Tsar Alexander II Reforms

The reforms (and counter reforms) of Tsar Alexander II

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Emancipation of the Serfs 1861

  • "The greatest single liberating measure in history" (M.S. Anderson)
  • 23 million serfs given freedom
  • Gained freedom of travel, could marry and have legal status
  • Allowed to own land, however small plots
  • Had to pay redemption tax - over 49 years (over average life expectency!)
  • Peasants still discontent: 647 riots reported in first four months of 1861
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Judiciary Reforms

  • Aimed to catch up with the West and modernize the legal system
  • 1864: Juries introduced in criminal cases
  • A hierarchy of courts was set up for varying degrees of crimes
  • However, later in his reign there were counter reforms: introduction of show trials (Trial of the 50 in 1877) and political cases were removed from courts
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Military Reforms

  • 1856: Recruitment was suspended
  • Length of service reduced
  • By 1870, the military reserve increased from 210 000 to 553 000
  • Military colonies were abolished
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Political Reforms

  • 1864: Zemstva (local government bodies) formed
  • 1867: Power of Zemstva restricted
  • 1870: Dumas formed
  • Estimated 150 000 political prisoners exiled to Siberia
  • Poor peasant representation in politics
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Education Reforms

  • Schools declared open to all classes
  • 1863: Introduction of private schools
  • 1864: Women allowed education
  • 1863: Universities given greater independence, study abroad etc.
  • University numbers grew from 3 600 to 10 000 (as did revolutionary activity!)
  • 1870's re-introduction of state supervision for universities
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Censorship

  • 1862: Censorship moved to the Ministry of the Interior
  • 1863: Prepublication codes reduced
  • 1865: Press allowed to discuss government policy
  • Approved foreign publications allowed into the country
  • However counter-reforms in the 1870's with growth of revolutionary activity
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Comments

Beth Evans


Great notes Thank you!! :D

Sean

Helpful notes thanks, but it may be better to actually have the specific policies names e.g. emancipation of the serfs act 1861.

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