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Alexander I was born in St Petersburg in 1777 His parents were Paul son of Catherine the Great and Maria Fyodorovna the former Princess of Wurttemburg At his birth he was taken to be raised by his Grandmother Catherine the Great Due to Alexanders troubled childhood and life he proved to be very insecure and unstable as the Tsar of Russia Alexanders childhood was troubled by divisions in the family Both sides tried to use him for their own purposes Alexander found himself in a difficult position between his half-mad father and his overwhelming and possessive grandmother Alexander was obedient to both learning early in life to conceal his true thoughts From his fathers end which he preferred to forget he learned to never trust anyone Alexander was merely 17 when his grandmother married him to Princess Louise of Baden-Durlach who was only 14 The premature marriage had been arranged to guarantee descendants to the Romanov dynasty It was an unhappy relationship from the beginning The sweet and charming girl was loved by everyone except her husband As a wedding present Catherine gave Alexander the Alexander Palace showing her preference for his grandson over her son Paul by granting Alexander a larger court than his fathers This further poisoned the atmosphere in the family These experiences taught Alexander early in life how to manipulate those who loved him and he became a natural at changing his views and personality depending on whom he was with at the time Catherine was determined that Alexander would receive a Westernized education This was a startling change for an heir to the Russian throne Catherine expected that a liberal education would help Alexander to reign wisely for the benefit of the country Alexanders primary tutor was Cesar La Harpe a Swiss revolutionary and republican who implanted in Alexander a strong emotional attachment for the philosophy of Enlightenment but failed to familiarize him with Russian social and political reality Alexander
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