History KS3 / GCSE: Russian Serfs

Andrew Marr describes how serfdom was finally abolished in Russia in the 19th century.

He uses Tolstoy’s efforts to free his serfs as a case study, and explores Tsar Alexander II’s failed attempt to fully emancipate the serfs.

This is from the series: Andrew Marr's History of the World

Teacher Notes

Pupils could draft questions and possible responses to serfs and nobility to determine their points of view.

Pupils could then debate in various roles the need for reform and the possible benefits of the abolition of serfdom.

The issue of serfdom can be used to explore the main features of Russia under Alexander II.

Students could list the features under different headings, such as: Politics, Society, Economy.

A discussion could follow focusing on the main obstacles to progress in Russia during this period, perhaps concluding with consideration of the inevitably of the Tsar's downfall.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching History and Politics at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England and Northern Ireland and National 5 and Higher in Scotland.

This topic appears in OCR, AQA, in England CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA Scotland.

More from the series: Andrew Marr's History of the World

History KS3 / GCSE: China's Cultural Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: The French Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: The Industrial Revolution
History KS3 / GCSE: Gandhi
History KS3 / GCSE: Development of the contraceptive pill
History KS3 / GCSE: American Civil War
History KS3 / GCSE: The Atomic bomb
History KS3 / GCSE: Alexander the Great
History KS3 / GCSE: Hitler's rise to power