Russian Reforms of the 1800's

Essay by fuzzymonkeyHigh School, 10th gradeA, June 2004

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Reforms create growth and needed change in societies. They take place when the currant system has identified problems that a leader acknowledges. Generally they lead to prosperity. The 1800's in Russia were filled with numerous reforms ranging from trial by jury to cut backs in the military draft. As an American teenager, my life contrasts what a Russian life would have been like during these reforms.

The most striking reform to happen during the 1800's in Russia would have been the change in how the justice system operated. A judicial system has vast control over many aspects of Russia day to day operations. Before the reforms, judges were chosen by the government. Usually they were people from higher society and did not embody the true representation of Russia to fairly govern. There was a separate body of people called the secret police who would torture witnesses into saying whatever was best form the government's stance.

In 1864 the Tsar signed the Judiciary Act which provided court reforms. This act lead the higher classes of society away from having sole control over the courts. Trials no longer took extreme amounts of time to complete and the public was allowed to pertain in watching court proceedings. Excessively harsh forms of punishment and torture were banned. The reforms, although started in 1864, took years to spread thought the entire country. These reforms were obviously good and off a positive nature for the country. Living in America I could not imagine a place such as Russia before these reforms. To me it would seem unfair and unjust, but in many places around the modern would we live in, these practices still take place.

The Military was another area of strong reform. Before new acts took affect, men would serve for twenty five years. The...