emancipation of the serfs

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  • emancipation of the serfs
    • the moral case
      • members of the royal family from Catherine the great had considered that serfdom was morally and ethnically wrong
      • enlightened nobles and liberal state officials had come to accept that owning someone like a object was wrong
      • Nicholas I himself admitted that serfdom was evil
    • risk of revolt
      • many historians have cited concern for social stability as one of the main reasons
        • however other historians believe that the scale of peasant unrest had been exaggerated as the main sources of data are unreliable tsarists police records
      • there had been serious peasant revolts in the past and Alexander told his nobles that it was better to abolish serfdom from above than wait for it to abolish itself from below
        • the army was made up mainly of peasants so might be difficult for the government to contain a major peasants uprising
    • crineam war
      • it had drawn attention to the state of the army which was mainly comprised of peasants. they were enlisted for period of 25 years
        • military reformers thought that Russia needed a smaller , better trained and equipped army with a reserve
    • economic reasons
      • free labour was more productive than forced labour and it further impoverished the population and stopped the growth of domestic demand which was essential for economic growth
        • hey believed that you needed a free market where peasants could move around to where ever they could be most productive
      • many enlightened government officials in Russia were convinced that it was necessary to abolish serfdom in order to advance the Russian economy
    • main terms of emancipation
      • serfs now legally free. they could marry , travel, vote and trade freelypeasants would be able to keep their houses and land immediate around it the powers of the Mir was strengthened. they were responsible for collecting redemption payments and other taxes peasants had to pay and issued passports allowing peasants to travel
      • peasants were still under the control of the Mir
      • landowners would be compensated for the loss of their land in government *******
      • 1866 state peasants were given the right to buy land the same as the former serfs or to remain tenants
        • most peasants received slightly less land than they worked before and the supply of affordable , good quality land available to the peasants was limited
          • of the land they got was difficult to maintain and yielded little food or profit the land
            • owners received above the market value for the land they were handing over the peasants, the high valuation meant that peasants were paying more for it. also the landowners could decide which part of their holdings they would hand over. 2/3 s of the land was retained by the peasants


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