Alexander I Essay Research Paper Alexander I — страница 2

  • Просмотров 385
  • Скачиваний 12
  • Размер файла 17

an anticipation of a more liberal form of government and increased freedom. Some hoped for an end to the institution of serfdom, which sapped the nation of its energy. At first, the Tsar did little to discourage these aspirations. Slowly, Alexander turned away from his childhood dreams and principals. Increasingly he found it easier to get results by using the power of autocracy. Once he began using autocratic power, administered through men who served at his will, it corrupted him. The longer he used this method of ruling Russia, the more difficult it became for him to return to the principals of good government and the role of the monarch he had learned in his youth. Out of a sincere desire to innovate, Alexander considered a constitution and the limitation of the autocracy,

but he recoiled before the danger of imposing sudden change on nobility, and then rejected it. Furthermore, he was a visionary who could not transform his dreams into reality. Because of his unstable personality, he would become exhilarated by the notion of grand projects, while hesitant at carrying them out. Finally, the western theoretical education of Alexander had not prepared him for gaining a clear vision of the realities of Russian life. Throughout Alexander s reign, he and his close advisers corrected many of the injustices of the preceding reign and made many administrative improvements. Their principal achievement was the initiation of a vast plan for public education, which involved the formation of many schools of different types, institutions for training teachers,

and the founding of three new universities. Alexander also abolished torture in Russian courts, repealed the prohibition of foreign books, and even allowed private printing presses to be established. Nevertheless, despite the humanitarian ideas implanted in him by La Harpe and despite his own wish to make his people happy, Alexander lacked the energy necessary to carry out the most urgent reform, the abolition of serfdom. The institution of serfdom was a disgrace that kept Russia in a disastrously backward state. But to liberate the serfs, who composed three-quarters of the population, would arouse the hostility of their noble masters, who did not want to lose the slaves on whom their wealth and comfort depended. Serfdom was a continuing burden on the Russians. It prevented

modernization of the country, which was at least a century behind the rest of Europe. The war with Napoleon, which ravaged Russia taking hundreds of thousands of lives and destroyed some of the Empire’s finest cities, took it’s own, personal toll on Alexander. He was troubled by the loss of life and the war itself, which he saw as a not only a battle between nations, but also a spiritual battle between the forces of good and evil. After many battles and setbacks, the victory of the Allies over Napoleon was crowned by a formal entry of the triumphant generals into Paris. Alexander rode at their head. He was at the peak of his reign. Instead of resting and enjoying the hero status he enjoyed across Europe, Alexander was more and more troubled spiritually. While in Western

Europe with the Russian Army he sought out and came under the influence of spiritual advisors from foreign countries. He became religious, reading the Bible daily and praying often. It was his frequent visits with the pietistic visionary Barbara Krudner in Paris that turned him into a mystic. She considered herself a prophetess sent to the Tsar by God. He then toyed with some of their concepts and ideas, eventually discarding them for the Orthodox faith of his own country. Alexander nevertheless retained his newly found fixation and came to profess a universal religion. Alexander I, inspired by devotion and his universal religion, proposed the Holy Alliance at the Congress of Vienna after the French Revolution. The alliance was supposed to bring about a peace based on Christian

love to the monarchs and peoples of Europe. It was a joke. The other members of the congress, except Britain, signed it out of pity for Alexander. He had clearly begun to lose his wit. Alexander s idealistic vision came to a sad end, for the alliance became a league of monarchs against their peoples. Its members following up the congress with additional meetings and revealed themselves as the champions of despotism and the defenders of an order maintained by arms. This marked the end of his liberal dreams, because from then on, all revolt appeared to him as a rebellion against God. He shocked Russia by refusing to support the Greeks, when they rose against Turkish tyranny, maintaining they were rebels like any others. After his return to Russia, he left everything in assistant s