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To what extent does Alexander II deserve the title

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Introduction

When Alexander the second came to power in 1855, he inherited many of the problems that augmented from his previous predecessor, Nicholas the first. This led the tsar to undertake a series of great reforms, which gave him the charming title of "Liberator". However, were his motives clearly to bring change and a better Russia or were there other motives? Did he expect something in return? After all, for the sake of autocracy he couldn't just welcome liberation with arm wide open, but rather with a wary handshake. Perhaps the most significant reform was the emancipation of the serfs. This sought to update the structure of the current serf system and in turn reverse the fortunes of the failing nobility. ...read more.

Middle

Unrest would die down subsequently in the countryside. Alexander the second did not fail entirely though. Nobles were compensated with political power for the reduction of their land. One must also consider the awful conditions already at the countryside before reform. The tsar at least made an effort to combat the out- dated structures. The tsar also tried to reform the local politics and the economy. The zenistra (local council) would govern over many issues such as education. Despite early fast establishments of the council, by 1917 only 43 of the 70 provinces of Russia were converted. With the duma (created in 1870), cabinet, the zenistra proved to be quite useful with 15,000 extra schools being introduced by 1880. ...read more.

Conclusion

It may be unfair to name Alexander the second as a selfish Machiavellian, as he did not have perhaps, the mental capacity. His reforms seemed not to be measured but were reflections of his personality, because of their blatant inconsistency. The tsar could be seen in some context as a liberator, simply for attempting to develop an undeveloped, traditional ruling philosophy. As the lonesome ruler over Russia the tsars had to control and decide its fate. Emancipation was at least given priority, which had been demoted for many years. It may not have been the ideal end result, especially for the peasantry, but it had reversed old age policies. Liberation may have been instilled with some importance and credibility, but above all else, autocracy had to be upheld. ...read more.

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