starter activityOn 13 March 1881, after a succession of attempts on his life, Tsar AlexanderII’s (1855-81) luck finally ran out. We are going to discuss the achievementsand failures of his reign.Before we start, why do you think we was assassinated?Who do you think did the assassinating?
Crimean War• Russia had expanded greatly by themid-1850s but had very fewcoastlines for naval bases.• The Crimean Peninsula on the BlackSea gave them access to trade withEurope via the Mediterranean.• However, their ships could only leavethe Black Sea via Constantinople(Istanbul), capital of weak OttomanEmpire.• Britain, France and Russia all hadconcerns over the weakness of theTurks and thus maintaining theiraccess to the Bosporus.• They were concerned about Russianexpansion into Constantinople.• Russia also had long seen it as theirduty to protect the many OrthodoxChristians living in the OttomanEmpire
Crimean War continued…• The Russian army rarelycame up against the Imperialpowers of Western Europe.• Russia showed greatcourage, comradeship andthe capacity to improvise.• However, they relied heavilyon outdated technologiesand placed great importanceon cavalry on the battlefield.The defeat of the Russians to theBritish/French alliance has beenattributed to a number of factors;• Poorly trained armed forces• Disorganisation• Inadequate communicationlinks ensured instructionscould not be relayedeffectively• Industry could not supportthe war effort• Russia was unable to mobilize her obviousnumerical strength• No real rail network to speak of prevented forcesfrom crossing the huge distances of the RussianEmpire to provide support.• Did not have an army of trained reserves –government did not want to train the serfs as theybelieved they would expect freedom in return forservice.
More Crimean War…• An estimated 220,000 of the 700,000Russian troops died.• The catastrophic defeat of theRussian armed forces confirmedRussia were socially andeconomically backward comparedto Western Europe• Their society was still largely feudalin nature and heavily reliant onserfdom• Many people ingovernment, including the Tsar wereresistant to change as they fearedlosing their power and status.• As you can see, many of the problemsdiscussed the last lesson led Russia tobe defeated in the Crimean War
Think-DiscussWhat issues areas did the Tsar need to reform toensure they never see a repeat of the embarrassmentin the Crimea?
Alexander II, Tsar of all the Russians!• Alexander came to the throne in1855 as the Crimean War wasdrawing to an end.• As we are aware, he faced manyproblems; Russia was still a feudalstate whose economy dependedheavily on agriculture• Two very different groups soughtchange in Russia. They wereknown as SLAVOPHILS andWESTERNISERS. Both sidesincluded artists, writers, politiciansand military men.• Later in the lesson, you mustdecide if Alexander’s reformswould have pleasedSlavophils, Westernisers or both…
Slavophils• Slavophils wanted to maintain traditionalRussian values.• They were conservative in nature andextremely proud nationalists, shunningliberalism and democracy.• They believed that change was only possibleby using Russia’s own resources and herinner strength as a nation
Westernisers• Wished to copy the democratic reformstaken place in Western Europe• Pushed for democracy and capitalism tocome to the fore.• Despised the Slavophils obsession withtradition.• Attacked the ancient privileges of thearistocracy and defended the rule of law
Alexander II - Profile• Alexander II had received a liberal educationunlike his predecessors.• He was certainly more receptive to new ideas andunderstood the need for change.• However, he has been accused by historians asbeing prone to apathy and indecision.• By appointing both reformist and reactionaryministers he prevented a consistent reform policybeing put in place.• There is evidence to suggest he did believe inchange but did not intend to reduce powers, hesimply wanted to make autocracy more efficient.• His father, Nicholas I had said to Alexander on hisdeathbed “Hold on to everything!”What does it mean to be REFORMIST and/orREACTIONARY?When we discuss his reforms – do you think he wasdoing it out of self-interest or for the good of thepeople?Is this anindividual causingchange or warcausing change?
Task• Create an A3 mind-map of Alexander’s reforms.• Create one mind-map for The End of Serfdomand one for Other Reforms (p. 25-33)• For each reform you must include;- reasons for reform- details of the reform (what was reformed?)- consequences (did it satisfy everyone?)
Areas of ReformUse these headings and page numbers to organise yourmind-maps1. End of Serfdom (p. 25-29)2. Army (p.29)3. Local government (p.30)4. Law (p.30-1)5. Censorship and the press (p.31)6. Education (p.31-2)7. Economy (p.32)8. Nationalities (p.32)
Reforms – Let’s Take NotesEmancipation• Serfdom had for so long been a cornerstone of Russian life and thebedrock of the economy. Like slavery in America, removing it wasproblematic.• Liberal minded nobles wanted to grant full personal liberty whilstconservatives were looking to maintain control of their assets andtherefore the serfs/peasantry.• The government wanted to create a reserve army of peasants thatcould be mobilised at speed. This was a prime motivation for theemancipation of the serfs.• The Great Emancipation Statute was issued in 1861.• Despite the reforms, the ex-serfs were in no way equal with peasantfarmers in Western Europe. The process of emancipation took severalyears and in exchange for their freedom, they still had to pay thegovernment for their own land over a period of 49 years.• These redemption dues varied from area to area and more than 1.5million ex-serfs had no land at all.• By 1881 less than 60 % of peasants had enough land to sustain life.• It is difficult to blame Tsar completely when looking at issues facedthroughout Russian history in terms of agriculture (over dependence).READ PAGE 26-27-28 FOR MORE ON EMANCIPATION
Other Reforms (in brief)• MILITARY - The length of military service was reduced andthe Military Conscription Act (1874) saw professionallytrained officers replace those who had gained their positionvia hereditary privileges.• Between 1874-1894 – 2-3 million men learned to read andwrite in the armed forces.• CENSORSHIP – (1865) - Censorship in the press wasrelaxed. New set of guidelines issued to editors.• LOCAL GOVT – (1864) - Local government assemblies calledZemstva gave more say to people in the localities.• LAW – (1864) - Justice system became more independentand fairer with juries and lawyers representing the accused.• EDUCATION – (1863) - Universities were given moreautonomy and education was theoretically opened to allsocial classes.READ P. 30-33 FOR MORE ON THE OTHER REFORMS
ECONOMIC REFORM• Industrial development was noticeable but slowunder Alexander II.• Increase in the industrial workforce.• New investment mostly came from abroad.• Did little to reform govt. finances.• Railways built with imported materials• Grew from 2,200 to 14,200 miles.THE NATIONALITIES• Reawakened interest in folk traditions andnative languages amongst non-Russians• Alex II relaxed controls in Poland – gave themtheir own archbishop• Polish rebellion against Russian appointed PM inPoland crushed in 1864.• Finland given their own currency andparliament.• Jews allowed into higher education andgovernment service and to move freely aroundEmpire.END GAME• Reforms groundto halt by late1860s• Alex II appointedmoreConservativeministers• Firstassassinationattempt in 1866
ConsequencesPositive Consequences• Communications began to steadily improve with the Trans-Siberian railwaybeing completed in 1903.• Heavy industry and consumer manufacturing increased however manybusinesses were owned by foreign investors.• New class of professional people emerged as a readership for the liberal mindednewspapers and books. These were known as the Bourgeoisie or theIntelligentsia.• Alexander II was actually looking to step up his program of reform prior to hisassassination in 1881Negative Consequences –• The Zemstvos had no links with other areas of government so the politicalsystem was even more incoherent.• The reforms did not generally satisfy many Russians;• Ex-serfs were little better off. They had little or no interest in increasing cropyields or improving efficiency due to the limitations of private enterprise.• The nobility resented loss of land and influence.• Liberals wanted greater say in the governance of the country• Radicals a wanted complete overhaul of system.• Much of population illiterate so reform of the press made little real difference.
Think-Discuss• What was Alexander II’s most importantreform?Return to the question below:1. Do you think he was reforming out of self-interest or for the good of the people?2. Does Alexander II deserve the title of ‘TsarLiberator?’
HistoriographyHistoriography can mean either;‘The study of historical writing’or‘The writing of history’We need to consider the historiography for your A2Historical Enquiry by analysing, comparing and evaluatingthe different opinions of writers past and present.So… what do historians have to say about Alexander II?Answer the questions in groups, you do not need toproduce written answers.