The Latvian peasantry was an eager market because literacy rates in the Baltic Provinces were abnormally high for the Russian Empire.? From the mid-nineteenth century, literacy rates increased markedly every decade and there was a boom in school construction. At least 80 per cent of the Latvian population could rate that dwarfed Russian rates. Increasing literacy, sophistication and wealth led to the formation of Latvian self-help organisations. The Latvian Association of Riga, founded in 1868, was the first and most important. Provincial branches co-ordinated a campaign promoting education and culture across the Baltic Provinces. In 1873, the Latvian Association organised the first Latvian Song Festival in Riga, a visual and audible demonstration of Latvian cultural merit. The Latvian Association of Riga and the Young Latvian Krisjanis Valdemars epitomised the Latvian nation from 1850 to 1885. They struggled for a cultural awakening, but had a gradual programme for social and political change. They did not advocate social rebellion, but defended the values of the middle class from private property to their leading role within the national awakening. Krisjanis Valdemars, whose formula for the national revival was education + technology + capital, found no contradiction in working within Tsarist ministries while becoming the material godfather of the movement. The Young Latvians were loyal to the Tsar; the extent of their political programme was indigenisation or the replacement of the Baltic Germans' privileged position in Baltic society with Young Latvians.