Was Alexander Ii Using Reform for the Good of the People or for the Good of Himself? Essay

917 WordsFeb 21, 20154 Pages
Was Alexander II using reform for the good of the people or for the good of himself? Alexander II, also known as the Tsar liberator was famous for his reforms which included his most famous, the emancipation of the Russian serfs in 1861. From Source one, which is a primary source it shows Alexander II wanted to free the serfs but he also didn’t want the landowners which the serfs occupied to massively suffer from this reform. ‘It has been understood that the landlords would not be deprived of rights legally acquired, except for a fit and sufficient indemnity’ this shows that Alexander II gave the opportunity for serfs to buy the land of their landowners and do with it as they please. However it did not always work out well as the government would loan the serfs this money and then have them pay it back over 49 years. A reason for this could’ve been that Alexander II was worried about a revolution from below from the serfs if serfdom was not abolished after the loss in the Crimean war. Also from source one I can gather that Alexander II may have been worried about the serfs responsibility which he had bestowed upon them ‘Only by assiduous labor, a rational expenditure of their strength and resources’....’can they hope for prosperity and progress’ This shows that Alexander II may not be offering any solid support for the serfs in their now free lives and that they have to organise their money well as they owed lots of money back to the state through redemption payments, meaning they couldn’t live the more prosperous life they fully expected. Source 2 shows how Alexander II was in a tough position as he did not want to fully upset the serfs or the nobility. ‘To give the land meant to ruin the nobility, and to give freedom without land meant to ruin the peasantry’ This here may have been the platform which led Alexander II into manipulating the

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