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Abolition of Serfdom  

Alexander II

The defeat of Russia in the Crimean War (1853–1856) convinced the newly enthroned Alexander II (r. 1855–1881) of the need for fundamental reforms in his country. The first institution he ... More

Addresses to the German Nation  

Johann Gottlieb Fichte

The beginnings of German national identity were not political but rather cultural. Already in the eighteenth century, Germans had begun to react against the intellectual domination of the ... More


Otto von Bismarck

After the fall of Napoleon in 1815, Germany was still divided into thirty-eight German states, the most important of which were Austria and Prussia. Until midcentury, memories of the French ... More

Secret Memorandum on Industrialization  

Sergei Witte

The prime architect of Russia’s railroad and industrial expansion in the late nineteenth century was Sergei Witte (1849–1915). Witte traced his ancestry on his father’s side to Dutch ... More

Speech of the 11th July  

Lajos Kossuth

Lajos Kossuth was a Hungarian political leader and lawyer. Born in 1802, he was a key participant in the Magyar nationalist movement. As the editor of a newspaper in Pest, he gained renown ... More

What Is to Be Done?  

Nikolai Chernyshevsky

The novelist Nikolai Chernyshevsky (1828–1889) believed that even the emancipation of serfs was insufficient to reform Russian society, since its authoritarian and patriarchal institutions ... More