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

To what extent did Alexander II's reforms cause more problems than they solved?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

TO WHAT EXTENT DID ALEXANDER II'S REFORMS CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS THAN THEY SOLVED? When Alexander II came to throne in 1956 Russia just emerged as the defeated power from the Crimean War. The country was falling behind its European competitors who were in the beginning of the Industrial Age. Alexander II had a difficult task to do: to reform the whole Russia towards a modernised country and risk his authority or to wait behind -as his father did- and risk both his authority and Russia's influence in the international affairs. It is easy to see that whatever way he would go, he would risk further problems. The question is whether he managed to outweigh in numbers and difficulty the ones that arose by solving the old ones. The first reform of Alexander II was the relaxation of censorship. He freed the Russian press by 1858, allowing the Russians to read about more liberal views. However, after the assassination attempt on the Tsar in 1866, censorship was re-introduced once again - even though it wasn't as restrictive as it had been under Nicholas I. In the beginning, this exposed conservatives to arguments for a more liberal form of emancipation, and many nobles - who were formerly against the freedom of the serfs - began to see the need for a change. ...read more.

Middle

The zemstva did for the first time allow initiative from below so ending the administrative monopoly of officialdom. These new local organisations were better suited to respond to local needs and in many places they did important work in education and public healthcare, improving the lives of every-day Russians. It also created the 'Third Element' by appointing often liberal minded professionals, like scientists and teachers. However, these reforms endangered the Tsar's autocracy, as people from the 'Third Element' were the ones who could question Alexander's power and provide alternatives to people. In this way the radical intelligentsia emerged, people dedicated to the idea of creating a fairer, more equal society. Their dedication often expressed itself in uncompromising hatred for the tsarist regime, and in 1881 it led to the Tsar's assassination. Also, due to the heavily biased voting system, very few or no peasants entered the regional zemstva, this increasing the gap between the two social classes and furthermore dividing Russia. Also, attempt at national organisation was stopped. All these arouse government hostility. A reform in the army was absolutely necessary after the shameful defeat in the Crimean War. Alexander II extended conscription to all the classes, not only peasants - with partial exemptions for the educated. Service was reduced from 25 to 6 years, plus 9 in reserve, which could be further reduced according to the educational level of the soldier. ...read more.

Conclusion

Solutions for whom?' It seems that from most of the reforms the peasants benefited little, even after their so called emancipation, they were further flooded in problems as now they even had to pay for their land. However, the nobles gained financially from this reform. The reform of the army and of the education probably brought the peasants some advantages. However, the fact that poorer people could be educated represented a danger for the Tsar, as radical students emerged from campuses. The reform of the local government gave more power to the gentry, but it lessened the Tsar's control over his people. Therefore it is very difficult to assess whether Alexander II's reforms caused or solved more problems. Overall it may seem that Russia was better off, as it reached a certain financial stability, its army and economy improved and there were some important steps made towards a more civilised society. However, politically it was in ruins, the great emancipation was nothing but a reform that changed the lives of the serfs into worse, the army was still defeated in 1905 by Japan and Russia's agriculture was in deterioration as well. A top on this, from 1866 Alexander II started taking back from the freedoms that he allowed, which ultimately caused his death and the end of the Tsarist Russia. The problems that his reforms caused were more far-reaching than the solutions it solved, and therefore we can conclude that his reform caused more problems than it solved. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. To What Extent Were Hitlers Policies the Cause of World War II?

    This combined with the demilitarization of the Rhineland were symbols of the failed treaty of Versailles and the unfair treatment to which Germans were subjected to by it, so naturally Hitler's aim was to rid Germany of these constraints. The remilitarization had originally been planned for 1937 however a combination

  2. Compare and Contract the policies of Alexander II and Alexander III in Russia?

    Their curriculum aimed to 'strengthen religious and moral notions and to spread basic knowledge'. Secondary schools grew both in terms of numbers and in an extention to include women (1864) resulting in a doubling of numbers to 800,000 during the 1860s.

  1. Wilhelm II; the Emperor who lost interest

    We know that he personally selected and appointed his first two chancellors but when it comes to B�low and Bethmann-Hollweg things were a bit different. Baron von B�low relied heavily on personal charm and flattery and it was mainly because of his constant praising of the Kaiser that he was given the post.

  2. To what extent is it fair to say that with the impact of the ...

    The Bolsheviks were waging a war against the ancien regim�. For them, an old institution like the Orthodox Church was a feature of backwardness that they wanted to destroy. Superstitious nonsense would not help to educate the people. The Church also possessed considerable influence among Russians.

  1. Interwar Years: 1919-39

    Protectionism * Many governments reacted to the Great Depression by trying to protect their own industries from foreign competition by means of raising tariff barriers against imported goods. * In 1930 a tariff in the USA called the Hawley-Smoot Tariff greatly restricted foreign imports but, in the process, sparked off a tariff 'war' with other countries.

  2. Was the Tsar to blame for his own downfall?

    Three years of total war damaged the Russian economy greatly bringing a contraction in the economy, inflation and a decline in the living conditions of Russians. Russia's blocked trade routes only aggravated the situation as Russia could not export her grain.

  1. IB History HL, Extended Notes: Russia, the Tsars, the Provisional Govenment and the Revolution.

    Launched huge export drive of grain and secured a French loan to fund his industrialization measures. 1892 the Russian state had a budget surplus for the first time (massive social cost). 1881 to 1894 coal output almost doubled and pig iron more than doubled.

  2. To what extent did the reforms of Alexander II achieve his aims

    They formed the lowest social class of the Russian society. Apart from executing them, the landowner could treat his serfs as he liked. The serfs lived in dreadful condition; the majority of them lived on the edge of starvation. However after the Crimean War, things started to change.

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