By the order of Alexander I from the 9th of September 1801 Penza once again acquired the principal city status, and the province embraced 10 districts. In 1801-1809 privy councilor F.L. Vigel was appointed governor of Penza province. Among the most memorable rulers of Penza province was M.M. Speransky, a remarkable state figure of Russia. In the second part of XIX century the province was ruled by most enthusiastic governors: active state councilor A.A. Tatishchev, major general A.A. Goryaynov.
The people of Penza courageously and actively participated in the Great Patriotic War of 1812-1814. Together with Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Kostroma, Simbirsk and Vyatka, Penza province formed the third circle of volunteer troops.
On the 2nd of January 1813 Penza volunteer troops consisting of more than 7 thousand men set out on the march. On the 4th-7th of October 1913 Penza volunteer troops fought in the Battle of Leipzig, after that - in the Battle of Dresden. As Magdeburg had fallen regiments from Penza were included into the column of lieutenant general Markov and on the 20th of January 1814 jointly with volunteer troops from Ryazan sieged Hamburg, while the main Russian forces headed to Paris, which was taken on the 29th of March 1814.
Quite a number of Penza residents, as well as people associated with Penza province, were among the Decembrists, including Ivan Alexandrovich Annenkov, Alexander Petrovich and Petr Petrovich Belyaev, Ivan Nikolaevich Gorstkin, Grigory Alexandrovich Rimsky-Korsakov, Alexander Mikhailovich Bulatov, Appolon Vasilyevich and Alexey Vasilyevich Vedenyapin, Alexey Alexeevich Tuchkov.
Peasants of Penza province were involved in the liberation movement of 1960s. A large riot took place in late March - early April in the estate of landlord Mikhailovsky-Danilevsky in Chemodanovka village, at that time a part of Gorodishche district. Rapidly growing the riot seized villages of Borisovka, Stepanovka and moved to other settlements of Gorodishche district.
In December 1861 disturbances broke out in the estate of duke Kurakin – the village of Kurakino in Gorodishche district. The largest events included uprisings of peasants in Chembar and Kerensk districts. In spring 1861 a revolt with strongly pronounced anti-serfdom spirit burst out in Kandievka village and was distinguished by fierce struggle and large-scale involvement.
The populist movement of 1871-1895 is closely related to Penza region. Revolutionary populists used to send out propagandists to agitate among peasantry and to arise them against the arbitrary tsarist regime. However, such efforts of populists in Penza province had no success.