The Free Serfs


These law codes follow the emancipation of the serfs causing much of the information and prevalence to revolve around this event. The redistribution of land and property as well as the way it should be distributed is frequently discussed throughout all the codes. This is not surprising as with the freeing of the serfs, a huge section of the population, comes the problem of property dispersal across the country. The nobles of Russia previously owned and controlled a huge majority of the property in Russia. The freeing of the serfs does not take away the noble lands but it does change the way in which they are controlled.

Also discussed are the management and help that are involved in charity work. A new appreciation for helping those less fortunate is notable in the codes. The creation of institutions specifically for this task shows the awareness of this problem not just in Russian society but also in the government. Economic interests are also more prominent in these codes. Smaller villages and towns are becoming more involved in the economic structure of Russia.

How did the introduction of the economic world influence the ideals and minds of the Russian peasants? Did the international influence brought with trade accelerate the emancipation of the serfs?

How did nobles react to the emancipation of the slaves? How quickly were these new ideas accepted?





Kaiser, Daniel H., and Gary Marker. Reinterpreting Russian History: Readings, 860-1860’s. New York: Oxford UP, 1994. Print.

2 thoughts on “The Free Serfs

  1. I think the international influence was one of the main reasons the serfs were freed. Not only did Enlightenment ideas that were developed in France and Scotland help with the cause to free the serfs, but the rise of industry was massive in motivating Russia to free them. With a need to industrialize but with no workforce in the city to do so, freeing them from their land would allow them to have a factory working class.

  2. It is interesting to think about the ways in which the landholders were affected through these reforms. For example, the landholders and the nobility now have to see serfs as as having the equal “legal status of free village dwellers,” whereas in the past, they were seen as a lowly class with not many rights. The emancipation of the serfs in in Russia has an incredible impact on both the nobility and the serfs because of the movement of the social classes.

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