Essay about Causes and Consequences of Emancipation Russia

1754 Words Oct 10th, 2014 8 Pages
What were the most important causes and most important consequences of the emancipation of the Serfs?

Serfdom, a system of virtual slavery tying the Russian peasants to their landlords, was abolished in 1861 under the imperial demand of Tsar Nicholas II. This change was put in place for many reasons, including military defeat in Crimea, the economy and political system, which all contributed to the backwardness of Russia as a nation, as they prohibited the introduction of other major reforms. In my view, the most important cause of emancipation was the state of the economy, because the nature of serfdom prevented the country from catching up with the west, and the most important consequence was that the military was able to dramatically
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Therefore, the economic state of the country was a major reason for the emancipation of serfs, because in order for anything to move forward – as the economy supported all other areas of the country - it had to be abolished.

After serfdom was introduced, there were many consequences in terms of the economy. Abolishing serfdom was a vital stage in the transition to a capitalist country; it encouraged the growth of railways, banking, industry and cities, and encouraged entrepreneurial initiative – allowing the country to progress economically. The Russians felt inspired, and it created a new atmosphere of change and reform. The gentry benefited by the money that they were paid for their land. However, the economic consequences weren’t all positive. Redemption payments were put in place, serfs had to pay these back over more than 40 years in return for ‘owning’ their own patch of the land. This also led to the Mir restricting the movements of peasants (as payments were spread equally between members of the village, and they didn’t want everyone else to have to pay more) and the peasants became impoverished, thus undermining the hope that they would try to revolutionise the agricultural system and create a strong market. Due to rapid population growth, the peasants also weren’t producing enough food to survive, by 1861, ¼ weren’t even self-sufficient and by 1890 this number

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