Catherine the Great

Topics: Russian Empire, Russian Orthodox Church, Catherine II of Russia Pages: 5 (1861 words) Published: May 13, 2013
Hist 030|
Catherine the Great|
Women Empowerment|
Jose Fletes|

[Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document. Type the abstract of the document here. The abstract is typically a short summary of the contents of the document.]|

Today, women have come a long way in society. Comparing different times, female gender had little or no participation in the economic, social or political, rather merely beget and raise children. Anyway its role was secondary, dependent on the actions of men. In Russia, after the death of Peter "The Great", was a period of weak leadership from the tsars, until a woman named Catherine, whose predominant characteristics as being determined, ambitious and intelligent, lead an entire nation, proving that unlike a male ruler (like Peter III), she was able to perform commander’s duties and be fair to society at the same time. In The Memoirs of Catherine the Great, translated by Mark Cruse, Catherine wrote around two years before her death, her life starting from her parents sending her to Russia to marry Peter, to her succession to the throne. I believe she wrote this memoir to inspire women from the next generation to overcome every obstacle social and politics will create. To prove that just because there might be a lot of negativity around you, doesn’t mean you should let it keep you from rising. As a teenager, Catherine showed determination and ambition from the start. It is important to understand that it was for political reasons that Catherine’s parents sent her to Russia at the age of fourteen to marry the future Tsar, Peter III; hence the first obstacle. Although her marriage was not a happy one, her first obstacle was religion. The fact that as soon as she arrived to Russia, to be the future wife of Peter III, she had to convert to the Russian Orthodox Church and stop practicing the Lutheran religion was the first sign that Catherine was going to be under the leash of the Russian empire; even after Peter III ascended to the throne. Religion, was an important aspect in Catherine’s family, but according to her recollections in her memoir, her ambition for a share of power made it easier to hide her real emotions about being under a leash from the public eye. Later, we’ll find out that once she took the throne, some of her reforms were to take away power and possessions from the church of Russia, and knowing that she wrote her memoir near her death, one can conclude her displeasure for the religion but her commitment to having the most influence on the throne. Catherine understood the reasons why she was being forced to marry Peter III once of age and soon after they met realized that it wouldn’t be a happy ever after future but that didn’t kept her from being unhappy; it made her stronger. Before their marriage, Catherine writes in her memoir that Peter was so open to her about his personal love life with other girls, even with ones he wished to marry instead of her. He spent quite amount of time away from Catherine, leaving her to have a lot of free time where she’ll get bored. That is when her interest in reading began. Out of everything she read during her life, she became fascinated with French culture and civilization. Reading writings from philosophers like Didoret and Voltaire made her smarter and more educated than a girl should be during the mid 1700’s. The fact alone that her memoir was written in French should be reason enough to understand her intentions of writing a memoir in the first place, especially almost at the end of her life. When she ascended to the throne in 1762, even though she had the power and the knowledge to lead the empire, she first wanted to secure her position as empress. It wasn’t until the late 1760’s that she proposed a new reform of policy, in which she relies heavily on her early readings of the likes of Didoret and Voltaire to establish a new way of ruling...

Bibliography: Cruse, Mark. The Memoirs of Catherine the Great. Random House Digital, Inc., 2007. Translation of Catherine 's Memoir.
Madariaga, Isabel De. Catherine the Great: A Short History. Yale Nota Bene, 2002. Second Edition Book.
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