HIST 21B University of California The Russian Empire and The Qing Dynasty Responses

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University of California Irvine



This week, we've learned about similarities and differences between the Russian Empire and the Qing Dynasty, particularly with respect to their approaches to governance and their relationship to Western Europe. Before beginning your assignment, make sure that you've completed the assigned readings from Peter the Great and the Qianlong Emperor.

For your assignment, you will create an imaginary "debate" between Peter the Great and the Qianlong Emperor. (You can ignore the fact that their period of rule did not actually overlap!)

1ST PARAIGRAPH: n your first paragraph, take the position of Peter the Great, and try to persuade the Qianlong Emperor why he would benefit from visiting and learning from Europe. Explain what reforms he might consider undertaking.

2ND PARAGRAPH: In your second paragraph, take the position of the Qianlong Emperor and rebut Peter's argument. Explain why European goods and ideas are unnecessary in China.

Each paragraph should be a minimum of three sentences (a total of six sentences for both paragraphs). You must reference the texts when establishing your position for each!

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Documents on Peter the Great, His Travels to Europe, and Subsequent Reforms When Peter the Great (r. 1682–1725) came to power, the territory of Russia (or Muscovy, as it was then called) had expanded from 17,800 to nearly 6 million square miles. Although Russia had imported technology and ideas from Western Europe over the previous few centuries, Peter attempted to completely Westernize his empire. In a series of reforms, he attempted to change all aspects of Russian life: from the military, church, and time-keeping, to education and even the style of clothes that his people had to wear. As part of these reforms, Peter forced the sons of Russia’s nobility to go to Europe for advanced study and training, as he himself had done. In the first two readings below, we hear the voice of Peter himself. These readings have been reproduced from A Source Book for Russian History From Early Times to 1917, vol. 2, pp. 313 and 323. The following readings include decrees that Peter issued upon his return from traveling abroad. They include a decree on establishing a new-style calendar (with the new year beginning on January 1), encouragements for Russian students to study shipbuilding and navigation abroad, and a decree to create European-style universities so that students could study subjects like math and science. The following readings have been taken from Imperial Russia, A Source Book, 1700-1917, 2nd edition, pp. 13-20. This final reading is an excerpt from a contemporary observer, Jean Rousset de Missy. The excerpt describes the sweeping expanse of Peter’s Westernization efforts, which went so far as to mandate how men and women should dress and wear their hair. This text has been reproduced from Readings in European History, Vol. 2, pp. 303-312. Jean Rousset de Missy, Life of Peter the Great, c. 1730 The tsar labored at the reform of fashions, or, more properly speaking, of dress. Until that time the Russians had always worn long beards, which they cherished and preserved with much care, allowing them to hang down on their bosoms, without even cutting the moustache. With these long beards they wore the hair very short, except the ecclesiastics, who, to distinguish themselves, wore it very long. The tsar, in order to reform that custom, ordered that gentlemen, merchants, and other subjects, except priests and peasants, should each pay a tax of one hundred rubles a year if they wished to keep their beards; the commoners had to pay one kopek each. Officials were stationed at the gates of the towns to collect that tax, which the Russians regarded as an enormous sin on the part of the tsar and as a thing which tended to the abolition of their religion. These insinuations, which came from the priests, occasioned the publication of many pamphlets in Moscow, where for that reason alone the tsar was regarded as a tyrant and a pagan; and there were many old Russians who, after having their beards shaved off, saved them preciously, in order to have them placed in their coffins, fearing that they would not be allowed to enter heaven without their beards. As for the young men, they followed the new custom with the more readiness as it made them appear more agreeable to the fair sex. From the reform in beards we may pass to that of clothes. Their garments, like those of the Orientals, were very long, reaching to the heel. The tsar issued an ordinance abolishing that costume, commanding all the boyars [i.e., the nobles] and all those who had positions at court to dress after the French fashion, and likewise to adorn their clothes with gold or silver according to their means. As for the rest of the people, the following method was employed. A suit of clothes cut according to the new fashion was hung at the gate of the city, with a decree enjoining upon all except peasants to have their clothes made on this model, upon penalty of being forced to kneel and have all that part of their garments which fell below the knee cut off, or pay two grives every time they entered the town with clothes in the old style. Since the guards at the gates executed their duty in curtailing the garments in a sportive spirit, the people were amused and readily abandoned their old dress, especially in Moscow and its environs, and in the towns which the tsar often visited. The dress of the women was changed, too. English hairdressing was substituted for the caps and bonnets hitherto worn; bodices, stays, and skirts, for the former undergarments. . . The same ordinance also provided that in the future women, as well as men, should be invited to entertainments, such as weddings, banquets, and the like, where both sexes should mingle in the same hall, as in Holland and England. It was likewise added that these entertainments should conclude with concerts and dances, but that only those should be admitted who were dressed in English costumes. His Majesty set the example in all these changes. . .
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Explanation & Answer

Okay, I'm finished! Let me know if you need anything added or changed and I'll be happy to make any changes you need :)

It would be very beneficial to your people to learn from Western culture because much of
it is very useful. You might study more shipbuilding and focus on subjects such as science and
math to enhance your people. I would also suggest allowing wom...

Just what I needed. Studypool is a lifesaver!


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