Alexander I (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: As czar of Russia, Alexander I initiated a series of educational, social, and political reforms early in his reign. He was instrumental in forming the coalition that defeated Napoleon I and played a major role in the Congress of Vienna following the Napoleonic Wars.
Alexander’s birth in the Winter Palace of St. Petersburg marked his destiny to occupy the Russian throne. He was the first child of Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich (later Paul I) and Grand Duchess Maria Fyodorovna. Shortly after his birth, Alexander was taken from his parents by his grandmother, Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great), to be reared under her careful supervision. It was Catherine’s intent to disinherit her son, Pavel, because she believed that he was mentally unstable and unfit to inherit her throne. Alexander would be trained to succeed her directly. A number of outstanding tutors were brought to the imperial court by Catherine to provide an education that would prepare her grandson to be czar. The most notable tutor was Frédéric-César de La Harpe, a Swiss republican, who used classical and Enlightenment texts to inspire many of the future czar’s liberal ideals. In his adolescence, Alexander was also allowed an extended visit with his father at Gatchina, where he received his military training. Alexander’s formal education ended at the age of sixteen, when his grandmother arranged his marriage to...
(The entire section is 2068 words.)
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Alexander I (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: Alexander played a major role in the defeat of Napoleon I following his retreat from Moscow. He led the Russian and allied forces in the War of Liberation and was hailed as the “Deliverer” of Europe.
The first half of Alexander I’s reign as czar (1801-1815) was dominated by the actions of Napoleon Bonaparte. During the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) Alexander initially was an ally of Prussia and Austria against France and commanded combined Russian and Austrian forces in the defeat at Austerlitz (1805). Following Russia’s defeat at Eylau and Friedland (1807), he joined Napoleon in the continental blockade against England. However, he broke his alliance with France, and in retaliation, Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, only to lose his grand army in a disastrous retreat from Moscow. Alexander was present at the allied defeat of the French at Leipzig (1813). He pursued Napoleon’s army and entered Paris at the head of the allied forces in March, 1814.
Besides control of Poland, the Napoleonic era brought other gains to Russia. The war with Persia, caused by Russian expansion in the Caucasus region, ended with the annexation of Georgia and Dagestan. Russia acquired Bessarabia (Moldova) from Turkey in the Russo-Turkish Wars, and Sweden’s...
(The entire section is 286 words.)