I have now finished my essay and am currently editing and ensuring that everything for the assignment is completed. Whilst writing my essay, I found it quite hard incorporating my material and information into the essay. Also, I found I have so much information, especially on her reforms, that I found it hard to summarise it all into the essay. On reflection on the overall assignment, I believe the assignment was over much too long of a time period, thus drawing it out too long and making it harder to focus purely on one's essay question. I also found documenting my notes on a Weebly website tedious compared with the normal not taking process that I would take. This could also be due to the fact that Weebly is a lot harder to use than say Microsoft Word. However, I did find the assignment enjoyable and fascinating in some aspects and felt it did help broaden my knowledge bank on Catherine the Great and the Enlightenment.
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.
I have been continuing on in my research on the reforms of Catherine the Great and have been highly successful in finding information on them. I am extremely fascinated by the reforms that she introduced during nher reign and the influencs that help bring about these reforms. For my essay, I am thinking of concentrating on the three main areas where she introduced reforms: economic, social and political. I will then go on to talk about what these reforms did and show how you can see her influences throug the reforms. I have also tried researching the people that influenced Catherin, namely Voltaire and Rousseau. I have found it quite easy to find information on Voltaire but much harder to find any on Rousseau.
Now further into my excursion, I have started working on creating and editing my weebly. I have found it slightly hard trying to create and choose a design for the weebly because there is just so much choice and the software is sometimes quite hard to use. I have also begun researching my topic, focusing particularly on what the enlightenment was and then how it influenced Catherine the Great. I have found a bit hard finding the information that I am looking for for my topic as most of the information isn't as specific as I need it to be. I am thinking of trying out a different search engine besides Google so as to find different and hopefully more useful information.
With starting off with this topic, I had very limited knowledge about Russia and the era of Catherine the Great. However from the background information that we have covered in class on the topic, I have been able to pick my topic for the assignment. I have chosen to study Catherine the Great's influences from Voltaire and Rousseau to the Englightenment. I chose this topic because I am fascinated and intrigued by the englightened way of thinking and wish to gain a knowledge on what influenced Catherine to rule as she did. I look forward to learning more about the regimes and laws that Catherine the Great introduced into Russia and what brought her to introducing them. I have done some limited research so far on the topic and I hope to gather a lot more as the research process continues.