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Catherine the Great

Catherine the Second was a very influential ruler of Russia. She ruled from 1762 to 1796
when she died at the age of 67. Catherine was part of the Romanov dynasty. This dynasty ruled
for over 3 centuries and she was just one of the many rulers. She was married to Peter the third
who was also an emperor of Russia at one point. Peter was emperor because he was the only
healthy male in the family at that time. Once he passed away Catherine took over power. She
kept the power in the family by having 3 kids. Catherine and Peter had Maria, Paul, and then
Natalia. Since Paul was the only male he was also emperor later on in life. However going back
to Catherine, many people question whether or not she was an absolute Ruler. In my opinion it
is very clear that the answer is yes; she was an absolute ruler. Of course other people may
disagree. Since this is the case, there are obviously some factors that would go against her
being absolute. The number of points saying she isn’t absolute doesn’t even compare to the
amount of things she did to prove she was in fact an absolute ruler. Topics like sharing power,
education, support, and expansion will prove she was an absolute ruler. The only big things that
cause people to say otherwise would be religion and freight.
First I’m going to talk about the reasons people may think she was not an absolute ruler.
Religion was a huge reason for this belief. After failing at a reform that would have benefitted
the common people, Catherine wanted to return to Christianity in the new land she was
conquering. This proved she wasn’t an absolute ruler because she started off all for Orthodox
Church but then wanted to switch back. Another reason was because she turned against some
of her own people. She was terrified of revolution that hit France and this caused her to turn
against intellectuals in Russia that sympathized with the French Revolution. She was so scared
that in 1793 Catherine completely cut ties with France. She broke all ties for six weeks. She did
accept refugees to come over from there but otherwise had no interaction with them. Later
that year she teamed up with other family members and took the risk of expanding into France.
They went over to take over the more polish lands in France. These are just two big reasons
why people could consider her not an absolute ruler.
As important as those things were, the points that made her an absolute ruler far
outweigh them. Things like sharing power, education, support of the people, and expansion
proved she was in fact an absolute ruler. In the beginning of her reign she realized that the
Russian society was too chaotic for any sharing of power. This proved that she wanted all the
power to herself. Catherine was also against educating the common people because she was
worried they would stop obeying. One thing she knew for sure was that she wasn’t going to be
able to rule without the support of the people. She really wanted the support of the nobility so
to gain their support she extended their power over their power. Serfdom was a big topic back
then as well. Had she tried to put a stop to this issue, I would say she wasn’t an absolute ruler.
However, Catherine extended serfdom to over a million new people. The last very important
topic was expansion. Catherine put together her own army that was pretty much unstoppable.
This army was sent into the southwest or into the Balkans and came out with many victories.
Two years later she sent out a fleet that went and sunk the Ottoman navy. Catherine also did a
bunch of other expanding. She expanded to the W. Dvina river and to the Dniper River. By
completing this expansion, Catherine was able to add 1.3 million subjects to her rule.
To sum it all up, people may try to use religion and the fact that she turned on people to
try and say she was not an absolute ruler. It is very clear though that she was in fact an absolute
ruler. Things like power, education, support, serfdom, and expansion are just a few of the many
things that prove she was. It should be very clear, as it is to me, that Catherine the Second, or
Catherine the Great was an absolute ruler of Russia.