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

To what extent was Arthur Balfour responsible for Conservative decline?

Extracts from this document...


How stable was the Tsarist government at the turn of the 20th Century? At the turn of the twentieth century, Russia had been under Tsarist rule for over 300 years. The philosophies of different Tsars mainly fell into two categories: that of reform; and that of the Slavophile and Russification. Tsar Nicholas II was reigning at the turn of the twentieth century and was a firm Slavophile, and he therefore believed in the repression of the "dark masses" and that he was "God's anointed" in Russia. In many ways, the stability of Tsarist governments was dependent upon the attitude of the Tsar, which often either destabilized or improved the stability of his government. This essay will explore how stable was the tsarist government of Nicholas II. In 1900, the Tsarist autocratic government faced problems that other tsars had never previously faced. The tsar wanted Russia to modernise so it could stay as a major power in the world, however this was hard to do whilst maintaining the autocracy that was the foundation of the system of government in Tsarist Russia. Modernisation and industrialisation led to better-educated people, and a rise in the middle class who wanted more say in government and the running of the country. ...read more.


One of the most prominent of these were the Social Democrats. Amongst these were non-Russian nationalities that wanted more self-control and resented being controlled by Russia. Overall, the autocratic system of the Tsar, which had served since the feudal era, was now falling apart due to social, political and economic pressures. The Tsar, Nicholas was doing nothing to help it, in fact his support of Slavophilic policies (e.g. the repression of the dark masses), could have increased the speed at which the system, which he was trying to maintain, fell apart. Russia had an extremely feudal social system, which had remained largely unchanged for three centuries. This meant that Tsarist Russia was seen as a backward society by much of Europe. 77% of the population were peasants or serfs who were poor and illiterate. This poor quality of life, even at the best of times angered the serfs. Poor harvests led to starvation and uprisings amongst the lower classes, which were outraged by the fact that they starved whilst the aristocracy gorged themselves at lavish banquets and feasts. This created great instability. The government dealt with these problems using force, which, although stopping unrest in the short term, further created hatred for the tsar and his government. ...read more.


In conclusion, Russia and its government were not very stable at the turn of the twentieth century. Some problems had been around for centuries, while others were relatively short-term. The social and economic imbalance between the aristocrats and the general population, brought about by the autocratic system of government had been a major problem for centuries, whilst the inefficient and bureaucratic method of government only served to increase the speed at which the tsarist system of government decayed. As with the Roman Empire, once this had begun to happen, it was only a matter of time before revolution or invasion utterly changed the political climate of the country and its empire. The problem of modernisation also contributed to Russia's problems. Although Witte did his best to help Russia's economic problems, and the government was able to stop any opposition that would decrease stability in the country. Overall, in the end Russia was in terrible condition. It was extremely weak in political, social and economic terms, and with the rise in the educated middle class and revolutionaries, the tsarist government had become too unstable to have any hope of continuing as the same political system it currently was. Change was inevitable. ?? ?? ?? ?? Alistair Hughes 04/11/2008 ...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. To what extent was Stalin responsible for the modernisation of Russia?

    In 1858, 19,379,631 state serfs were in Russia, which took up at least 80% of the population at the time. The need for urgent reform was recognised by at least three people but was always put down by the nobility who continued to exploit the serfs.

  2. How did the Holocaust happen, and who is responsible?

    In 1935 the Jews were forbidden to represent their country in the Army. Nuremberg laws were passed on the 15th of September, 1935 which stated Jewish people couldn't be citizens, only those whom had German blood. Germans and Jews were no longer allowed to have relationships, this level of interference

  1. Holocaust Denial

    Other claims include the notion that the documentary evidence in support of the Holocaust, photographs and the Diary of Anne Frank for example, is fabricated, that survivor testimonies are unreliable, and that the Nazi prisoners' confessions were obtained through the use of torture - a process which can lead to inaccurate information.

  2. To what extent did the increase in the persecution of witches in Europe from ...

    Using Germany as a specific example, the late 16th and 17th centuries for Germany were a time of political and religious upheaval. Politically, the Holy Roman Empire grew weaker while new territorial states gained power. Geographical evidence points to the possibility that during the period, Europe suffered a ?mini ice

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