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

How Successful Were the Reforms of Alexander II?

Extracts from this document...


How Successful Were the Reforms of Alexander II? Alexander II reigned for twenty-six years and in this time, created several reforms. Although these reforms were apparently beneficial for the Russians, many assassination attempts were made on the Tsar, as a result of newly forming ideas that believed in reason, materialism, and radical change in society and government through terrorism and assassination. The reforms that Alexander made, in his opinion was serving to create a better army. The reason for his determination to reform the army was due to the Crimean War, which was being fought when the throne passed from Nicholas I to Alexander. The Russians suffered an embarrassing defeat as a result of their army's incompetence, corruption and the use of uneducated and unmotivated serfs. It was clear that the Russian's serf-based economy and army could not compete with the industrialized nations of France and Britain. ...read more.


Nicholas I believed serfdom to be a 'flagrant evil'. As a result, he established nine different secret committees to investigate how it could be abolished. Alexander II had served in one of these committees, however none had achieved anything. This was mainly down to the complexity of the situation, which none really understood. The gentry argued that they would loose a lot of money if the peasants were given land when freed. However, the peasants knew that freedom without land would be pointless, and they would be left at the mercy of landlords. When Alexander ascended to the throne, he abolished serfdom, and set out to improve their lives, including educating them, and creating "Zemstvos" Legal reforms, academic free speech and relaxation of censorship and travel restrictions were also part of these successful reforms. The Emancipation Manifesto was released on March 3rd, 1861. This proposed seventeen legislative acts that included the freedom of the serfs. ...read more.


Many were forced to pay a lot more then the land was actually worth. By 1900, roughly 85% of the Russian people lived in the countryside and earned their living from agriculture. The nobility owned the best land, and the vast majority of peasants lived in poverty. As the country became more industrialized, the political system was placed under even more strain. The lower classes began to attempt to gain more freedom which helped spark off fears of a revolution, and the beliefs that society would needed to change, and this modification could be obtained through terrorism and assassination. As Russia became more modern, larger and far more complicated, the true worthlessness of Tsarist rule became more and more apparent. Liberals and radicals wanted a parliamentary democracy and the freedom of expression which most European states had were severely unhappy. In conclusion, Alexander's reforms were successful, as they did improve the army, but the different reactions from the parties led to severe rebellion and the eventual assassination of Alexander II in 1881. Rochelle Enticknap 7th February 2003 Anglo European School History ...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 British History: Monarchy & Politics 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 British History: Monarchy & Politics essays

  1. Does Alexander II deserve the title of 'Tsar liberator'?

    reform does begin to be apparent: agricultural production is poor, grain exports low, the growth of manufacturing industry slowed down through the shortage of labour; capitalist development is being impeded through aristocracy and serfdom.?[3] In terms of assessing why Alexander was so keen to do what his father had not

  2. Henry II (1154 - 1189) is generally seen as the main catalyst in the ...

    was swifter than the old legal system.17 For example by 1189 Henry II had successfully erected a permanent body of professional judges and appointed a formed permanent bench at Westminster.18 As well as creating a system of frequent circuits of Royal Justices or Eyres.

  1. How far do you agree that Alexander II brought successful reform to Russia?

    It was also an effort to reduce peasant revolts and to reform the army after the Crimean War. The main successes of the reform was that it was a big step forwards for the Romanovs and some peasants gained large amounts of land in Siberia which equalled out the class levels slightly.

  2. Free essay

    Liberal reforms

    Once young offenders had completed their jail or borstal sentence they would be given a probation officer to help them change their ways. The act was successful as children would be safe, and free from abuse from adult prisons and could grasp a better idea of a better and more fulfilling life from their detention centres and borstals.

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