In 1835, the French thinker, Alexis de Tocqueville whom you met in the French module of this course describe the United States and Russia as the two countries that were affiliated to sway the destinies of half the globe. Observing similarities in their sweeping economic and political ambitions, he noted however, they're vastly different political systems. The US was already a famous democracy, and its principal instrument of expansion was its advocacy for freedom. Russia was a no less famous autocracy and its principal instrument of expansion was servitude. As if in response to justice statement, Abraham Lincoln, the American President from 1861 to 1865 eager to abolish slavery in his homeland. Wrote in 1858 that if slavery was allowed to continue to spread in the US, he would prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty. To Russia for instance, where despotism can be taking pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy. If servitude including the institution of serfdom indeed was an essential and dominating feature of 19th century Russia. Lincoln seemed to say, the country was at least honest about it, unlike the United States which advocated freedom but kept its black population enslaved. In contrast to Tocqueville, Lincoln suggested some 20 years later that the United States and Russia had much more in common in their political structures than many people wanted to recognize. Today we will look into some elements of this shared history. By the mid 19th century, Russia and the United States where the very few last countries that preserved and relied on the institutions of serfdom and slavery. This institutions weren't identical, but they closely resembled one another. Serves just like slaves were bought and sold, they had almost no legal or civil rights. They were severely restrained in their mobility and they enjoyed very little of their own property or personal freedom. Our goal today is to understand what significance American slavery had four different groups of the Russian population, such as Russian intellectuals Russian serf owners. And the Russian Tsar, Alexander II who ruled the Empire from 1855 to 1881. We will also talk about how Russia or specifically, the Russians Tsar thought of the American slave emancipation which took place in 1863 just two years after the Russian emancipation of the serfs. With descendants of Alexander II to the throne in 1855, Russia became a more liberal place. And Alexander was open about his desire to abolish serfdom. Serf owners however, opposed such a change. Despite the more liberal mindset of the Tsar, public debates about abolition were not common. Print publications criticizing serfdom were heavily censored and could help put their authors in jail. At the same time in Russia, publications and lectures criticizing American slavery were not censored and became a constant feature in the intellectual journals in the middle of the 19th century. In Russian eyes, slavery in the US was not just another example of a regressive social organization on the other side of the globe. But the very mirror through which Russia could reflect on its own problems. A particularly well-known figure in this regard was Dimitri Kachenovsky. Kachenovsky was the liberally minded law professor at Harcov University, and a specialist of American history and politics. As one of his students wrote in memoir, Kachenovsky lectured months after months on the history of the slave trade while hundreds of people in the audience were justly hearing and his translucent words an attack against Russian serfdom. Writing and talking about American slaves in other words, became a form of Aesopian language for Russian intellectuals, a language of disguised criticism. Which was a common mode of opposing authority in a climate that did not allow for a public openness. But there was another side to this smearing. By the 18th century, Russian serf owners trying to justify serfdom developed a kind of racial distinction between themselves and the serfs. Modeling it on the American racial distinction between white slave owners and black slaves. In Russia, serfs and their owners were of the same ethnicity. But as the historian, Peter Cochin showed, Russian serfs were thought of by their owners as of an inherently different nature, intrinsically lazy, childlike, and requiring of direction as where the American blacks. Serfdom was abolished on March 3rd, 1861, the day before Abraham Lincoln's presidential inauguration when Alexander II single-handedly issued the Emancipation Manifesto. 1861 was also the year when the American Civil War began, leading to the emancipation of slaves two years later. As Russian historian, Alexander Chubarov pointed out, the Russian emancipation was achieved without civil war and without devastation or armed coercion. But Chubarov argues only a ruler with absolute power could carry out such a massive reform. It could not have been done in a democracy. The Russian Noble class that opposed the reform had no actual powers to either shape or resist the actions of the Tsar. Ironically, the Russian autocracy was a form of government that allowed for a more peaceful transition towards a new social order than American democracy. There was another significant difference in the way emancipation happened in the two countries. Newly freed Russian serfs were given some property of their own when they were liberated, and their owners were given financial compensation. American slaves did not receive any property, though they were supposed to. Reflecting on this, Alexander II noted in an interview, I'm at a loss to understand how you, Americans could have been so blind as to leave the negro slave without tools to work out his salvation. Without property of any kind, he cannot educate himself and his children. I believe the time must come when many will question the manner of American emancipation of the Negro slaves in 1863. Emboldened by the success of its serf emancipation, Russia declared its ideological support of the Union during the American Civil War. And opposed France and Great Britain, or where to swayed by their reliance on cotton from the American South to take sides in the American conflict. Alexander II was unwavering in his position. He announced that should France and Great Britain intervene on the side of the Confederate states. He would take it as an invitation to go to war alongside the Union. Indeed he sent a fleet to New York and San Francisco but Great Britain and France did not intervene. And so there was no need for the fleet's participation in battles. In conclusion, it is important to stress that the shared desire to abolish serfdom and slavery generated a lot of mutual interest on the part of Russia and the United States. At the highest level, Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln repeatedly exchanged letters in which they called each other a good friend, although they never met. They also shared a personal tragedy, Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 as part of a conspiracy to save the Confederate States. Alexander II was assassinated a bit later in 1881 as part of a revolutionary attempt to overthrow Russia's Tsarist autocracy. With the common goal of serf and slave emancipation accomplished, the interest of the two countries began to diverge by the end of the 19th century. Slowly yielding to the complicated relations and hostile attitudes which dominated much of the 20th century.