Why Alexander II emancipated the serfs.

Personal, Economic and Political reasons as to why the Alexander II emancipated the serfs.

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  • Created by: Demi
  • Created on: 20-05-10 10:38

Personal Reasons

TO HELP THE PEOPLE OF RUSSIA

-Alexander was a RELATIVELY humane man (in comparison to previous Tsar) and he condemned Serfdom as 'unfair', 'a burden' and 'detrimental'.

-Alexander had received a liberal (modern) education and was influenced by members of the intelligentsia who had 'western' ideas.

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Economic Reasons

SERFDOM WAS INHIBITING AGRICULTURAL PROGRESS

-By 1860, agricultural progress was needed in Russia due to the population explosion. The inefficient agricultural system meant that not only could they not make enough food for themselves, they couldn't make enough food for the nobles to sell. Moreover, the agricultural system in place meant that only the nobles benefitted from the serfs' work. This led them to lack the motivation to work and try different methods.

SERFDOM WAS PREVENTING INDUSTRIALISATION

-Serfs were bonded to the land so they were unable to move to the urban areas and the fact that they were uneducated meant that they would have made poor workers anyway. The effects of serfdom meant that many of the peasants lived in poverty and were unable to afford factory/consumer goods.

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Political Reasons

SERFDOM WAS A CAUSE OF RUSSIA'S DEFEAT IN THE CRIMEAN WAR

-Serfdom meant that a large amount of Russians were bonded to the land so they were unable to work to produce modern weapons and transport. The fact that the serfs were uneducated meant that theu were unresponsive in battle. They were unable to think for themselves.

THE SERFS WERE BECOMING VIOLENT AND RESTLESS

-The serfs were hostile towards serfdom as it kept them in 'slavery'. Moreover, as a result of the population explosion, the serfs had become unable to provide for themselves. Evidence for this: In the three years prior to the emancipation, 53 masters were killed by serfs.

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Political Reasons (cont.)

THE TSAR'S AUTOCRACY DEPENDED UPON THE SUPPORT OF A CONTENTED NOBLE CLASS

-Serfdom had become unable to provide a decent income for the nobles. Evidence: 66% of serfs were mortgaged by 1860.

-Noble poverty meant that support for Tsarist autocracy was undermined as the nobles were unlikely to support a system under which they were failing to make an existence.

-If a noble's own power was undermined, then the nobles were unable to protect the Tsarist autocracy.

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Comments

Keela

There is also

Russias need to catch up with the industrialising west in order to assert Russias Great Power status.

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