Friday, March 28, 2008

Peter the Great

Peter the Great

Sarah Summers World Cultures - period 8 Mr. Gornell 27 April 2005 Peter the Great

Peter the Great was born in Moscow on Thursday, May 30, 1672 on the feast of Saint Isaac of Dalmatia (Hughes 1). Pyotr Alexeevich, his formal name, was the fourteenth child born to Alexi I and his second wife Nataliya Kryillovna Naryshkina. Peter towered an astounding six feet seven inches tall. He started out sharing Power with his step-brother, Ivan, who was an invalid, but obtained sole power when he was twenty-four, after Ivan's death in 1696 ('Peter I of Russia' 1). Through his domestic, military, and government reforms, Peter the Great enabled Russia to be considered a leading eastern European state ('Peter the Great' 1).

Peter the Great wanted to bring Russia into a new era. He achieved his goal of domestic reformation through Russia's economy, the church, and education. By boosting the industrial, commercial, and agricultural aspects, Peter hoped a richer Russia would invest in their military to increase strength, and therefore increasing Peter's amount of power. Unfortunately, he did not gain as much as he had hoped for, but he did help boost Russia into a period of rapid economic growth ('Peter the Great - domestic reforms' 2). Peter also saw a need for reform in the church. Not only did the church have a large source of wealth that Peter wanted a part of, but it had land, power, and serfs challenging those of the tsar. When the head of the church died in 1700, Peter did not replace him -- rather, he handed the property of the church over to a branch of the government. In turn, subjecting it to Peter's command. In 1721, a regulation was set on the church as it fell entirely under state control. This regulation stated everything the clergy could do and, in a sense, controlled their daily life. The clergy's job was to 'make their congregations totally submissive to the state by convincing them that Peter was all but God-like to ensure the population of Russia's total subordination to the crown' ('Peter the Great - domestic reforms' 1). If Russia had any hopes of becoming a superpower, they could not be fulfilled until the education aspect of society was modernized. Peter knew that proper education for both the soldiers and the officers was vital for a successful military. With this in mind, he set up schools for navigation and maths, artillery and languages, medicine, engeneering, and science ('Peter the Great - domestic reforms' 1). In 1703, a newspaper was issued for the educated public. Peter encouraged many young noble men to travel abroad and gain knowledge through expirience, as he had done. Peter welcomed newly-obtained intelligence and thought it to be an assest to Russia's development. Russian traditions were forgotton, beards were shaved, and western clothing was adopted as Russis made its way out of midieval times ('Peter the Great - domestic reforms' 1).

Peter the Great significantly modernized the Russian Navy and the Army through his military reforms. Peter both united and increased the size of the army. Before Peter, the army was not an extremely good fighting force, rather a weak and hopeless one. It consisted mainly of villagers with a few professionals here and there. The leaders of this abject group included village elders who were most certainly not experienced in the field of military leadership. In 1699, Peter set forth a standing army based upon the systems of two foreign-owned armies. For the army to be homogeneous, all of the soldiers had to go through a similar training program. After 1705, any noble or serf could enlist in the army for a lifetime. Russia had approximately one-hundred-thirty-thousand men in the army by 1725. Although inexperienced, thanks to Peter's insistance of educated and perservirience, the Russian Army was up to the standards of the Europeans ('Peter the Great - military reforms'). In addition to improving the army, Peter the Great enhanced the navy as a part of military improvement, as improvement was inevitable needed. The navy base was located on the mouth of the River Don and reached to the Baltic Sea. Due to a lack of military experts in Russia, Peter brought foreign ones in. Russia had eight-hundred galleys and 48 ships by 1725. Although the navy's officers were foreign, the crew remained Russian ('Peter the Great - military reforms'). Much money was spent on improving the military, but it was compensated for through direct taxation, such as income tax. As Peter was a progressive, he saw the Old Believers as blocking the way for reform. In hopes of reducing their number, Peter introduced a soul tax on all males. This did not include the clergy or the nobility, but the Old Believers had to pay double. The army became responsible for collecting a complete list of all the males in Russia -- this task was not completed until 1724. Military reforms were also paid for using indirect taxing methods, such as taxes on beards and bee-hives. It was apparent that Peter the Great would go to any extent to raise enough money for his reforms ('Peter the Great - military reforms').

Peter saw the Russian government in dire need of reform. He tried to enhance all aspects of the government, from the local government, to the provincial government, and all the way up through the central governement. Starting with the local government, Peter tried to reduce the power of the provincial governments by allowing elections for town officials to collect taxes and promote trade. To improve the provincial government, in 1707, Peter divided Russia into eight guberniia and a Gubnator to rule each of them. Within each guberniia, there were smaller districts called uzeda. By 1718, Russia had forty provinciias that were divided into uzedas within each of the twelve guberniia. Each Gubnator had to answer directly to Peter. When it came to the central government, Peter started out with a council of advisors -- and forty different departments carried out his orders. However, responsibilities were not divided equally among the departments and this system was ineffective. In 1711, a nine-man council was established which turned out to be similar to the United State's current form of law enforcement, with a chief executive and a high court.

Unforntunately, when Peter died in 1725, no lasting changes in the government could be seen.

Works Cited

Hughes, Lindsey. Peter the Great: A Biography. New Heaven: Yale University Press, 2002. 'Peter the Great.' History Learning Site. March 2002: 2 pages. 24 April 2005 . 'Peter the Great - domestic reforms.' History Learning Site. March 2002: 2 pages. 24 April 2005 . 'Peter the Great - government reforms.' History Learning Site. March 2002: 2 pages. 24 April 2005 . 'Peter the Great - military reforms.' History Learning Site. March 2002: 2 pages. 24 April 2005 . 'Peter I of Russia.' Wikipedia. April 2005: 5 pages. 24 April 2005 .

by Anonymous Student



blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online