Historical Context in Fathers and Sons
The Decembrist Revolt: In 1825, there was a question as to who would be the next tsar,or emperor, of Russia. Liberals influenced by Western thought resisted the appointment of the new tsar, Nicholas I, whom they saw as too conservative and too willing to increase aristocratic power. Russian liberals emphasized civil liberties and advocated for the abolishment of serfdom. The revolt failed, but philosophical tenets from both sides—Paul’s conservative adherence to tradition and Nikolai’s liberalist view of his workers—can be observed in the older generation’s characters.
Nihilism: Nihilism is a philosophical set of beliefs that posits that life is inherently meaningless and moral values are invented rather than innate. Its followers adhere to an extreme form of skepticism which causes them to question what others might take for granted. Russian nihilism in the 1860s was known for its rejection of any type of authority—moral, aristocratic, or otherwise. In the 1870s, nihilists would turn more violent, assassinating political opponents. Followers of nihilism were sometimes subject to imprisonment or hard labor in Siberia. Fathers and Sons popularized the use of the term through its portrayal of the young nihilist Bazarov.
Historical Context Examples in Fathers and Sons:
""No; I have appointed a fresh one, for I came to the conclusion that I could not have any freed serfs about the place...." See in text (Chapter III)