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Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825
1453 Through the Reign of Ivan the Terrible (1533-1584) The Time of Troubles to the First Romanovs (1598-1682) Peter the Great and His Legacy (1682-1762) The Age of Catherine the Great (1762-1801) The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825)


Explore this Section:

The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825): A Summary of Russian History
Russia Symbol Introduction
Russia Symbol In the Spirit of His Grandmother
Russia Symbol A Law-based State
Russia Symbol The Napoleonic Wars
The Reign of Emperor Alexander I (1801-1825): A Summary of World History

Russia's Globalization:
A Key

Events marked Russia Symbol are specific to Muscovy/Russia's internal development.
Those marked World Symbol are important world historical or cultural events.
Engagement Symbol indicates specific points of sociocultural or military engagement between Muscovy/Russia and foreign powers or individuals.




Napoleon’s Nightmare
  Napoleon’s Nightmare
NYPL, Slavic and Baltic Division

For the duration of the first decade and a half of the 19th century, virtually all of Europe (including its seas) was engulfed in war, as Napoleon tried to control the continent in the teeth of England's determined resistance. French conquest and occupation (Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Spain) undermined Old Regime institutions, but also created much resentment and opposition in the form of movements for national independence and unification. Modern nationalism appealed to historical memories – real or imagined – and linguistic identities. Nationalism and militarism stirred popular emotions and imagination that found expression in hero worship and the exaltation of individual passions and daring. But the final defeat of Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo (1815), and his exile to the island of St. Helena, enabled the victorious coalitions of conservative monarchs to reestablish much of the Old Regime.

Site of Napoleon's Final Exile
  Site of Napoleon's Final Exile
NYPL, Slavic and Baltic Division

The restoration, however, had to be maintained by means of censorship, police surveillance, and the persecution of liberal and nationalist leaders. However, the young generation that had been fired by the excitements of war, and the hopes of individual and national liberation, did not readily adjust to the boredom of peace and the repressive intellectual atmosphere; they remained a constant revolutionary threat. The frustration and discontent found literary, artistic, and philosophic expression in romanticism. The initiators and leaders of intellectual and aesthetic romanticism inspired passionate sympathy for the heroic deeds of past popular and national figures, and helped popularize historical novels and scholarship. All of this, in conjunction with the idea of the nation's sovereignty, encouraged a sense of national identity and consciousness in the educated, most particularly those belonging to peoples and nations deprived of political independence. Europe's political and moral order was radically transformed by the onrush of romantic and nationalist waves.

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