Project #5 – V for Vendetta directions you will view, analyze, and critique the film, V for Vendetta

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6. Russia Enters the European Political Arena

The Romanov Dynasty

  • The reign of Ivan IV (“Ivan the Terrible”) started strong but ended badly

    • After his death, Russia went through the “Time of Troubles”

  • 1613, nobles tried to end the uncertainty by electing 17-year-old as tsar – Michael Romanov

      • Michael (and his two successors – Aleksei and Theodore II) brought stability & centralization to Russian government

      • Country remained weak and poor, however

Peter the Great

  • 1682, 10-year-old boy –

    • Peter and Ivan V came to power thanks to the streltsy – who wanted to be rewarded for their help

    • Violence & bloodshed surrounded this disputed succession

    • Situation got more confusing when the boys’ sister – Sophia – became regent

  • From then on, Peter ruled personally (but he technically shared crown with Ivan until he died 1696)

    • Peter’s early years taught him 2 valuable lessons:

      • 1. Tsar must protect himself against jealousy of boyars & greed of streltsy

      • 2.

Peter Travels to Western Europe

    • He spoke to & socialized with powerful, wealthy, cultured leaders

  • He learned most on trip by visiting shipyards, docks, and making of military hardware in England & Netherlands

    • Peter went back to Moscow and tried to copy what he saw on his trip – he knew Russia needed strong military to become a world power

Taming the Streltsy and Boyars

    • When he got back, Peter brutally repressed the rebellion (torture & public executions)

Peter’s New Military

  • The new military Peter built would serve tsar – not itself

    • His policies & discipline system was modeled on that of the armies of Western Europe

Attack on the Boyars

    • When he returned from Europe, he personally shaved beards of court boyars & cut off traditional long sleeves of their shirts & coats (other Europeans had made fun of them for both)

  • Peter then set out to organize Russian government & military forces like more powerful countries of Europe

Developing a Navy

  • 1690s, Peter had series of ships built –

    • 1695, he began war with Ottoman Empire, & he captured Azov on Black Sea

      • Creating this Baltic fleet was essential in Peter’s struggles with Sweden and in westernizing Russia

Russian Expansion in the Baltic: The Great Northern War

  • End of Thirty Years’ War, Sweden consolidated its control of Baltic

    • Sweden, at this time, had strong army

      • Their economy, however, was not strong – based mostly on export of iron

    • 1700, Peter the Great began campaign into Swedish territory to gain land on the Baltic –

      • Charles XII led brilliant campaign, defeating Russians at Battle of Narva

      • As war dragged on, Peter strengthened his forces (Swedish economy could not keep up)

  • Charles took refuge in Turkey & didn’t go back to Sweden until 1714

  • 1721, Great Northern War ended –

Founding St. Petersburg

    • Built government structures & convinced boyars to build town houses

      • This symbolized new Western orientation of Russia and Peter’s determination to cement Russia’s presence in Baltic

Peter’s Son Aleksei

  • Peter’s son Aleksei was from his first marriage (divorced 1698)

    • Peter was jealous of his son –

  • Over time, Peter feared that enemies would use his son against him

    • He was right – 1717, Aleksei went to Vienna & attempted to enter into a conspiracy with Habsburg emperor Charles VI

      • Peter even personally interrogated Aleksei

Reforms of Peter the Great’s Final Years

  • Aleksei was not only one in Peter’s court plotting against him

    • Instead of openly attacking them, Peter had a better solution:

Administrative Colleges

  • 1717, Peter reorganized his domestic administration to sustain his power & fight corruption

      • Created 8 of colleges to oversee tax collection, foreign relations, war, & the economy

Table of Ranks

    • The table equated a person’s social position & privileges with his military or bureaucratic rank (instead o f their lineage)

      • Many of the nobles had already resented all changes Peter was making in Russia

Achieving Secular Control of the Church

  • Peter also wanted to reduce independence of Russian Orthodox Church (some had been aligned with Aleksei)

    • In its place, he put a government department called the Holy Synod – several bishops, led by layman (procurator general)

        • Was most radical change of traditional institution during Peter’s reign

  • By 1718, Peter still had not found a successor

    • For next 30 years, soldiers & nobles determined who ruled Russia

Directions: Below are some discussion questions about Peter the Great that tie into modern society. We will work on these questions together as a class. Worth 18 points.


Peter felt his country had been isolated from progress too long, and he looked to Europe as the center of culture and technology. If you felt isolated in your community today, where would you look for inspiration and ideas for advancement? Would you necessarily need to travel as far and wide as Peter did to find what you need? What other resources could you tap into?


Peter struggled to bring Russia out of the Dark Ages and into a more modern existence. Today, many (underdeveloped) developing countries are striving toward the same goal. Are the obstacles faced by such countries today the same ones faced by 17th century Russia? Analyze the similarities and differences you can identify in their situations.


Peter sensed a large gap in his background and knowledge and set out to fill that gap by learning everything he could about the world beyond Russia's borders. Select a current world leader whom you feel could stand to learn more about something important to his or her country's future. Name the leader, explain what he or she needs to learn, and suggest a strategy for attaining that knowledge.


Peter the Great seemed to be completely fascinated by cities. What fascinates you about cities? If Peter were to reappear today, what three cities would you show him? Explain your choices.


Peter the Great had his own son killed because of an act of treason. Do you think his son deserved this punishment? How do you think Peter felt about ordering the death of his own son? Do you think he should have done this or was there another option for punishment?


Although Peter brought many positive changes to Russia during his reign, he was still a dictator with absolute power. How would you feel if you had lived in Russia during his reign? Would you have been a supporter? Explain the reasons for your answer.

7. The Ottoman Empire

The Ottomans

    • 1500s & 1600s, Europeans came into conflict with Ottomans in Mediterranean, Baltic, Black Sea, Russia, and as far west as Vienna

  • Ottoman Empire was largest and most stable political entity in Europe since Roman Empire

    • They achieved this power 1000s-1600s as tribes moved eastward from Asia

Religious Toleration and Ottoman Government

  • Ottoman Empire was dominant political power in Muslim world after 1516 – it administered holy cities of Mecca, Medina, & Jerusalem

      • Ottomans gave religious toleration to their people far more than any European nation

      • Sultans governed empire through millets

        • Laws & regulations applied to people in each millet

      • Non-Islamic people – called dhimmis

        • But they were still second-class citizens – could not rise in society

        • Dhimmis paid special poll tax, couldn’t serve in military, & could not wear certain colors

        • Their homes & religious buildings could not be as big as those of Muslims

          • Ottomans discouraged their people from interacting –

  • Ottoman dynasty kept itself separated from other powerful families by recruiting military leaders & government officials from groups sultans believed would be loyal

    • Example:

      • Christian boys raised as Muslims & put in elite military units –

        • Belief was these troops would be loyal because they owed their life & status to sultan

  • As a result, native Islamic people could not advance into higher military or administrative positions

The Role of Ulama

  • In contrast to Europe, Islamic religious leaders played important part in political, legal, and administrative life of Ottoman Empire

    • Dyansty believed they were main protectors of Islamic law, traditions, and holy places

      • In return, Ulama would support Ottoman state

    • Janissaries also resisted changes that might weaken their privileged status

The End of Ottoman Expansion

  • 1400s onward, Ottomans tried to push farther into western Europe

    • Even after its naval defeat in 1571 (Battle of Lepanto), Ottomans still controlled eastern Mediterranean

      • The defeat was decisive – and was a sign of growing weakness of the Ottoman Empire

      • Local elites also began to assert themselves

  • External factors also contributed to stopping of Ottoman expansion & its decline

    • During Middle Ages, Islamic world had outdone Europe in learning, science, and military

        • Set up plantation economies and precious metal mines = increased wealth

      • By 1600s, Europeans were importing spices, sugar, and coffee from America & Asia that they used to get from Ottomans

  • 1690s, Ottomans unsuccessfully fought league of European states

    • 1699, defeated Ottomans negotiated Treaty of Carlowitz

      • Now Russia & Ottomans would battle for control of area around Black Sea – Russia dominating

    • When they finally figured out what was happening, Ottomans copied European technology & brought in European advisors

      • Ulama were also slow to allow interaction between Muslims and non-Muslims

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