with economic, political, military and moral concerns. Nevertheless the idea of Tsar Nicholas II being labelled as a Tsar Liberator is strongly debated. In order for someone to be known or portrayed as a Liberator, they must give freedom to a person/group. The freedom received by the Serfs many feel left them worse off. Despite this so called Liberation of the Serfs occurring it was not the Serfs who were benefiting but more so the landlords.5 This was the case as the statues proposed that through emancipation of the Serfs, the Serfs were able to buy the land they worked on by paying redemptions over 49 years at an interest rate of 6%. The land, which they received, was usually narrow strips of poor land, which was not very fertile. 6 It is significant to take into account that despite the fact the Serfs were given personal freedom, they were not free in the sense that they were initially paid a very small amount for their work. Hence the Serfs were naturally financially instable; therefore it was ironic that such interest was placed on their land as they were not able to pay off their 49-year redemption including the interest placed on their land. As a result many Serfs found themselves in a worse off situation to the extent where their children were brought up on the burden of having to pay off the excess (and not achievable) ...read more.


Moreover it can be argued that in America the black slaves evidently witnessed a better life (despite it taking several years) whereas the Serfs were witnessing a worse life hence it was the consequences of the liberation of the Serfs which caused Alexander II's Liberator label to be questioned. Overall despite the Serfs receiving no genuine liberty11 one can argue that liberation did occur in the sense that an individual no longer owned the Serfs. However the extent of liberation is questioned by the situation of which the Serfs were left in as a consequence of emaciation. Russia had promised to give a new dawn to the Serfs but then left them in darkness.12 Nevertheless historians such as Terence Emmons describe Alexander II and the reforms as "probably the greatest single piece of state directed engineering in modern European history before the twentieth century.13 In conclusion I believe that despite Liberation was given on a general basis to the Serfs the way in which Liberation was given to them put the Serfs back to their social hierarchy in society as the benefit which occurred from the Liberation were very minimal and instead of making the Serfs better off caused them to become worse off. Hence it is a bit optimistic to call Alexander II a Tsar Liberator when infact his intentions for liberating the Serfs were more to do with pragmatic concern regarding Russia's economy, military and world status, than they were to do with giving the Serfs genuine liberty. ...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 Other Historical Periods 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 Other Historical Periods essays

  1. To what extent had the Russian economy been successfully modernised by 1914?

    Consequently, there was no fundamental change in yield and in 1878 only 50% of allotments made a surplus, and the peasants were reduced to a hand to mouth existence. Moreover, often the land was given to the commune and not individual peasants, and the commune was then responsible for distributing the land between the peasants.

  2. How and why did the Bolsheviks gain power in 1917?

    Kerensky wanted Kornilov to resign, but on the 27th of August, after being asked to resign by Kerensky, Kornilov ordered his troops to advance and seize the capital. The Bolsheviks were at great threat of being attacked by Kornilov's men, and began merging with the Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries to

  1. Assess the Reign of Amenhotep III

    states- namely independent kings such as the Mitanni, Babylonians and Hittites, and the Vassal Princes of Syria Palestine- whose letters usually entailed requests for gold, military provisions and protection. Again, because Nubia was a vital component to Egypt's economy, it was directly administrated by an Egyptian Viceroy or The King's

  2. The First English Civil War

    On the extreme right of the Parliamentary army, which stood in the open ground of Enborne Heath, took place a famous incident. Here, two of the London regiments, fresh to war as they were, were exposed to a trial as severe as that which broke down the veteran Spanish infantry at Rocroi in this same year.

  1. The Liberty Bell

    Once Washington was defeated at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was defenseless, and the city prepared for the inevitable. The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ordered that eleven bells, including the State House bell and the bells from Christ Church and St.

  2. The Significance of the Irish Convention, 1917

    But knowing how he depended on Conservative support, he refused the Southern Unionists' request. More Nationalists were also now opposing the policy. Bishop O'Donnell argued that Ireland controlling Irish tax was so important to the expenses of the government, that without it an Irish parliament would soon be in debt.

  1. How far did the problems of his reign stem from Edward VI's minority?

    However, there were problems that arose which did not stem from Edward's minority. The financial situation was inherited from Henry VIII; he had left the country bankrupt. Even though Somerset may have driven England into further debt, the problem was already present, thus this problem did not stem from his

  2. The events in India in 1856/7 were caused by the issue of the new ...

    All of the historians mentioned saw the reforms, especially the Doctrine of Lapse saw this as a fatal blow to the rule of the East India Company as the reform did not just affect their lifestyle and personal life but their religion and culture, something which a lot of Indian

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