Ivan the Power Hungry

Ivan’s rule was centered around the pursuit of power for self preservation. After seeing so many of those close to him dying, whether it was the suspicious death of his mother, or the tragic death of his beloved wife, death had surrounded Ivan from a young age. Many of the actions he took were strengthening the central government in Moscow by directly enhancing his own power and giving billets in local government to his supporters, but he also gave power out to loyal servants, “oprichniki” to do his bidding.… Read the rest here

The Psychology of Ivan IV

As a young child, Ivan IV was a victim of the same caprice and cruelty that would later characterize his own reign. After his mother’s “haughty and arbitrary” 1)  regime, the young Ivan lived under chaotic boyar rule where “imprisonments, exiles, executions, and murders proliferated.”2  The boyars who had served Ivan as an autocrat while his mother was alive became neglectful and cruel of the young heir in his private life. Ivan seized his rule at age 13 and insisted that he be crowned as tsar (rather than Grand Prince) at age 16.… Read the rest here

Ivan IV Questions

Was Ivan well-liked or at least tolerable in the 1540s and 1550s, prior to his institution of the oprichnina? Does the oprichnina mark the period in which Ivan’s mental health deteriorated or was he extremely paranoid throughout his entire rule? What exactly was the oprichnina? I know it was a second, separate administration instituted by Ivan but what was its intended goal? Did the oprichnina have any other function besides its infliction of a reign of terror?… Read the rest here

Values of Revolutionary Culture

La Marseillaise is a remarkably bloodthirsty national anthem, marking the desire for revenge over those who oppressed the French citizenry. It is interesting that Rouget de Lisle was himself a royalist, not only because he composed this anthem in a revolutionary spirit, but also because of the incredibly violent nature of the lyrics:

Aux armes citoyens!
Formez vos bataillons,
Marchons, marchons!
Qu’un sang impur
Abreuve nos sillons.

To arms, citizens!
Form up your battalions
Let us march, Let us march!… Read the rest here

Values and Goals of the French Revolution

The bloodiness of the French Revolution came from its values, which are especially seen in La Marseillaise and The Cult of the Supreme Being. The French National anthem is drastically different from the American equivalent. It promotes values of war and violence to achieve liberty. La Marseillaise inspired citizens to take up arms to end government tyranny. The anthem is appropriate for troops marching into combat under heavy fire whereas the Star-Spangled Banner focuses on the values achieved by the war’s success such as liberty and equality.… Read the rest here