Imperial Russia was at the height of its power and influence in the nineteenth century, and seemed set to dominate Europe after the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. However this threat came to nothing. Despite the efforts of successive Tsars, the country remained backward and bureaucratic. When change at last occurred, it was through the work of the revolutionaries during the 1917 Revolution. Imperial Russia, 1801 - 1905 traces the development of the Russian Empire from the murder of 'mad Tsar Paul' to the reforms of the 1809s that were an attempt to modernise the autocratic state. Each Tsar's reign is analysed in turn: Alexander I (1801 - 25); Nicholas I (1825 - 55); Alexander II (1855 - 81); Alexander III (1881 - 94); The political, economic and foreign policy of the Tsars is discussed, as well as Russia's cultural developments particularly in literature. The fascinating events of the Crimean War and the emancipation of the serfs are set in the context of the main themes of the period. The reign of Nicholas II is also introduced with the background to the Russian Revolution.