This paper explores portrayals of Catherinian Russia in British and American periodicals during her reign, between 1762 and 1796. Catherine II had an incredibly eventful reign as she enacted important domestic reforms, engaged in two major wars with the Ottoman Empire, executed three partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and created the League of Armed Neutrality, among other accomplishments. Britain and America equally experienced momentous change during this period, most notably with the American War for Independence. This paper examines how British and American periodicals reacted to the significant events of Catherine's reign using published materials such as news reports, opinion essays, book reviews, poems, Parliament proceedings, and letters to the editor. This paper first discusses the image of Catherine II as a monarch and a woman in British newspapers. I analyze the transformation in the British perspective from a favorable view of the empress to a condemnatory one beginning in 1780 and juxtapose it to Catherine's portrayal in American periodicals in which the empress suffered from a negative reputation for a majority of her reign. I then shift focus from Catherine as an individual to Russia as a whole. I explore the derogatory views of the Russian nation and people largely expressed in British and American newspapers and identify how this prejudice, in turn, affected the image of Catherine II. The major themes of this analysis are foreign policy between Russia, Britain, and America, during Catherine's reign in the 18th century, gender constructs, and ethnocentrism.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Solonari, Vladimir


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities





Access Status

Open Access

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History Commons