US and Russia: Historical Analysis of Events that Shaped the Opposing Views on Personal Freedom

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As the 21st century enters its second decade, the global scene seems to be dominated by two very different nations. The first, being the United States of America, is traditionally based on broad personal freedoms for its citizens. While the other nation in question, Russia, is a society that keeps a close watch on its citizens with less personal freedoms. These two very different governmental philosophies have created friction as recently as this year in the Ukraine with both trying to sway that nation to its policies. But the real question for both of these nations is how they came to these conclusions on personal liberties. Another question to be answered is how these ideas on security shaped the geopolitical politics between them. For …show more content…
(Seton-Watson 1985) Russia’s backwards domestic culture had reflected itself in the poor performance of the army in the conflict. Taking stock of this, Tsar Alexander II looked to reform Russian society to bring it into the modern age and make it similar to the rest of Europe. The most important area to reform was the system of serfdom. An archaic system resembling the feudal system of the Middle Ages, serfdom was an unique concept in 19th century Europe. All over Russia, the common people under the term “serf” were tied to the land of Russian Nobles. (Waldron 1997) These Nobles basically owned these people and made them work their lands for life. This lack of a free middle class stunted Russia’s social development compared to the rest of Europe. Alexander, seeing this and wanting to reduce the power of the nobles, decided it was time for a change. So in 1861, serfdom was abolished in Russia with all the serfs becoming freedmen instead. (Clarkson 1969) Russia seemed to be entering the modern age, but more problems soon developed from such drastic social change. With the abolition of serfdom, the peasants got their freedom but not much else in Russian society. Extreme poverty was rampant as the peasants had to pay loans to the government for the land used for cultivation. (Smith 2013) This new class of unhappy Russian people soon looked to reform this situation. By the 1870s, these groups were organized enough to start making an impact

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