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The Changing Image of America in Europe, 1780-1830

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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Rate it:. An introduction which explores the emergence of t… More. Shelve Europe in the Central Middle Ages, A revised and updated new edition of Professor Mu… More. Shelve Europe in the High Middle Ages: In his book, Denys Hay analyses the structure of… More. Shelve Europe in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries. In the eyes of the tsar, Russia's status demanded that his subjects, including the aristocratic elite, should personally acquire the knowledge and skills of the Europeans in the sciences and the crafts, in order to then be able to independently develop them further for the benefit of Russia.

With a mixture of enthusiasm and stoic commitment to duty, young Russian aristocrats made their way to Europe in the years and decades that followed to implement the will of the tsar. In the Great Northern War — and in particular through his victory over Sweden at Poltava in , Peter impressively demonstrated the new military capabilities of Russia on the European stage. However, Peter's eagerness to bring about change was not limited to the military sphere.

He drastically reduced the number of the old central institutions of administration in Moscow and he converted them into administrative colleges based on the Swedish model.

Peter initiated a cultural revolution. During Peter's lifetime, the city that bore his name looked more like a giant construction site. Peter broke with Muscovite Orthodox traditions in ceremonial court culture and re-orientated the latter instead towards baroque forms and the classical Greek and Roman system of symbols. European visitors to Russia identified a fundamental change. The Hanoverian ambassador Friedrich Christian Weber died ?

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Vasilii N. Tatishchev — suggested a new map of Russia, which divided the empire along the Urals into a European part and an Asian part: 40 Russia appeared to have arrived in Europe.

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Of course, the successors of Peter the Great faced the question of how to accept this legacy and how to continue it. Overall, the 18th century in Russia appears as an imperial laboratory of Europeanization.

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The elites at the imperial court now began to notice in broad terms the difference between the Russian russkii — ethnic Russian nation and the Russian rossiiskii — Imperial Russian Empire. In the Grand Principality of Moscow and also in the Muscovite Tsarist Empire after , there had been a common practice of incorporating non-Russian elites into the Russian nobility as the need arose.

Loyalty to the grand prince, and subsequently the tsar, was the most important criterion when it came to membership of the elite, not ethnicity or language. This practice became a cause of conflict in the period after Peter the Great, as Germans became the most influential advisors at the court of Empress Anna Ivanovna —, reigned — , particularly Ernst Johann von Biron — This led Russian nobles to doubt the Russian character of the empire. In the 18th century, the Ukrainian question also highlighted the tension between nation and empire.

Under Elisabeth I —, reigned — , the number of Ukrainians among the episcopate of the Orthodox church and at court reached its highest.


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After she ascended to the throne, the Ukrainian Cossacks presented Empress Catherine II —, reigned — [ ] with a petition in in which they requested the foundation of a Ukrainian parliament. The petition clearly employed the rhetorical style and political concepts of the Polish-Lithuanian republic of the nobility. Had it been granted, this would have significantly transformed the imperial structure of Russia.

Catherine II denied the request. However, the Russian element increasingly demanded a more important role within the empire. In the area of foreign policy, it became apparent to Peter's successors that the status of a European great power could not be based solely on prestigious military victories, such as the victory at Poltava in Recognition as a great power was based on an intersubjective component and it was also dependent on decoding the rules of the system of European great powers and acting in accordance with them.

While Peter the Great had still perceived this system as an exclusionary mechanism which disadvantaged Russia, Russian diplomats in the subsequent decades succeeded in establishing Russia as an insider in the system. Panin — continued to employ an alliance policy which had already emerged at the time of Peter the Great. Alliances with states in the Baltic region and negotiations with England were used to give Russia security with regard to its eastern central European neighbours. However, this continuity in approach regarding alliances was elevated into a change in terminology which reflected the increasing familiarity of Russia with the European model of the alliance system.

Panin called his alliance concept the "Northern System". The reign of Catherine II was characterized by both continuities and change in the Russian relationship with Europe. In foreign policy, she broke with the concepts which Russian diplomacy had developed in the preceding decades. The empress left the path of a system-based approach to foreign policy that was focused on stability. In relation to Poland-Lithuania and the Ottoman Empire, she was eager to capitalize on the internal and external weaknesses of her neighbours in order to expand her empire.

Russia expanded to the west and the south, and it cemented its status as a European great power by becoming a guarantor power in the Treaty of Teschen between Prussia and Austria in The Russian Empire no longer tried to insert itself into a system but established itself as a player whose consent was needed in order for the system of European power politics to function. European concepts of civilization were received in a different way in Russia in the last third of the 18th century. Peter the Great, Anna Ivanovna and Elisabeth I had viewed the civilizing mission primarily as a religious one and had placed it in the hands of the Orthodox church.

The first two thirds of the 18th century witnessed a high tide of Orthodox missionary activity within the empire. Catherine II maintained this, but she pursued a pragmatic religious policy, which incorporated the confessions into the administration of the empire. The emphasis was now placed on European modes of living, agriculture and sedentary society, as well as the cohesion of the empire. However, it cannot be overlooked that Catherine II viewed the Russian Empire as being in a continuum of Europeanization.

At the start of her instruction in to the Legislative Commission, which was charged with the task of drafting a new code of laws, she stated that "Russia is a European power". In her code of laws, Catherine II declared her commitment to good legislation, the separation of powers and the abolition of corporal punishment. To familiarize the population with the laws, the empress focused on education policy.

However, over the subsequent decades her policies fell far short of these lofty ideals. The institution of serfdom, under which the Russian peasants lived, was at its strongest during the reign of Catherine II. She corresponded regularly with Voltaire — [ ] , and she helped Denis Diderot — out of his financial difficulties by buying his library from him but allowing him to retain it on loan until the end of his life. The choice of a new name for the peninsula was a reference to ancient Greek history and the ancient Greek name for the Crimea.

In the context of European enthusiasm for classical Greek antiquity in the lateth century, it was intended to emphasize that Russia was contributing to the resurrection of Hellenic culture in the face of the Ottoman Empire. The journey included a cultural programme of festivities and enactments, which underlined the concept of Russia as a protagonist in European civilization. In the last decade of the 18th century, exports of grain through the Black Sea ports exceeded those through Riga and Saint Petersburg.

The Ukraine was proving to be not only Russia's bread basket, but Europe's also.

But Europeanization in the late 18th century was not a project pursued by the empress alone. The culture and daily lives of the nobility and of some of the clergy showed the influence that French culture and the Enlightenment were having. After the nobility had been released from its duty to serve the state in , nobles increasingly lived and concentrated on their rural estates. Those who could afford to invested in their estates, so that the latter reflected the social status of the owners. Architecture, landscaping , libraries and festivities brought Europe to provincial Russia. French became the language of social interaction among the nobility in Russia.

As in Moscow was hit by a plague epidemic, the faithful sought assistance from above by kissing the "Our Lady of Bogoliubovo" icon at the St.

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Barbara Gate in the Kitai-Gorod district of the city. Fearing the risk of contagion involved in touching the icon, Archbishop Amvrosii — had it locked away in a church. But his enlightened concern for the health of the faithful cost him his life, as he was lynched by an angry mob. The Enlightenment underwent a degree of institutionalization in late 18th century Russia.

It explored physiocratic ideas and aimed to increase agricultural productivity in the empire. Nikolai I. Novikov — was probably the most famous aristocratic freemason in Russia. He supported the publication of periodicals , engaged in philanthropic activity, set up schools and supported kitchens for orphans and the poor.

Radishchev — published his description of a Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Novikov and Radishchev were both severely dealt with by the government as a result.

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Novikov was imprisoned from to in the Shlisselburg fortress. Radishchev paid for his book with banishment to Siberia.


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The punishments meted out in this case were in stark contrast to the enthusiastic attitude to the Enlightenment in the early part of Catherine's reign.