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Encyclopedia > Nihilist movement

The Nihilist movement was an 1860s Russian cultural movement which rejected existing authorities and values. It is derived from the Latin word "nihil", which means "nothing". After the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881, the Nihilists were known throughout Europe as proponents of the use of violence as a tool for political change. // The First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA was built in the six year period between 1863 and 1869. ... Alexander (Aleksandr) II Nikolaevich (Russian: Александр II Николаевич) (born 29 April 1818 in Moscow; died 13 March 1881 in St. ...



The Nihilists were outraged by the relative backwardness of life in Russia in comparison with Western countries such as England and France. Although the term Nihilist had been used before, its widespread usage began with the 1862 novel Fathers and Sons by the Russian author Ivan Turgenev. The main character of the novel, Bazarov, who describes himself as a Nihilist, wants to educate the people. This "go to the people — be the people" campaign reached its height in the 1870s, during which underground groups such as Circle of Tchaikovsky, People's Reprisal and Land and Liberty were formed. This became known as the Narodnik movement. The Russian State attempted to suppress them. In actions described by the Nihilists as propaganda of the deed many government officials were assassinated. In 1881 Alexander II was murdered on the very day he had approved a proposal to call a representative assembly to consider new reforms. 1862 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Fathers and Sons is an 1862 novel by Ivan Turgenev, his best known work. ... Ivan Turgenev, photo by Félix Nadar (1820-1910) “Turgenev” redirects here. ... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... The Circle of Tchaikovsky was a Russian literary society for self-education. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Narodniks was the name for Russian revolutionaries of the 1860s and 1870s. ... Propaganda of the deed (or propaganda by the deed, from the French propagande par le fait) is a concept of anarchist origin, which appeared towards the end of the 19th century, that promoted terrorism against political enemies as a way of inspiring the masses and catalyzing revolution. ... Year 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ... Alexander (Aleksandr) II Nikolaevich (Russian: Александр II Николаевич) (born 29 April 1818 in Moscow; died 13 March 1881 in St. ...

Historical context

Beginning with the reign of Peter the Great (1682–1725), many in the Russian elite were fascinated by the technological, artistic, and intellectual achievements of Western Europe: Peter the Great or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov (Russian: Пётр I Алексеевич Pyotr I Alekséyevich) (9 June 1672–8 February 1725 [30 May 1672–28 January 1725 O.S.][1]) ruled Russia from 7 May (27 April O.S.) 1682 until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his weak and sickly...

During the 1820s and 1830s Russian thought was influenced powerfully by several waves of German Romantic idealism and then the philosophy of Hegel, both of which raised...the concept of distinct national identity and of “inevitable” historical progress… (Wasiolek, 3) Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (August 27, 1770 - November 14, 1831) was a German philosopher born in Stuttgart, Württemberg, in present-day southwest Germany. ...

After the Crimean War (1853–56) however the Nihilists rejected the German-influenced liberals of the 1830–40s generation, decrying previous reforms as ineffective. Both sets of reformers were opposed by the conservative Slavophiles, who sought to defend established traditions and values. Combatants Allies: Second French Empire British Empire Ottoman Empire Kingdom of Sardinia Russian Empire Bulgarian volunteers Casualties 90,000 French 35,000 Turkish 17,500 British 2,194 Sardinian killed, wounded and died of disease ~134,000 killed, wounded and died of disease The Crimean War (1853–1856) was fought... A Slavophile was an advocate of the supremacy of Slavic culture over that of others, especially Western European culture. ...

Political philosophy

Nihilist political philosophy saw existing religions, political institutions, and morality as opposed to Freedom. Unlike Anarchism the Nihilists did not reject the State they believed that the right sort of rulers would make the right sort of changes to society. The Nihilists did not advocate belief in nothing, they believed in liberating human beings from existing creeds and practices via an appeal to objective values. Although this critique is accompanied by an endorsement of the findings of modern science, it is also (somewhat inconsistently) accompanied by attacks upon the assumption that we can discover truths about the universe. The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state, government, politics, liberty, justice, property, rights, law and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why (or even if) they are needed, what makes a government legitimate, what... Politics is the process by which decisions are made within groups. ... -1... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Anarchism is a political philosophy or group of philosophies and attitudes which reject any form of compulsory government[1] (cf. ... A state is a political association with effective dominion over a geographic area. ...

See also

This article or section should be merged with Narodnik Narodism known as a set of revolutionary tactics once used by the Russian Narodniks, and shortly later the Peoples Will party, which fought for the class position of Russias peasantry. ... Narodniks was the name for Russian revolutionaries of the 1860s and 1870s. ...


  Results from FactBites:
Nihilist movement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (912 words)
The Nihilist movement was an 1860s Russian cultural movement marked by the questioning of the validity of all forms of preconceived ideas and social norms.
Nihilists were denounced as agitators, and after the killing of the Tzar Alexander II they became known in the Western Europe as preconizers of destruction as the primary tool for political change.
Nihilist political philosophy rejected all religious and political authority, social traditions, and traditional morality as standing in opposition to freedom, the ultimate ideal.
  More results at FactBites »



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