HIS 241
Unit 6:
Catherine the Great

Portrait of Catherine the Great (r. 1762-1796) by Fedor Rokotov (1735-1808) based on an earlier portrait by Alexander Roslin (1718-1793).  Pretty amazing that a stout, non-Russian princess from an obscure German petty principality (Sophie Augusta Fredericka of Anhalt-Zerbst) went on to become Catherine the Great of Russia.  Talk about upward mobility!

Catherine the Great
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What you must do in this unit
What you can do in this unit
  • Read chapter 17 and chapter 18 from Mary Platt Parmele (1843-1911) A Short History of Russia (1907, 4th edition).  These are short chapters, and this is optional reading.
Some videos that you can watch for this unit
Extra Credit Options
  • For 50 points maximum extra credit, read Aleksandr Radishchev (1749-1802), Journey from St. Petersburg to Moscow (1790) and write a one-page paper explaining why this novel was considered dangerous by Catherine the Great.
  • For 50 points maximum extra credit, read Isabel de Madariaga, Russia in the Age of Catherine the Great (1981), an excellent scholarly biography, and write a one-page paper that details the author's interpretations of Catherine's reign.
  • For 25 points maximum extra credit, read The Instructions of Catherine II to the Legislative Commission of 1767 (The "Nakaz") and write a paragraph that answers the question, What was the rationale in the Nakaz justifying the autocracy? The link will probably not work, but I have a copy on this website.
  • For 25 points maximum extra credit, read Catherine's Proclamation upon ascending the throne, her letter to D'Alembert and the comments by the English ambassador and then write a paragraph that assesses the character of Catherine the Great as an "enlightened" ruler of Russia.



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