Imperial Russia: From Peter the Great to the Russian Revolution

History 171B

Fall 2017
20 Barrows
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2
Class Number: 

In 1721, Peter the Great chose the title of Emperor for himself and declared that Russia was an Empire. The empire lasted until the revolutions of 1917, but was never entirely stable. The Romanovs believed that autocracy was the key to good governance, and they made the modernization of the state their key goal, expanding both the military and bureaucracy to intervene ever more deeply in their subjects lives. Yet, Russia's enormous size and its great social, ethnic, and religious diversity made it very difficult to govern. The reigns of almost all Romanov Emperors were marked by coups d'tat, peasant rebellions, and, later, assassination attempts. This course will focus heavily on political history and political thought. Given the many factors that were tearing the Empire apart, it will ask, what held it together for so many years? Students will submit two papers, take a map quiz, a midterm, and a final. Attendance and participation in class is strongly encouraged.