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The Examination of One of Russia's Greatest Leaders - Peter the Great

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Introduction

The Examination of One of Russia's Greatest Leaders: Peter the Great Paul Nguyen Mr. Petrusa November 6th 2002 Modern Western Civilization The world is chaotic by nature. For this reason, both men and women alike have stepped forward to lead their people. As such, these people have been gifted with valor and courage to take their countries into ever lasting prosperity. An example of this kind of leader would be the grand emperor of Russia, Peter the Great (1672-1725). Peter the Great is a man who put his country before himself. As a matter of fact, Peter died saving one of his servants who fell overboard on one of his many expeditions. One will have to wonder what kind of man had this much energy to revolutionize their countries. In accordance, one will have to study the personal history of this great man. Consequently, one should learn his methods in achieving his goals. Such knowledge could help future leaders make more informed decisions. Lastly, the study of his accomplishments will give us the scope of how great the influence of this man had in his nation. To this extent, people like this must be studied to honor and help further our nation as a whole. Therefore, Peter the Great must be examined thoroughly with the following criteria: The personal history of Peter, the methods he employed to help achieve mother Russia's prerogative, and finally what he has accomplished for Russia in his life span. Peter was born in Moscow of the second marriage of his father, Alexis I, who ruled Russia from 1645 to 1676. Alexis's first marriage to Maria Miloslavsky, had produced 13 children, but only two of the sons, Fyodor and Ivan survived. After Maria died in 1669 Alexis married Natalia Naryshkin in 1671, and Peter, a strong and healthy child, was born the next year1. Fyodor III succeeded his father as tsar, yet died without an heir in 1682. ...read more.

Middle

Their mangled bodies were displayed publicly as a valuable lesson to all. The Streltsy soon disbanded altogether. Finally, Sofia was forced to become a nun, as was Peter's wife, (Eudoxia Lopukhina) who had sympathized with the rebels8. In addition, after returning home the tsar commanded that officials, courtiers and the military conform to Western standards of appearance, even going as far as ordering them to cut their beards and wear Western-style clothing. With the beginning of the new century, Peter changed the Old Russian calendar to the Julian calendar used in the West to conduct business with other countries. Before long, however, these and other reform measures had to yield to the prosecution of the Great Northern War (1700-1721) against Sweden. Peter's journey west did not result in a great alliance against the Ottomans, but it led to one against Sweden. Russia fought with Denmark and the union of Poland and Saxony against Sweden to win the Baltic coastline, the "window into Europe," and to break Swedish dominance over the northern part of the continent. At the time, Sweden was considered to have the strongest army in all of Europe and was led by the most famous commander, the youthful King Charles XII. Thus, the war required the utmost valiant exertion from the primitive Russia. In 1700, Russia was crushed by the Swedes. Peter learned his lesson and soon transformed the Russian army to the modern times, and hence turned tide of war. By 1703 the Russians had won important victories against the Swedes. Peter even founded Saint Petersburg at the site of a former Swedish fortress on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Finland9. Russia destroyed invading Swedish forces at Poltava on July 8, 1709, and, although the war lasted many more years, the Swedes could not ever gain the advantage. By 1714 Russian troops occupied most of Finland, then a Swedish duchy. ...read more.

Conclusion

Peter the Great was unconditionally admired, almost worshiped, in his native country by the educated public during the Age of Enlightenment, which followed after his death and which he had done so much to introduce. He then became a subject of argument in the first half of the 19th century among such ideologists as the Westernizers, who applauded Peter's accomplishments, and the Slavophiles, who claimed he had betrayed his country's traditions with his reforms. While historical studies provided a more realistic context for understanding Peter the Great and his significance, his figure remained immense in Russian literature and culture. Even Soviet Marxist writing after the Russian Revolution of 1917 applauded the emperor. Soviet historians de-emphasized the role of personality in history and stressed the oppressive feudal nature of Peter's reign, but they glorified his creation of the navy, his military reform and victories, and the emergence of Russia as a great world power. End Note 1. McDermott, Kathleen. Peter the Great. Chelsea House, 1990 pp 25-26 2. McDermott, Kathleen. Peter the Great. Chelsea House, 1990. pp 35 3. Jonge, Alex. Fire & Water: A Life of Peter the Great. First American, 1980 pp 225-27 4. Troyat, Henri. Peter the Great. Whiteside Limited, TO 1987 pp 196-97 5. Massie, Robert K. Peter the Great: His Life and World. Ballantine, 1980 pp 50 6. Jonge, Alex. Fire & Water: A Life of Peter the Great. First American, 1980 pp 317 7. Troyat, Henri. Peter the Great. Whiteside Limited, TO 1987 pp 163 8. Massie, Robert K. Peter the Great: His Life and World. Ballantine, 1980 pp 89 9. Troyat, Henri. Peter the Great. Whiteside Limited, TO 1987 pp 186 10. Torchinsky, Oleg. Cultures of the World: Russia North Bellmore: Marshall Cavendish Corp. 1994. pp 204 11. Troyat, Henri. Peter the Great. Whiteside Limited, TO 1987 pp 294 12. Torchinsky, Oleg. Cultures of the World: Russia North Bellmore: Marshall Cavendish Corp. 1994 pp 310 13. Troyat, Henri. Peter the Great. Whiteside Limited, TO 1987 pp 245-246 - 1 - ...read more.

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