Powerful Rulers During The Age Of The Monarchy: Queen Elizabeth I And Czarina Catherine The Great

978 words - 4 pages

Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries saw a development of many strong and powerful monarchs. Most of these monarchs were dynamic rulers whose success was due to their attention to all aspects of rule, in particular, economics, society, and foreign policy. Two monarchs who show their strengths and weaknesses in these categories are Elizabeth I of England and Catherine the Great of Russia. Though similar in some methods of their rule, Catherine and Elizabeth held very different foreign policies. These differences are what shaped their unique legacies.Catherine the Great and Elizabeth I had economic policies which were comparable in some aspects but different in others. Czarina Catherine's entire economic structure was a command economy based on the institution of serfdom. In 1785 Czarina Catherine had issued a document called the Charter of Nobility, which not only released the nobles from the service required of them by one of her predecessors, Peter I, but granted them full control over their serfs as well. (Ursula.) In this way, Russia's economy was under the control of the nobility, who were answerable to their Czarina, Catherine. Similar to Czarina Catherine, Queen Elizabeth I also had a command economy, which she regulated through an act passed called the Stature of Apprentices. Peasants were required to live at the place of their birth, work where commanded, set wages, and monitored apprenticeships. Thus, trade was essentially under the direct control of Queen Elizabeth I. However, Elizabethan peasants could not be compared to Czarina Catherine's serfs, because the English nobility was not allowed to manipulate them as they pleased. In addition, the majority of Queen Elizabeth I's income came from the dispensation of offices and lands, and not profit off of the labors of the peasants. Both Czarina Catherine and Queen Elizabeth I started their reigns off in debt. Czarina Catherine was able to overcome the debt and even spend money on large social projects, (Volodymyr Kubijovyc.) but Queen Elizabeth was unable to stabilize her coffers during her reign, and when she died, England was as badly in debt as when her rule began. England's society, however, had come into a great wealth of culture.Czarina Catherine the Great's impact on Russian society held both similarities and differences with the impact of Queen Elizabeth I on that of England. Because of the policies of one of Czarina Catherine's predecessors, Peter the Great, the Russian elite had become quite westernized. Czarina Catherine herself was very influenced by western philosophers. However, she did not spread this westernization to the lower classes. This led to a sense of intellectual isolation for the educated nobility and created an even greater gap between the nobility and the serfs, which only widened when Czarina Catherine tried to organize Russian society into clean cut social groups through an act passed called the Charter of Towns. (Volodymyr Kubijovyc.) By this act,...

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