Alexander I, Tsar of Russia

(1777–1825)
   Alexander I was tsar of Russia from 1801 to 1825. After succeeding his father, Paul I, Alexander soon became alarmed at Napoleonic expansion and was instrumental in establishing the Third Coalition against France in 1805. When his forces were decisively defeated at Austerlitz, Alexander withdrew to Poland, where in the following year, in alliance with Prussia, he continued operations until the spring of 1807. After his army’s defeat at Friedland in 1807, he met Napoleon at Tilsit and came to an arrangement with the French emperor by which the tsar agreed to join the Continental System, so prohibiting all trade between Russia and Britain. Within a few years, however, Franco-Russian relations broke down. Realizing that his alliance with France was detrimental to Russia’s economy, angered by the failure of Napoleon to support Russia’s interests in Turkey and Sweden, and concerned about the proximity of Napoleon’s Polish satellite state, the Duchy of Warsaw, Alexander found himself again at war with France. Prodded by Napoleon’s disastrous invasion in 1812, Alexander played a key role in the ultimate defeat of France and the reestablishment of the balance of power in Europe through the political restructuring of the Continent agreed at the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
   FURTHER READING:
    Dziewanowski, M. K. Alexander I: Russia ’ s Mysterious Tsar. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1990;
    Hartley, Janet. Alexander I. London: Longman, 1994;
    Klimenko, Michael. Tsar Alexander I: Portrait of an Autocrat. Tenafly, NJ: Hermitage Publishers, 2002;
    Palmer, Alan. Alexander I: Tsar of War and Peace. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1974.
   GREGORY FREMONT-BARNES

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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