After the Napoleonic Wars: Reading 'Perpetual Peace' in the Russian Empire
Russia’s ambitions under Emperor Alexander I to establish a new political order in Europe in 1813–1815 have been widely discussed by historians. Assessments of this new order itself, as it was finally implemented in the wake of the Congress of Vienna, vary markedly, but it is generally believed that the post-war system was the fruit of interactions between several participants who represented Europe’s old regimes in an age of revolution. The Holy Alliance as a vision of international order is often presented to be diametrically opposed to the more radical, republican imagining of global order such as that associated with Immanuel Kant’s Perpetual Peace. This chapter shakes up this view by analysing the importance of Kant’s ideas in the intellectual formation of one of the most influential Russian imperial political thinkers of this period, Sergey Uvarov. The degree of indebtedness to Kant’s work in his vision of international order, though it ultimately conflicts with the spirit of Kant’s work, was strongest in the period of Franco–Russian conflict.