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Week XI: 9 Nov.  Alexander II and the Great Reforms

                            Assignment:  Linc. pp. 36-158; Dmyt. pp. 267-268, 282-284, 304-311 

Lincoln, pp. 36-158:

This week we will focus on Lincoln's main arguments, then narrow down our focus to details, and then see if our documents fit in to the framework provided by Lincoln.


Chapter 2 (pp. 36-60) is called "The Impact of Defeat." 

    What is Lincoln's main point (thesis) in this chapter?



To understand his main point, we need to answer these sub-questions:

    According to Lincoln, why did Russia lose the Crimean War and what sort of underlying crises did this defeat reveal?



    How does Lincoln characterize relations between the government and educated society (obshchestvo) in the wake of the defeat, and why was that important?   



    What groups outside the government were collecting information on conditions in Russia, what groups inside the government were collecting information on conditions in Russia, and when did these two sets of groups begin to share information/communicate with each other?



    Why had the death of Nicholas I changed the "environment" for reform?  In particular, how did Alexander II understand the nature and purpose of Autocracy and the importance of reform to the Autocracy?




    How did "enlightened bureaucrats" under Alexander II understand the purpose of glasnost', how did Alexander II share this view, and why is that important?



    Finally, were the "enlightened bureaucrats" critical of Autocracy?


SO, again, what is the thesis of this chapter?


    Chapter III (pp. 61-117) is called "Beginning Russia's Renovation."

    What is his thesis in this chapter?



To understand his argument in this chapter, we need to answer some sub-questions:

    Let's begin by reviewing the question of what Alexander II wanted out of reform.  SO, what did Alexander and his advisors hope reforms would do, and how did that differ from the educated public's expectations for reform?



    Why was ending serfdom so central to all other reforms (what made it the lynch-pin of all other reforms)?




    Explain the role of the various committee that participated in the serf-emancipation reform planning process (the Secret Committee/Main Committee; the Ministry of Internal Affairs; the Provincial Committees; the Main Editing Committee).





    Did the nobles all agree on how to emancipate the serfs?  And the "enlightened bureaucrats" agree with the nobles?  Whose views won out in the end?




    In 1859 the Russian state had a financial crisis--how did that influence the final form of the emancipation?



    Did the 19 February 1861 Emancipation Decree immediately "free" Russia's 22 million serfs?  (Explain)  And did the emancipated serfs peasants receive land as well as "freedom"?  (Explain).  (Also, when were state peasants "emancipated"?)



    What problems were the Zemstvo reforms designed to address?



    Did these reforms pass through a process of preparation similar to that of the emancipation reform, or were there differences? (Explain.)



    What did the 1 January 1864 Zemstvo Reforms actually create, and did this mean that people now had a form of "democratic" local self-government?  Explain.



    What problems were the Judicial (Court) reforms designed to address?


    Did the process of planning and drafting these reforms resemble that for the emancipation and the zemstvo reform?



    What did the 20 November 1864 Judicial reform statutes actually create, and how did that change the nature of the justice system in Russia?


So, again, what is Lincoln's main point in this chapter?


Chapter IV, "The Great Reform Era" (pp. 118-158)

    Surprise!  The first question is, what is Lincoln's thesis in this chapter?



To understand his argument in this chapter, we need to answer some sub-questions:

    What contradiction does Lincoln see between the way educated Russians understood the nature and purpose of the Great Reforms and the way that state officials (e.g., provincial governors) understood the reforms?  Why is that important?



    What problems was the Censorship reform designed to solve?



    What events reinforced the concern of Alexander II (et. al.) that censorship reform must not go "too far"?  What adjustments in reform proposals resulted?



    What did the 6 April 1865 "temporary regulations" on censorship actually "do," and why is that important?



    What problems were the City Government Reforms intended to solve?




       In what sense did the central government use glasnost' to formulate city government reform proposals, and was their universal agreement over how city governments should be organized?  Explain.



    When was the Municipal Reform Act finally approved and implemented, why did it take so long, and what did it actually "do"?



    What problems were the Military reforms intended to solve?



    Did the process of drafting the military reforms differ substantially from the drafting of the other reforms?  Explain.




    What did Miliutin's Military reforms actually "do" and according to Lincoln what were the results?




So, again, what is the thesis of Chapter IV?






Dmyt. pp. 267-268, 282-284, 304-311  (questions in chronological order)

Herzen's letter to Emperor Alexander II, 10 March 1855 (pp. 282-284)

What is Herzen asking of Alexander II, and how does he build/defend/justify his argument?


Think about what Lincoln said concerning the expectations educated Russians had when Alexander II became Tsar and what he said about the difference between the expectations of the obshchestvo and the views of the new Emperor.  Does this document support Lincoln's point?  Explain.


Census Data on Nobles and Serfs, 1835, 1858, and Distribution of Obrok and Barshchina Serfs in 1858 (pp. 305-306)

We've discussed this first set of statistics before, but (again), what sort of changes in patterns of noble serf-holding developed between the 1830s and late 1850s?


Look at the statistics on Obrok and Barshchina,  then look at what Lincoln wrote about the views of nobles in certain provinces about how serfs should be emancipated (issue like: should serfs "get" land or not? and how should nobles be compensated?).  Do you see any connection between the dominant form of serf dues (obrok or barshchina) and the positions taken by nobles in certain provinces? Explain.


The Emancipation Manifesto, 3 March 1861 (pp. 307-311)

What does this manifesto actually say?  How does Alexander explain the reasons for emancipation, what will the serfs actually "get," and how is the process to be administered?




An Anonymous Appeal to Ukrainian Peasants to Rebel, 1862 (pp. 267-268)

Is it likely that the author of this document was a peasant?  So, what was the purpose of this document?


What does the document suggest about noble-peasant relations, and what might it tell us about Ukrainian nationalism in the 1860s?