When you think of Peter I or Peter the Great, as he gave himself that name, one thinks of Russia and the many Tsars that ruled this interesting part of the world. To learn of Peter the Great is to explore his life during 1682 . Peter was responsible for bringing Russia out of darkness and into a more civilized country in hopes that Russia, the Motherland, would gain the respect of the rest of the European theatre and become a great power. To do this required many changes and reforms which Peter the Great was responsible for. Although not completely successful in his reforms, Peter the Great had the attitude that he could never fail. Russia, considered by other countries as primitive, was at no point prepared to expand its territory or even be considered a threat by others with all the internal conflicts happening in the diverse land. Peter the Great was the answer to the lack of respect by the Western world, as he was raised differently than any other tsars or family that came before him. This upbringing will show the attitude and demeanor with which Peter the Great was able to meet the needs of the state. Previous to Peter the Great, the state had never had any sense of organization. Peter the Great met the needs of the state by introducing military, economic, and educational enlightenment reforms to bring Russia out of darkness to the modernization that he had seen elsewhere in Europe. This was no easy task, as unifying a country with so many different traditions had never been successful in its long history of existence.
To know of the first of the Pertrine reforms is to know Peter’s experience with the military. Even at an early age, Peter took a fascination to his father’s military even though it was a meager force. Peter’s father’s death at an early age led Peter and his mother down a road of poverty, in a sense, as they were forced to leave the palace and head to the town of his mother’s heritage--Preobrazhensky. Peter took with him a love of war games and staging drills that would eventually lead to his knowledge of real war situations in his later years. “The games that had started in nursery were continued in the grounds and woods at Preobrazhensky…” (Klyuchevsky. P. 15). Peter took to a world unlike the world in which he was being raised in. With a tutor and no formal education Peter was able to learn the Cade 2
disciplines of the old world and traditions of Russia. Being tutored on his own provided a valuable experience for him as he was able to explore answers on his own. However, this education also made him rely on himself for the final answers. Relying on his own would prove to be part of his character throughout his life. The military reform was necessary in order to unite his country. Peter started his list of reforms with the defense of Russia, which understandably started with the military. Peter was able to do this by establishing a regular Army and Navy. Navy was Peter’s expertise as he was fascinated with ship building and how a Navy would benefit his military. Up to this point, Russia never had a true regular military. It was all voluntary and based on the geographical regions in which war was being waged around the country. Peter fought alongside of these men, and these men had great respect for him as he went to war. “Peter's servants rendered him remarkable assistance on the field of battle” (Oliva, p. 133). Lessons were learned, however, in many battles and wars as Peter was unsuccessful early on. As Peter admitted later, Russia had “enter[ed] the war blindly, without any realization either of her own unpreparedness or of the strength of her enemy” (Klyuchevsky, p. 64). With his journeys across Europe early in his life, Peter experienced many things as he was able to come down to the level of carpenters, shipbuilders, and whatever else he wanted to learn. He did this in order to learn a trade, especially ship building. By doing this he was able to experience...
Cited: Aksakov, Konstantin S. "Immense Spiritual Evil." Oliva, Jay L. Peter The Great; Great lives Observed. Englwood, Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970. 149.
Belinsky, Vassarion. "The Miricle of Peter the Great." Oliva, Jay L. Peter the Great; Great lives observed. Englwood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970. 140.
Karamzin, Nicholas M. "Tears and Corpses." Oliva, Jay L. Peter The Great; Great lives observed. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1970. 133.
Klyuchevsky, Vasili. Peter The Great. Boston: St. Martin 's Press, 1958.
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