Peter the Great:Westernization of the Russian Empire

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Peter the Great:Westernization of the Russian Empire

Shane Greenup

Mt. San Jacinto College

Peter the Great was the most influential monarch in Russian history whose own ideas of foreign and domestic policy westernized the Empire during his reign. There were many "absolute monarchs" during the period of exploration and discovery in Europe, but none epitomized the character quite like Peter the Great of Russia. He soon realized that Russia was far behind the rest of the world, and Europe in particular, in all areas including culture and technology, and did everything he could to turn the Empire around through leadership. It was due to his domestic, military, and government reforms that led to Russia to be considered a leading eastern European state.

Peter the Great was born in Moscow on Thursday, May 30, 1672 on the feast of Saint Isaac of Dalmatia (Hughes, 2002).

Peter took over the throne after a power struggle that existed within the ruling family, but was only ten years of age when he actually gained control. At first, he was forced to share leadership with his mentally retarded half brother, Ivan, but obtained sole power when he was twenty-four, after Ivan's death in 1696 (Troyat, 1987). As soon as the throne was his alone, he immediately wanted to establish a new leadership approach and bring the Russian Empire into a new era. He achieved his goal of domestic reformation through Russia's economy, the church, and education. By initially focusing attention on the ailing state of Russia's industrial, commercial, and agricultural areas, Peter had hoped that a wealthier Empire would invest it's new riches into a stronger military, and in turn increasing his own power to achieve his goals.

The strategy worked and the Russian military expanded into...