Biography of Catherine the Great Essays

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Biography of Catherine the Great One of the most interesting, hard-working and powerful people to grace the pages of history during the eighteenth century was Catherine II, Empress of Russia. Historians have not always been so kind to her memory, and all too often one reads accounts of her private life, ignoring her many achievements. The stories of her love affairs have been overly misinterpreted and can be traced to a handful of French writers in the years immediately after Catherine's death, when Republican France was fighting for its life against a coalition that included Russia. Catherine was born Sophia Augusta Frederika of Anhalt-Zerbst on April 21, 1729 in Stettin, then Germany, now Poland. Her father, Prince Christian…show more content…
It was at this time that Catherine, who had never felt more isolated, wrote: "I should have loved my new husband, if only he had been willing or able to be in the least lovable. But in the first days of my marriage, I made some cruel reflections about him. I said to myself: If you love this man, you will be the most wretched creature on Earth. Watch your step, so far as affection for this gentleman is concerned, think of yourself, Madame." The young couple settled down, but the marriage was a miserable failure. Catherine was disappointed with her marriage, but decided to stick it out and concentrate on building herself a powerful group of allies. Catherine occupied herself with reading everything she could lay her hands on. She discovered satisfaction in the works of Plato and Voltaire. Her interest in the intellect caused an even greater distance between Peter and herself. The years passed and there was still no heir in sight. This of course irritated the Empress who wanted to secure a powerful dynasty, and could not do so without the presence of a male heir. She thought it must be Catherine's fault because she was not attracted to her husband. However, it was Peter that was not able to produce a male son, so Elizabeth permitted an affair between Catherine and a Russian military officer named Serge Saltykov. Catherine finally gave birth to a son, whom the Empress named Paul, on September 20, 1754. Peter accepted it as his
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