Alexander I Essay Research Paper Alexander I

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Alexander I Essay, Research Paper Alexander I was born in St. Petersburg in 1777. His parents were Paul, son of Catherine the Great, and Maria Fyodorovna, the former Princess of Wurttemburg. At his birth he was taken to be raised by his Grandmother Catherine the Great. Due to Alexander s troubled childhood and life, he proved to be very insecure and unstable as the Tsar of Russia. Alexander s childhood was troubled by divisions in the family. Both sides tried to use him for their own purposes. Alexander found himself in a difficult position between his half-mad father and his overwhelming and possessive grandmother. Alexander was obedient to both, learning early in life to conceal his true thoughts. From his father s end, which he preferred to forget, he learned to never

trust anyone. Alexander was merely 17 when his grandmother married him to Princess Louise of Baden-Durlach, who was only 14. The premature marriage had been arranged to guarantee descendants to the Romanov dynasty. It was an unhappy relationship from the beginning. The sweet and charming girl was loved by everyone except her husband. As a wedding present, Catherine gave Alexander the Alexander Palace, showing her preference for his grandson over her son, Paul, by granting Alexander a larger court than his father’s. This further poisoned the atmosphere in the family. These experiences taught Alexander, early in life, how to manipulate those who loved him and he became a natural at changing his views and personality depending on whom he was with at the time. Catherine was

determined that Alexander would receive a Westernized education. This was a startling change for an heir to the Russian throne. Catherine expected that a liberal education would help Alexander to reign wisely for the benefit of the country. Alexander s primary tutor was Cesar La Harpe, a Swiss revolutionary and republican, who implanted in Alexander a strong emotional attachment for the philosophy of Enlightenment, but failed to familiarize him with Russian social and political reality. Alexander became an idealist in the tradition of the Enlightenment. Harpe’s focus on theoretical, abstract principals couldn t possibly have left Alexander with the character to truly be an effective leader. The contradictory nature of his education, the conflicting demands of his grandmother

and loyalty to his father, and the confusion between his political ideals all contributed to his instability. Catherine had already written the manifesto that deprived her son of his rights and designated her grandson as the heir to the throne, when she died suddenly on Nov. 17, 1796. Alexander, who knew of it, did not dare to disclose the manifesto, and Paul, his father, became the emperor. Paul’s reign was a dark period for Russia. He quickly instituted a number of new laws to undermine those aspects of his mother’s reign in which he disagreed with. Paul’s actions went much too far, he infuriated the country and especially the nobility. The monarch’s tyrannical and bizarre behavior led to a plot against him by certain nobles and military men. With the unspoken approval

of Alexander, the Tsar was murdered at the Mikhailovski Castle in St. Petersburg during the night of March 11, 1801. The next day, Alexander was crowned Tsar to succeed his father. His mother, Maria, refused to speak to her son for a long while, she never entirely forgave him for his complicity in his father’s murder. In his first years on the Russian throne, Alexander tried to rule in an enlightened way. After the darkness into which Paul had plunged Russia, Alexander appeared to his subjects as a radiant dawn. He was handsome, strong, pleasant, humane, and full of enthusiasm. He wanted his reign to be a happy one and dreamed of great and necessary reforms. The country was very excited at the prospects of Alexander’s reign. There were great hopes for the future of Russia and