Catherine Ii of Russia, and Enlightened Despot

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Catherine II or Russia, reffered to as Catherine the Great, exemplifies the enlightened despot of her time. She reined over Russia from 1762 until her death in 1769. During her thirty four year reign she helped Russia to reach its fullest potential. One major improvemtn for Russia was it’s agricultural growth. When Catherine II took the throne Russia was a primarily agricultural country, the well educated Empress began by hiring experts to study soil and research new technologly to improve farming methods. Another of Catherine II’s major contributions was in the promotion of the arts. Even before her reign she had a strong reputation as a patron of the arts and literature. Her personal collection later became a very extensive museum. Being an enlightened despot she believed in the natural rights of human beings such as freedom of speech which was a major improvement for every day life. She also belibed in religious toleration and took a large interest in the arts and sciences.

Catherine II felt very stongly about the education of the masses. In one instance she wrote a manual for the education of children. In her book she promoted the ideas of encouraging self discovery, and giving everyone the oppurtunity to make their own decicions. Her love for learning did not stop there. When Diderot began writing the French Encyclopedia he found himself under harsh fire from the Church. Eventually his progress was threatened die to accusations of its “irreligious spirit”, but Catherine the Great rose to the occasion and requested that Diderot continue his work in the safety of Russian borders. With out her generous outreach it can be said that the Encyclopedia never would have made it into todays modern world.

When Catherine II began her reign in Russia she saw a country in ruins. The masses were impovershed, illerterate, and with out hope. Instead of showing embarassment or resentement towards he country she made every effort to improve it. From her view point it was...
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