Alexander Ivanovich Herzen (Russian: Алекса́ндр Ива́нович Ге́рцен) (April 6 1812 – January 21 1870) was a Russian pro-Western writer and thinker known as the "father of Russian socialism" and one of the main fathers of agrarian populism (being an ideological ancestor of the Narodniki, Socialist-Revolutionaries, Trudoviks and the agrarian American Populist Party). He is held responsible for creating a political climate leading to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. His autobiography My Past and Thoughts, written with grace, energy, and ease, is often considered the best specimen of that genre in Russian literature. He also published the important social novel Who is to Blame? (1845–46).
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“If nations always moved from one set of furnished rooms to anotherand always into a better setthings might be easier, but the trouble is that there is no one to prepare the new rooms. The future is worse than the oceanthere is nothing there. It will be what men and circumstances make it.”
—Alexander Herzen (18121870)