Catherine II: the policy of enlightened absolutism (briefly). Empress Catherine the Great

Catherine II Alekseevna rules from 1741 to 1796year. She tried to continue the course, which was taken by Peter I. But at the same time she also wanted to follow the conditions of the New Time. During her reign, several deep administrative reforms were carried out and the territory of the empire expanded significantly. The Empress possessed the mind and abilities of a major statesman.

Ekaterina 2 policy of enlightened absolutism

Purpose of the reign of Catherine II

Legislative registration of the rights of individualestates - the goals set by Catherine 2. The policy of enlightened absolutism, in short, is a social system, when the monarch realizes that he is the trustee of the empire, while the estates are consciously voluntarily responsible to the ruling monarch. Catherine the Great wanted the union between the monarch and society to be achieved not through coercion, but through voluntary awareness of one's rights and duties. At that time, the development of education, trade and industry, science was encouraged. Also in this period, journalism was born. The French Enlighteners - Diderot, Voltaire - were those whose work was guided by Catherine 2. The policy of enlightened absolutism is briefly presented below.

What is "enlightened absolutism"?

The policy of enlightened absolutism wasEuropean countries (Prussia, Sweden, Portugal, Austria, Denmark, Spain, etc.). The essence of the policy of enlightened absolutism is the monarch's attempt to carefully change his state in accordance with the changed conditions of life. This was necessary in order that there was no revolution.

The ideological basis of enlightened absolutism was two things:

  1. Philosophy of the Enlightenment.
  2. Christian dogma.

With such an ongoing policy, it wasstate interference in the economy, the updating and codification of laws, the legalization of the estate. Also, the church had to obey the state, censorship was temporarily weakened, book publishing and education were encouraged.

Catherine II

Reform of the Senate

One of the first reforms of Catherine II was reformThe Senate. Decree of December 15, 1763 changed the authority and structure of the Senate. Now he was deprived of legislative powers. Now he fulfilled only the control function and remained the supreme judicial body.

Structural changes divided the Senate into 6departments. Each of them had a strictly defined competence. Thus, the effectiveness of his work as a central authority was improved. But at the same time the Senate became an instrument in the power's hand. He had to obey the empress.

Standing commission

the policy of enlightened absolutism in Russia

In 1767, Catherine the Great convenedcommission. Its purpose was to demonstrate the unity of the monarch and subjects. In order to form a commission, elections were conducted from estates, private peasants did not belong to them. As a result, the commission had 572 deputies: the nobility, state institutions, peasants and the Cossacks. The task of the commission was to compile a set of laws, and also to replace the Sobornoye Code of 1649. In addition, it was necessary to develop measures for serfs to facilitate their lives. But this led to the split of the commission. Each group of deputies defended their interests. The controversy continued for so long that Catherine the Great seriously considered stopping the work of the deputies assembled. The commission worked for a year and a half and was dissolved at the beginning of the Russo-Turkish war.

Charter of Honor

In the mid-70s and early 90s, CatherineThe second carried out major reforms. The reason for these reforms was the Pugachev uprising. Therefore, there was a need to strengthen the monarchical power. The power of the local administration was growing, the number of provinces increased, Zaporozhskaya Sich was abolished, serfdom began to spread to Ukraine, the power of the landowner over the peasants intensified. Gubernia was headed by the governor, who was responsible for everything. The governor-general united several provinces.

politics of enlightened absolutism table

The granted diploma to cities since 1775 expandedtheir right to self-government. She also freed the merchants from recruitment and poll tax. Entrepreneurship began to develop. The mayor ruled the cities, and the captain-police officer elected by the nobility assembly ruled the counties.

Each class now had its own special judicial institution. The central authorities shifted the focus to local institutions. Problems and issues began to be solved much faster.

In 1785, the Pledged Diploma becameconfirmation of the nobility freemen, which introduced Peter III. Nobles were now exempted from corporal punishment and confiscation of property. In addition, they could create self-government bodies.

Other reforms

A number of other reforms were carried out when the policy of enlightened absolutism was pursued. The table shows other no less important reforms of the Empress.

Reforms of Catherine II
YearReformThe result
1764Secularization of church propertiesChurch property became state property.
1764Hetman’s liquidation and elements of autonomy in Ukraine
1785Urban reform
1782Police reformIntroduced "Charter deanery, or a policeman." The population began to be under police and church-moral control.
1769Financial reformintroduced banknotes - paper money. Noble and merchant banks were opened.
1786Educational reformThere was a system of educational institutions.
1775The introduction of free enterprise

The new course has not taken root

The policy of enlightened absolutism in Russiadid not last long. After the revolution in France in 1789, the empress decided to change the political course. Censorship over books and newspapers began to increase.

the essence of enlightened absolutism

Catherine II turned the Russian Empire intoauthoritative, powerful world power. The nobility became a privileged estate, the rights of nobles in self-government expanded. Favorable conditions were created for the country to continue to develop economically. Ekaterina 2 managed to do all this. The policy of enlightened absolutism, in short, preserved and strengthened absolute monarchy in Russia, as well as serfdom. The main ideas of Diderot and Voltaire never took root: the forms of management were not abolished, and people did not become equal. Rather, on the contrary, the difference between the classes only intensified. Corruption flourished in the country. The population did not hesitate to give large bribes. What did the policy pursued by Catherine 2, the policy of enlightened absolutism, lead to? Briefly, it can be described as follows: the financial system collapsed entirely and, as a result, a severe economic crisis.