In this activity you will use the two strategies, context clues and word parts, to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words and phrases. The activity will focus on words that describe political, social or economic aspects of the Russian Revolution. At any time during the activity, you may go back to Learn It to review the two strategies.
Read the following description of the conditions that led to the Russian Revolution of 1917. Use the two strategies, context clues and word parts, to determine the meaning of words and phrases that are underlined in the quotation. After the excerpt, you will be asked about the meanings of the words.
Under Czar Nicholas II, Russia slowly industrialized. However, Nicholas resisted calls for government reforms and announced, “The principle of autocracy will be maintained by me as firmly and unswervingly as by my lamented father.” He repressed any forms of political opposition.
Russia's industrialization led to a large increase in the size of the urban middle class and the working class. Because the government owned most of the industry, the bourgeoisie or wealthy middle class were fewer in number and less politically active than the working class. The working class and peasants were the first to establish political parties. Bad living and working conditions, high taxes, and land hunger gave rise to more frequent strikes and agrarian disorders. In 1905, about 200,000 workers and their families marched on the czar’s Winter Palace in St. Petersburg with petitions asking for better working conditions and greater personal freedoms. The soldiers at the palace fired on the crowd killing between 500 and 1,000 people. This massacre became known as “Bloody Sunday” and creating even more social and political unrest.