Alexander II (Dictionary of World Biography: The 19th Century)
Article abstract: Called the czar liberator, Alexander emancipated the serfs in 1861, the first of political and legal reforms designed to quicken the pace of modernization in Russia. Despite the reforms, rising expectations caused dissidents to become radicalized. Hence, Alexander’s life was ended by political assassins, and reforms were suspended by his successor.
Born in the Chudov Monastery in the Moscow kremlin on April 29, 1818, during Easter week, Alexander Nikolayevich Romanov was the oldest son of Czar Nicholas I (reigned 1825-1855), then Grand Duke, and Charlotte, daughter of King Frederick William III of Prussia and sister of future German emperor Wilhelm I. Alexander had five siblings: Nicholas, Michael, Maria, Olga, and Alexandra. After their father became czar in 1825 they lived in the royal Russian residence, the Winter Palace, and in a royal palace at Tsarskoe Selo.
The heir to the throne was given two tutors: Captain Karl Karlovich Merder and the poet Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky. The former was hired when Alexander was six years old, and he stressed martial values and discipline; the latter emphasized history, letters, and the cultivation of humane sentiments. Both teachers believed in autocracy. A model soldier, throughout his life Alexander expressed excitement at watching and participating in military drills and parades. In 1837, after completing his formal education,...
(The entire section is 1944 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!