In accessing the existent “greatness” attributed to Catherine the Great. Empress of Russia during the European Enlightenment. one must look at all facets of her regulation. Her outgoing personality left her to be described as anything from “terrible” to “great” . She could be delusory yet honest. humourous yet house. and blithe yet wise. Thus the Enlightenment would non hold been a portion of Russian history if non for the finding of Catherine the Great. Catherine the Great’s exceeding character and enlightening visions brought Russia into the age of enlightenment.
Because of Catherine’s deficiency of a personal religion. she did non waver to punish the Orthodox Church to carry through other ends. Palmer states that being dragged from her German place and household. Catherine was non interested in following with all imposts and traditions in the church. which she was thrown into. It laid no load on her scruples to revenue enhancement the churches and maintain close records of their behaviors. She even found in them a convenient and efficient beginning to roll up financess. She allowed spiritual freedom for the most portion. leting the Catholic Church to construct schools. but kept a close oculus on their financess. doing certain the coveted sum came her manner. Her deficiency of spiritual strong belief was non the ground her state shifted Russia into the enlightenment. Therefore. her deficiency of religion did non impact her impact on the enlightenment. since the norm enlightened head was void of any spiritual religion every bit good ( Palmer 322 ) .
It was Catherine’s reforms that led Russia into the age of enlightenment. During the clip of her reign. over 1/3 of the population was imprisoned by serfhood or another signifier of bondage. Her good purposes were hindered by Pugachev’s rebellion. the most violent rebellion in the history of Russia. Serfs from everyplace joined the former Russian solider in a violent rebellion against the Russian authorities. demanding an terminal in serfhood. revenue enhancements. and military muster. Catherine’s purpose was non to farther deteriorate helot but the force left her with no pick. However. her enlightened attitude was shown as she proclaimed that even the leader of the rebellion would non be tortured or beaten as in old similar state of affairss.
She intended to cut down the usage of anguish and bound it as non to frighten felons off from interrupting the jurisprudence but through her interior kindness. What may be seen as a barbarous manner to handle person in the twenty-first century. her thought for helot. who were the poorest of the hapless. was to buy their freedom. this was an highly generous act in the eighteenth century. A common misconception of Catherine the Great was that she lacked intelligence. where as in world she was a really knowing adult female. Her inability to talk the linguistic communication of Russian fluently proves really undistinguished in her transmutation of Russia itself.
Catherine planned to hold Torahs drafted that were more comprehensible to the mean citizen. Though this act was ne’er to the full carried out. the empress was one of the first czars or czarinas to do a echt effort in assisting the norm capable. This can be seen as being really similar to the enlightenment as in France. where the enlightenment was most dominate. The literacy rate was turning and people yearned to cognize and understand the societal issues of the twenty-four hours. Catherine took this germinating tendency to travel her society into a more comparable state to those in Western Europe.
It is of import to observe that her fright of being removed from office was a important factor in her decision-making tactics. In mention to John Alexander. she was determined to maintain a house clasp upon the thrown of Russia. She worked highly difficult. up to twelve hours a twenty-four hours. She took the misconceptions that she heard in society and used them to her advantage by allying with whoever was thought to be targeted by her ( Alexander 18 ) .
Personally. Catherine fit the theoretical account and cast of an enlightenment figure. A Personal Position of Catherine the Great gives legion illustrations of this. When she was non doing drastic determinations to dramatically alter her state. she found herself bored and turned to reading books on history. political relations. and doctrine. Her deep readings were where she learned of her favourite swayer. Henry IV of France. What she perceived to be his strengths and failings. was used to larn from and use them to her ain opinions.
She was profoundly affected personally by the province and conditions of her state. which made her an enlightened figure. demoing the she. cared on a more personal footing. ( De Madariaga 45 ) . Her enlightened manner of thought led her to believe non merely that she was a individual capable of making great good but besides great incorrect and remembered this in every state of affairs brought to her. Harmonizing to Palmer. she was one time quoted to hold said in a missive to Diderot. “You write merely on paper. but I have to compose on human tegument which is much more cranky and delicate. ” ( Palmer 322 ) .
Catherine’s personal relationships with assorted enlightenment figures helped to transform her thought and through her penetration. pull Russia into the age of enlightenment. In conformity to De Madariaga. her readings of Voltaire developed into a close correspondence with him. A philosophe herself. she was so interested in the plants of bookmans around her. she bought a complete transcript of Diderot’s Encyclopedia. Through these great heads. Catherine was able to portray her personality and thoughts in the most attractive visible radiation ( Madariaga 45 ) .
It is a hard undertaking to speak about this empress without adverting her personal businesss with legion work forces. Though this could hold been simply a personal desire of hers. she did utilize her lovers to her advantage at certain times. This is conveyed in the instance of her former lover Stanislas Poniatowski. She had him elected as male monarch in 1763 and used his place to beef up her clasp on Poland. doing herself the lone swayer to be involved in all three dividers of Poland. However. Catherine claimed to see her defender of Polish autonomies.
Catherine’s thoughts in respect to other states were strictly expansionist. Though this would widen serfhood throughout a larger Soviet union. she believed that spread outing the state would turn out to be greater for the state in the terminal. Catherine’s thoughts did hold defects but it is of import to observe that no leader in a state in the province that Russia was in would be able to work out all of its societal jobs.
Good or bad in a person’s eyes. Catherine the Great did an impossible sum for her state. Her penetration and intellect brought Russia into the age of enlightenment to finally catch up with the remainder of universe. Catherine’s opinion will everlastingly be studied as she over came an intolerable burden which was bestowed upon her.