The History Learning Site, 22 May Alexander III was under no illusion that he could suffer the same fate as his father. He introduced repression of opponents as the corner stone of his reign.
Historian Lionel Kochan described him as "the best prepared heir the Russian throne ever had". However, Alexander was less of a disciplinarian than his father and was more open to the arguments of others around him.
Deeply influenced by defeat in Crimean war and by liberal ministers, Alexander II undertook extensive reforms of Russian society and government. In particular, he emancipated the serfs, which has been described by Tim Chapman as "the single most important law or decree issued by any tsar in nineteenth-century Russia" and is generally seen as one of the most significant social reforms of the nineteenth century.
Situation when Alexander II came to power: The loss in Crimea showed Alexander the need to modernize in order to strengthen Russia and retain its status as a Great Power. Increasing criticisms of the institution of serfdom that constituted the basis of Russian society and the biggest problem facing the government - how to deal with this?
Increasingly abolition of serfdom was seen as necessary to allow progress and modernization in Russia, but the question was how was this to be done?
There was significant peasant unrest and social instability, with over peasant revolts between and When Nicholas I tried to recruit troops for the Crimean war from the peasantry this peasant unrest increased considerably, and the levels of violence demanded that the army had to be used to restore order.
Defeat in the Crimea and the succession of a new, younger tsar created a political climate more favourable to reform. Alexander II encouraged this optimism and hope for reform by relaxing press censorship and allowing free discussion of the serfdom issue. He hoped for a peace and stability in the countryside, with a prosperous and contented peasantry, and for a degree of industrial growth that would strengthen and modernize the army and the economy.
In a nutshell, Alexander wished to chart the delicate middle-path of making the changes necessary to modernize Russia without losing the support of the conservative nobles who supported the Romanov autocracy.
In short, and to summarize, Alexander II wished to modernize Russia as a means of strengthening the autocratic tsarist state.
Put simply, he wanted to have his autocratic cake and eat it! The process of emancipating the serfs: The hostility of the nobility and the landowners to such a measure prevented reform.
As their financial and social status depended on how many serfs they owned, these groups were reluctant to lose status and wealth in favour of the peasants. As the tsar relied upon the nobility to rule the country he could not afford to lose their support by forcing through this reform against their will.
The stability of the Russian social system was deeply dependent on the institution of serfdom, and their were fears from the nobility and Slavophiles that emancipating the serfs would lead to chaos and anarchy if the peasants were to be freed from the control of their serf-owning masters.
Trying to resolve these complex issues and agree on a law to emancipate the serfs involved a long process of reaching compromise with the different powerful interests that feared they would lose out, and it took Alexander five years to complete his Emancipation edict from March to February As the above obstacles suggest, the central issues at stake were land and control: How was society to be kept under control without these obligations?
Should the serfs be given any land? Should the nobles be compensated for the loss of their land? How should this be paid for given the poverty of the country following the Crimean war? When should any such measure take effect?
Ultimately, given the autocratic nature of political power in Russia, Alexander must have exercised a personal commitment to emancipating the serfs whatever his motives in doing soas any changes or reforms were obviously dependent upon his approval to be implemented.
Without his consent, no reform would have been possible. Facing social and economic problems and the Crimean defeat, Alexander chose to listen to reformers and personally played an important role in bringing about this major reform.
Details of the Emancipation Edict February Serfs granted personal freedom within 2 years, allowing them to own land, marry without interference, use law courts and set up their own businesses.
Freed peasants were granted ownership of their houses and the plot of land they had worked on. The government then compensated landlords for land lost to peasants, on a very high valuation of the land. The local mir was made responsible for collecting and paying the redemption taxes, and thus exercised considerable control over each peasant.
State serfs were granted the same terms, but the transition period was 5 years not 2 and they generally received larger plots of lands. Household serfs came out worst of all: Responses to emancipation Emancipation was both criticized and praised at the same time.
However, other radicals hoping for greater change argued that the reforms pleased no-one. Peasants tended to be dissatisfied with what they saw as the shortcomings of the deal - i.The future Tsar Alexander II was the eldest son of the grand duke Nikolay Pavlovich (who, in , became the emperor Nicholas I) and his wife, Alexandra Fyodorovna (who, before her marriage to the Grand Duke and baptism into the Orthodox Church, had been the princess Charlotte of Prussia).
Alexander II came to the throne in March at the age of 36, having been well prepared and trained to take over from his father, Nicholas I. Historian Lionel Kochan described him as "the best prepared heir the Russian throne ever had ".
Explain why Alexander III introduced reactionary policies after (12) The years leading up to were fraught with political opposition and threats of revolution.
The autocracy was being threatened and publicly questioned by groups such as groups of student radicals like ‘the Organisation’.
Free Essay: How successful were the reactionary policies of Tsar Alexander III? Tsar Alexander’s reign () has been known as a period of extreme.
With a confusion following the death of Tsar Alexander I, threats to the absolute power of the Romanovs emerged. It failed resulting to three decades of reactionary policies – .
Tsar Alexander II ascended as Tsar and Autocrat of all Russia in Surprisingly, as the son of one of Russia’s most reactionary and conservative Tsars, Alexander was tutored by a liberal writer named Vasily Zhukovsky.