Leo Tolstoy was an author, anarchist, critic, pioneer, visionary, and a world changer. He wrote many great novels and various other literary works in his time, but that only scratches the surface of how and what he did to change the world. Leo Tolstoy changed the world by starting schools which allowed peasants to get an education, influencing leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., and changed the world through his writings.
Leo Tolstoy was a Russian author who was born September 9, 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, Russia and died of pneumonia in the winter of 1910. Today Tolstoy is buried at his Yasnaya Polyana estate in Russia. Both of his parents died when he was just a child, and he was raised by relatives. Tolstoy was married to Sophia Tolstaya and had thirteen children with his wife however, only a handful survived past childhood. Tolstoy built up debts from gambling and joined the military to run from his debts. He began writing shortly after. He started writing letters to family and friends. Tolstoy “matured into a masterful novelist who, over the next decade and a half would write War and Peace and Anna Karenina” (Heims, p. 75). He really became inspired to start writing after he met Victor Hugo and read his book Les Miserablés, written in 1862. Leo Tolstoy borrowed the title for his best and most famous novel War and Peace, which was published in 1869, from French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. Proudhon also influenced Leo Tolstoy becoming an anarchist, after Tolstoy read his publication called “La Guerre et la Paix”, which is French for war and peace. War and Peace was not Tolstoy’s only famous work though, he had numbers of others. Tolstoy’s second most notable book was Anna Karenina, written in 1873, in the genre of literary realism. Later in life, Tolstoy become very interested in spiritual issues and began to write books about his religious beliefs. Gandhi read Tolstoy’s, The Kingdom of God is Within You, and was inspired. Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi wrote many letters back and forth discussing social and political issues. Leo Tolstoy also started schools for peasant children. The peasants were like Tolstoy’s second family. Tolstoy realized how important a good education is and wanted to make it available to the peasants who, being the lower class, wouldn’t normally get any education.
Tolstoy believed that education was a necessity, and that everyone should have a right to it. So when the local peasants were declined that right, he felt the need to fix it. He took it upon himself to make a good education available to anyone and everyone. He started his first school for underprivileged children at his home, Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy wrote this in his article about popular education, “I could write whole books about the ignorance that I witnessed in the schools of France, Switzerland, and Germany; Anyone who cares about education should study schools not from the reports of public examinations,...