Compare and contrast Alexander II and Alexander III Essay

1139 WordsFeb 20, 20145 Pages
Compare and contrast Alexander II and Alexander III Although they were father and son, the reigns of Alexander II and Alexander III took off in completely different directions. Alexander II was committed to his empire by vowing to reform Russia, making it more in line with nineteenth-century western society. His son, on the other hand, was the unprepared tsar, whose actions were literally reactions to his father’s unexpected assassination. Consequently, Alexander II went down in history as much more productive in the field of domestic policy; in dealing with revolutionaries; and in his foreign policy than his son Alex III would ever be. 1855 was a tough time for Alexander II to take the throne. Russia was in the middle of a costly war…show more content…
Alexander III’s stance on domestic issues came as no surprise. As a youngster, he was tutored by Konstantin Pobodonestev, a conservative, forceful man who strongly opposed Western ideology. Pobodonestev’s ideas and beliefs rubbed off on the young boy, and he blamed his father’s liberal-minded reforms as the cause for his murder. Seeking to strengthen the autocracy, he gave officials the power to declare a state of emergency, and to arrest or fine anyone unreliable. He also cleverly cut off schools by setting up discriminatory admission rules, against women, poor families, and the Jews. He then forced the expansion of Russian culture and language by forcing everyone in the nation to speak, write, and think in Russian; otherwise known as Russification. Alexander III preferred having as much control as possible over his people, something he did not have in common with his father. Despite all the work Alexander II did toward reforming Russia, the “Era of Great Reforms” left one crucial aspect unaltered: the power of the emperor. The intentional neglect of this was what kept the reforms from realizing their true potential. This led to dissatisfaction, which encouraged repression, terror, and most importantly: revolution. The first was the Polish Rebellion, caused by the failure of Russian authorities to suppress Polish nationalism. Although the Poles failed, other minorities sprung up for their voice
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