Alexander II's Great Reforms

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  • Alexander II's Great Reforms
    • Emancipation
      • Serfs were granted their own personal freedom over a period of two years.
      • They possessed legal freedoms like owning land, marry without interference and use the law courts.
      • Granted ownership of their houses and plots of land they used to work.
      • Landlords owned the rest of land but some could be bought by peasants
        • However, they could fix the prices.
      • Government paid landowners bonds for what they had lost and made peasants pay 49 years worth of Redemption dues.
      • Domestic serfs who hadn't worked on the land didn't receive any.
    • Economic reforms
      • Finances
        • Von Reutern his chief economic advisor encouraged a 'free trade era' with tariffs removed and foreign investment. He established banking and government account mechanisms.
      • Railways
        • The initial focus on developing infrastructure 1861 - 1600km; 1878 - 22,000km.
      • Metallurgy and cotton
        • Metallurgy slumped without enough expertise; raw cotton increased tenfold.
      • Coal and iron ore
        • John Hughes - New Russia Company and the Noble Brothers brought expertise from Britain and capital from Germany but generally lacked foreign investment.
    • Government reform
      • The removal of some power of the nobility meant Alexander had to make reform to restore order to local government.
        • Zemstva (1864) elected assemblies to run specific areas for the tsar, couldn't discuss political matters only parochial.
        • Duma (1870) similar assemblies for the cities.
      • The electoral system was rigged so that only the richest peasants and nobility could vote.
    • Judiciary
      • Laws needed to be clearly established now that nobility lacked wielded power and corruption could be rooted out.
        • They gave more money to magistrates to avoid bribery
        • A jury system was established
        • Legal proceedings were made uniform across the country.
      • Political cases could be tried secretly.
    • Army
      • Crimea proved the need for training and education of soldiers.
        • They now had six year service, which included education.
        • Nobility were no longer able to escape duty.
    • Education
      • Education would improve people's skills in a range of ways and allow for economic modernisation Radicalism also needed to be rooted out through controlled education.
      • Curriculum was under tight political control even though universities were allowed more autonomy in what they taught through the university statute.
        • The result was the spread of western ideas.


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