Alexander I was the Emperor of Russia from 1801, the first King of Congress Poland from 1815, and the Grand Duke of Finland from 1809 to his death. He was the eldest son of Emperor Paul I and Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg.
Born in Saint Petersburg to Grand Duke Paul Petrovich, later Paul I, Alexander succeeded to the throne after his father was murdered. He ruled Russia during the chaotic period of the Napoleonic Wars. As prince and during the early years of his reign, Alexander often used liberal rhetoric, but continued Russia's absolutist policies in practice. In the first years of his reign, he initiated some minor social reforms and major liberal educational reforms, such as building more universities. Alexander appointed Mikhail Speransky, the son of a village priest, as one of his closest advisors. The Collegia was abolished and replaced by the State Council, which was created to improve legislation. Plans were also made to set up a parliament and sign a constitution.
In foreign policy, he changed Russia's position relative to France four times between 1804 and 1812 among neutrality, opposition, and alliance.