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Aleksandr I (r. 1801-1825) early period and reforms.

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Presentation on theme: "Aleksandr I (r. 1801-1825) early period and reforms."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aleksandr I (r. 1801-1825) early period and reforms

2 But first, Paul I, 1796-1801 Born 1754 Isolated, strict upbringing Tutor Poroshin said Paul “always in a hurry.” Catherine cold to him Became very suspicious, especially of assassination Married Maria Feodorovna (1776), who bore Aleksandr in 1777. Worried about his legitimacy.

3 "To Great Grandfather from Great Grandson" (Прадеду - правнук)”

4 Paul’s reign, 1796-1801 Knights of Malta (1798) Chivalry St. Michael’s Castle Overturned many of Catherine’s laws Decreed strict primogeniture Anti-French, anti-West, then anti-British pro-serf, restricted barshchina to 3/week; nobles saw as interference in their private affairs Imposed travel restrictions Corporal punishment

5 Paul’s assassination, 23 March 1801 Nikita Petrovich Panin Petr von Pahlen Zubov brothers Gen. Levin Benningsen Alexander agreed, but insisted Paul not be killed. Alex was “shocked.” Pahlen: “Enough of playing the child; come and rule!” Legacy: guilt, no children, revealed his duality.

6 Aleksandr’s early years Grandma Catherine supervised education. Tutor was Swiss republican La Harpe From hatred between Paul and Catherine learned dissimulation. 1793: married Elizabeth Alexeevna Two girls, both died in infancy Aleksandr: “I am the unhappiest man on the earth.” (to Swedish ambassador in March 1801)

7 Aleksandr’s early reforms Created “Негласный комитет” – Privy Council of young enthusiasts for reform Two key problems: autocracy and serfdom Neither were solved. 1802: created new ministries to replace colleges: – Military Land Forces – Naval Forces – Foreign Affairs – Justice – Internal Affairs – Finances – Commerce – Education

8 Aleksandr’s early reforms Education: – Divided empire into six educational regions with curators – Founded Universities of Kharkov, St. Petersburg, and Kazan; reconstituted Dorpat (Tartu) and Vilna (Vilnius) universities – Progress slow, but from a very low beginning – But no state-run village schools, scrapped along with serfs’ emancipation.

9 War “intervened” Battle of Austerlitz, December 1805: Napoleon defeated Russia and Austria. Battle of Friedland, June 1807: Napoleon defeated Russia again. Treaty of Tilsit, July 1807 – Russia junior partner – Continental System – Prussia lost much – Duchy of Warsaw

10 At home, Tilsit was very unpopular “…in all the places in Russia most touched by education, the Tilsit peace made the saddest impression: in these places they knew that the alliance with Napoleon could be nothing other than enslavement to him, an acknowledgement of his power over us. I do not possess great wisdom but in this I saw the cruel unfairness of Russians; I became ashamed for them.” (F. F. Vigel, 1786-1856)

11 Mikhail Speransky, 1772-1839 Son of village priest Rose to be two tsars’ advisor Practical man Civil service exam before promotion to 8 th (hereditary) rank Improved government finances 1809 Constitution proposal: series of dumas, division of powers 1802: “I find in Russia two classes: the slaves of the sovereign and the slaves of the landowners. The first call themselves free only in relation to the second; there are no truly free people in Russia, apart from beggars and philosophers.”

12 Why did Speransky fail? Came from wrong estate? Alienated nobility (exams and temporary tax) Left to rely on Alexander alone Alexander not willing to give up his authority. Alex unpopular, used Speransky as scapegoat. Speransky: “You know the suspicious character of the Emperor. Whatever he does he does by halves. He is too feeble to reign and too strong to be governed.” March 1812: Alexander dismissed him.

13 Napoleon’s Continental System, 1807-1812


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