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If you were given sovereignty a nation how would you rule or control it?

Would you rule
your kingdom self centeredly controlling with an iron fist or would you work for the betterment
of the people tireless working to improve the life of your citizens. In history there is much debate
about which one if these the Russian empress, Catherine the great, chose because she did good
things for her country but also things to serve herself. Although when she first became the ruler
Russia she tried to reform the inhumane serf system in Russia this quickly ended when a
rebellion broke out against her. Catherine exercised more power over her people to stop chaos
from happening ever again. Catherine the great was an absolute ruler because later in her rule she
took the churches property and renounced trying to help the poor of Russia by increasing the
power of the noble families.
Before Catherine came into power the former king of Russia, who was her husband Peter
III, took away the Orthodox Church’s land and property. After her ascension she reversed this
and gave back what the government had taken from the church back to them as an attempt to
gain their favor and support. However later in her rule she took back the church’s land property
and its holdings. The church was becoming too powerful, owning one-third of Russia's
agricultural land and one-third of its serfs, and she wished for it to be taxed so that the wealth of
the church was also the wealth of the state.
Early in reign she thought that serfs of Russia should be freed from there basically slave
like lifestyle. To accomplish this goal all social and economic classes of Russia were forced to
together by her and formed a Legislative Commission. it was the first time that Russians from
across the empire had been able to express their thoughts about the country's needs and
problems. Her opinion of helping the serfs changed when a rebellion broke out against her in
response to the war with the Ottoman Empire dragging on and a plague in the city of
Moscow. A man named Emelyan Pugachev led the rebellion. He claimed that the former king
Peter III was not dead but was in fact himself. After the war with turkey was finished the troops
were able to suppress the uprising. It was this event changed her thoughts of giving the peasants
of Russia salvation and fair treatment to her augmenting the serf system. This can be shown by
the cruel execution of Pugachev. Earlier to bring reform Catherine wrote the document “Nakaz”.
It condemned torture and capital punishment and called for the equal treatment of all men.
However Catherine had the rebel leader had he decapitated drawn then cut into four separate
pieces. She later passed the “Charter of Nobility”, which was a document that extended the
nobility's power over the serfs and exempted them from direct taxes and corporal punishment.
With her authority she also doomed over one million people to serfdom who had previously been
To sum everything up, Catherine the great was a Russian empress who when first rose to
power wished to improve and change Russia into an enlightened country like western Europe but
changed her way of thinking drastically when an uprising against her emerged. Catherine went
from rejecting the practice abominable of serfdom to almost embracing it by giving the boyars
more dominance over their peasants. She also sought to express her sovereignty over Russia by
controlling any force that could oppose her such as the Eastern Orthodox Church

Work Cited

"Catherine II." World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

"Sophie Friederike Auguste, Prinzessin von Anhalt-Zerbst." Bio. A&E Television Networks,
2014. Web. 21 Oct. 2014.

"Catherine the Great, Russian Empress." Catherine the Great, Russian Empress. N.p., n.d. Web.
21 Oct. 2014.