Catherine the Great

Posted: January 21, 2014 in Articles
Tags: , ,

In my history I read about Catherine the Great, who was a great Russian ruler, even though she wasn’t even Russian. Catherine’s father was German and her mother was Swedish, but she was able to get to the throne because her mother’s cousin married the daughter of Peter the Great. They declared their son Peter Ulrich the heir to the throne. Even though he was the heir to the throne, Peter Ulrich’s aunt, Elizabeth, had seized the throne years before and she thought that Catherine would make a good bride for Peter. The two were engaged, but Peter came down with smallpox and Catherine was sent away. When she returned to Peter’s home, Catherine barely recognized him – his face was covered with scars and it twitched. Then, Elizabeth decided to set a time for the wedding!

Peter Ulrich was always an odd boy, but after Catherine and he were married, Peter became more odd, so much that people said he was going insane. Catherine lived a lonely life, and she spent her time reading books about old Roman fighting tactics and how to rule an empire. While reading books, she had an idea. Elizabeth was getting old, and Peter was going insane. It might be possible that after Elizabeth died, she could take the throne from her husband. After all, she was very popular with the people.

When the Empress Elizabeth died, Peter became Czar of Russia, but he was very unpopular with the people. He told loud jokes at his aunt’s funeral and told people not to wear mourning clothes. The people hated him! Later, Peter told Catherine that she was an idiot and that he could throw her in jail for the rest of her life if he wanted to. Finally, his military commanders decided Catherine should rule, not Peter, and while Peter was staying at another town, Catherine paraded through the streets and was proclaimed empress. The army surrounded the town Peter was in so that he could not get out. Catherine was Empress.

People do not really know how Peter died, but they think it is possible that Catherine ordered him killed because at his funeral, they wrapped his neck in a cravat (which is something like a tie ), so that no one could see his neck, and also his head was purple. He had been choked, even though the report said that he had been killed by a “stray blow” from one of his guards. Catherine said Peter had gotten into a fight with him and had been killed. In any case, with Peter dead, Catherine ruled and she was a very good ruler. She worked like Peter the Great to make Russia better, starting new schools and a college for women. She also made new hospitals. She gave her people more rights and made it so that people could not be tortured. Under Catherine’s rule, Russia became much larger, claiming land north of Canada as well as Alaska and more.

Well – so what? Well, a couple of things. Some people like to know what Catherine (or any ruler for that matter), did while she ruled. Was she good or was she evil? But I actually enjoy the parts of the story before Catherine became the Empress of Russia. It seems like the more complicated the story and the more people involved, the more I like it. For some people, this part is boring and gives them a headache. I think that is interesting.

The other thing is I thought it is sad that the communists got hold of Russia, because once upon a time, Russia was free and prosperous. And lastly, I thought, maybe we need a Catherine the Great in America today. She gave her people more rights instead of being in the business of taking their rights away.

by John

Comments
  1. Andy Oldham says:

    What a great and profound post guys. It truly is better to give than to receive. Thanks, too, for the history lesson!

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