Das Kapital is an extensive treatise on political economy written in German by Karl Marx and edited in part by Friedrich Engels. The book is a critical analysis of capitalism. Its first volume was published in 1867.
In 1864 Marx became involved in the International Workingmen's Association (also known as First International). He became a leader of its General Council, to whose General Council he was elected at its inception in 1864.
In 1861 all serfs were freed in a major agrarian reform, stimulated by the fear voiced by Tsar Alexander II that "it is better to liberate the peasants from above" than to wait until they won their freedom by risings "from below." Serfdom was abolished in 1861, but its abolition was achieved on terms unfavorable to the peasants and served to increase revolutionary pressures. Between 1864 to 1871 serfdom was abolished in Georgia. In Kalmykia serfdom was only abolished in 1892.
The officers of the Napoleonic Wars brought ideas of liberalism back to Russia with them and attempted to curtail the tsar's powers during the abortive Decembrist revolt of 1825. At the end of the conservative reign of Nicolas I (1825–55) a zenith period of Russia's power and influence in Europe was disrupted by defeat in the Crimean War.