After the Napoleonic war, Alexander I became more mystical and conservative. At the same time, Russian thinkers turned to German idealistic philosophy because, according to James Billington, rationalism was identified with revolution, revolution with Napoleon, and Napoleon with the invasion of Russia and the burning of Moscow. (The Icon and the Axe, page 303)
Disappointment with the governments change to a more conservative course led to the Decembrist rebellion of 1825, an unorganized revolt mostly by army officers from aristocratic families and their elite regiments. These men were liberals in the tradition of the Enlightenment and French Revolution. Their unsuccessful attempt to rebel led to their exile and the further alienation of many intellectuals.