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The October Manifesto

Source Analysis for Modern History

Sudam Dias

on 22 June 2010

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Transcript of The October Manifesto

Assess how useful the Source would be for a historian studying the political changes in Russia in the period 1905-1914. In your answer consider the perspectives provided by the source and its reliability.

The Manifesto on the Improvement of State Order
Manifesto of October 17, 1905.

We, Nicholas II, By the Grace of God Emperor and Autocrat of all Russia, King of Poland, Grand Duke of Finland, etc., proclaim to all Our loyal subjects:

Rioting and disturbances in the capitals and in many localities of Our Empire fill Our heart with great and heavy grief. The well-being of the Russian Sovereign is inseparable from the well-being of the nation, and the nation's sorrow is his sorrow. The disturbances that have taken place may cause grave tension in the nation and may threaten the integrity and unity of Our state.

By the great vow of service as tsar We are obliged to use every resource of wisdom and of Our authority to bring a speedy end to unrest that is dangerous to Our state. We have ordered the responsible authorities to take measures to terminate direct manifestations of disorder, lawlessness, and violence and to protect peaceful people who quietly seek to fulfil their duties. To carry out successfully the general measures that we have conceived to restore peace to the life of the state, We believe that it is essential to coordinate activities at the highest level of government.

We require the government dutifully to execute our unshakeable will:

(1.)To grant to the population the essential foundations of civil freedom, based on the principles of genuine inviolability of the person, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association.
(2.)Without postponing the scheduled elections to the State Duma, to admit to participation in the duma (insofar as possible in the short time that remains before it is scheduled to convene) of all those classes of the population that now are completely deprived of voting rights; and to leave the further development of a general statute on elections to the future legislative order.
(3.)To establish as an unbreakable rule that no law shall take effect without confirmation by the State Duma and that the elected representatives of the people shall be guaranteed the opportunity to participate in the supervision of the legality of the actions of Our appointed officials.

We summon all loyal sons of Russia to remember their duties toward their country, to assist in terminating the unprecedented unrest now prevailing, and together with Us to make every effort to restore peace and tranquillity to Our native land.

Given at Peterhof the 17th of October in the 1905th year of Our Lord and of Our reign the eleventh.

Nicholas Tsar II The October Manifesto The red hand splashed across it symbolises the rejection by the revolutionaries of that period in Russia.
This primary source is an original translation of the October Manifesto, officially titled 'The Manifesto on the Improvement of State Order'. It was written by Sergei Witte and Alexis Obolenskii in early October 1905. It was later signed on the 30th of October.
This source was translated by Daniel Field.
The document was presented at Peterhof on the 17th of October in the 1905th year of Our Lord and of Our reign the eleventh.

Provenance The Source What does it show? Nicholas Tsar II was reluctantly forced to concede to a number of political changes.
Audience The audience of this "witting source" would have been the;
the revolutionaries (such as Moscow Soviets)
Russian society in general, mainly workers and peasantry
other nations
Students of history

Bias Bias is evident in the source where Witte and Obolenskii attempt to persuade and influence the audience of the source to maintain their belief in the Tsarist regime. As instrumental figures in the regime, Witte (the current prime minister) and Obolenskii (a key political personnel) it is their duty to sustain peace within Russian society and thus were heavily influenced to not speak their free mind. This was influenced by the fact that Nicholas II had complete control over them.
They attempt to make the audience feel united in their cause against repression, attempting to take blame away from the regime by; pleading to restore peace and to terminate the unprecedented turmoil, through the laxing and granting of certain laws and through creation of the Duma.
The effective use of emotive language assists in emphasising and promoting their belief, that the Tsars concern for the Russian public is significant. They also attempt to glorify their current system of Tsarist regime, almost assuming that the Russian public didn’t know any better.
This bias severely hinders the reliability of the source as when cross-referenced it is undoubtedly evident that the Tsar regime and Nicholas II was clearly an inadequate leader whom merely cared for his family rather than the people of Russia.
*Source is heavily biased
*Maybe even a form of propaganda (unintentional purpose)
*Biased due to its context?
*? The source’s letter-style format indicates that the bias was most probably intentional and directed towards the public as an appeal. ?
He saw the creation of the October Manifesto as a vital strategic movement to ensure the survival of the Tsar regime.
Promised to maintain peace and order in the streets of Russia; it pleas to the public to maintain their trust and faith and to halt all public oppression.
Issued a constitutional system with an elected parliament, or Duma. After these concessions, the government combined peasant land reform with bloody police repression to quiet the countryside.
It also promises fundamental civil liberties, franchise to all classes and the establishment of the State Duma, whom are to control the creation of legislation. Due to decades of ongoing pressure and more recent public disturbances and unrest among the Russian peasantry and working class. Evident in "Rioting and disturbances in the capitals and in many localities of Our Empire". Emotive Language Cross-referencing When cross-referenced with other primary and secondary sources the information provided by this source couldn’t all be deemed accurate. The majority of the information provided in this source is biased and utilised as a way of upholding and persuading the Russian peasantry into trusting the Tsarist regime. But the information concerning the establishment of legislation and the recent population unrest can be supported when cross-referenced. *Typical
'Great and heavy grief'
'nation's sorrow is his sorrow'
'terminate direct manifestations of disorder'
'responsible authorities'
'Loyal sons of Russia'
Repeated references to 'Our' and 'We' Sergei Witte was the newly appointed prime minister of Russia in the latter months of 1905
Thus had a knowledgable understanding of the political and social predicament of Russia.
But he's sole purpose was to persuade and motivate the Russian population in favour of the Tsars.
Alexis Obolenskii also had great insight and depths into the political and social issues occurring in Russia, due to his reputable position as a politician.
This source can be considered useful for a historian studying;
the political and social issues that were occurring in Russia during the 1905 Revolution
the changing perspective that the Russian public had concerning, especially the peasants and working class, against the Tsarist regime
it highlights how the growing desperation of the Tsar as he senses the declining of popularity and respect upon his reign (hinting major political change)
it also shows how the Tsars rule was based on deception and lies as the source attempts to convince the public to persist with their rule
it shows the changing legislation that occurred during the 1905 Revolution as a means of satisfying the demands of the peasantry and middle classes.
it shows how the Tsar was willing to use violence and force to put end to the disturbances, emphasising his 'lack of ability' to rule Russia.
it shows the dominant power of Nicholas II and his ability to control 'everything'.*?*??*?*

Time and Place Rule Sergei Witte and Alexis Obolenskii were in Russia when the document was written.
They were also present for all the disturbances occurring during the 1905 Revolution.

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