Alexander the Second and the Title Tsar Liberator Essay

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Alexander the Second and the Title Tsar Liberator

In the 19th Century, Russia had no zemstva, very little education, industry and railway building, a biased judicial system and very few freed peasants. Czar Alexander II, who succeeded Nicolas I in 1855, went some ways to remedying these deficiencies through a series of reforms. Alexander II became the great modernizer of Russia, walking a delicate line between preserving Russia's Slavic identity and enabling its people to benefit from Western advancements. For this reason he was known to some as the ‘ Czar Liberator’. However, indeed he was a liberator in name only.

Alexander II initiated substantial reforms in education, the government, the
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For the educational reform, the Czar adopted a more liberal education. Censorship was relaxed, the universities were given freedom and independence, and more Western ideas were introduced to scholars and students. People were more open-minded and became to demand more under these ‘liberal’ reforms.

Though Czar Alexander II returned to reactionary rule when an attempt was made to assassinate him in the 1860s, he did turn once more to reform in 1880. He made plans to set up a General Commission which would include representatives from the Zemstva. This would not be a parliament but would be a ‘consultative voice’ when the Czar required it. But this was an attempt towards a parliamentary government.

Superficially, Czar Alexander II seemed to be so liberate from his series of reform. Yet, notwithstanding these measures, it would be wrong, as is sometimes done, to describe Alexander II as a liberal. He was in fact a firm upholder of autocratic principles, sincerely convinced both of his duty to maintain the God-given autocratic power he had inherited and of Russia's unreadiness for constitutional or representative government.

For the emancipation of serfs, it was actually essential more than out of the Czar’s willingness. The bulk of the Russian population, about 80%, were the peasants and serfs. Alexander II recognised that emancipation was vital. Freed
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