I have deciphered two possible essay questions from the research I have been doing and I am now onto finishing the last of my research and starting on writing my essay. My essay question will be along the lines of: To what extent was Catherine the Great and her reforms influenced by the enlightened thinking of the French philsophers, specifically Voltaire and Rousseau? Or: To what extent was Catherine the Great an 'enlightened despot' and a product of her time? Both of the questions will be effective in enabling me to be able to have a long, detailed arguement using the research that I have obtained so far. I am uncertain on which question to choose however as the first will have a a more specific answer while the second while enable me to be more broad. However this could also make it harder for me when trying to keep the essay to the required length and to only include the relevant information. I think I am considering more the second question because I can talk about how Catherine was an ' enlightened despot' as she forced her englightened ways on the people of Russia, and how she was greatl influencedby the new reforms and ways of the time of which she ruled.