Prior to the revolution of 1917 no other change in modern Russian history touched the status and lives of so many Russians, so relatively suddenly, and so deeply as the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. Although the Moscow Slavophils, were not the first in the nineteenth century to show concern for the Russian serfs and for their emancipation, they took, as is well known, a prominent part in bringing about the reform of 1861. There was a certain smugness in the Moscow Slavophils’ notion that the socialist order for which many in the West were groping was already in existence in Russia and only needed certain adjustments, the principal one being emancipation of the serfs. In the early 1850s, however, neither the mechanization and modernization of agriculture in Russia, nor its general industrialization, was as basic to Russian society as the emancipation of the serfs.