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By Isabel De Madariaga
An eminent pupil of Russian background the following offers the main informative, balanced, and up to date brief research of Catherine the nice and her reign. This version contains a new preface facing lately chanced on assets and revised interpretations of the period.
Praise for the sooner edition:
A panoramic view of Russia’s social, political, fiscal, and cultural improvement and of its emergence as a powerful strength within the foreign area in the course of the thirty-four years of [Catherine’s] reign.”Anthony move, New York instances ebook Review
De Madariaga’s e-book would be the average and an important advisor for all scholars and students of Russian and eu background of the second one 1/2 the eighteenth century.”Marc Raeff, Journal of recent History
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Additional resources for Catherine the Great: A Short History
Catherine drew also on the recently published work of an Italian jurist, Cesare Beccaria, entitled On Crimes and Punishments (1763), which was one of the most cogent attacks on the cruelty of the penal system as it then existed in all countries. Another source was the Institutions Politiques of Baron Bielfeld, which summed up the principles- of German cameralism and which Catherine arranged to have translated into Russian in 1768-75. But if the Instruction is not original in content, it is original in the arrangement of the material, which Catherine copied out at length several times and showed to many of her advisers.
The final supplement deals with what Catherine called 'the administration of fmances'. l. Desnitsky, who had been a pupil of his in Glasgow and who submitted memoranda to her. She analyses the objects for which revenue is necessary, for example public order, public utility, the magnificence of the throne and defence. She then turns to the sources of revenue, namely taxes; and to the sources of wealth, namely population, agriculture, exploitation of natural resources and trade, and ends on the hopeful statement that 'the sum total of the expences might not, if possible, exceed the revenue'.
The fact that no complete code was produced led both contemporaries and subsequent historians to assume that Catherine had other quite different reasons for calling together the deputies from the different estates. She was assumed to be vain (which was true), and many thought that the principal purpose both of the Instruction and of the Legislative Commission was to throw dust in the eyes of her 'enlightened' correspondents in the west, and to dazzle them with the spectacle of the political progress of backward Russia.
Catherine the Great: A Short History by Isabel De Madariaga