A man of liberal education, he established the Mihaileana Academy, a kind of university, in Iaşi. He brought scholars from foreign countries to act as teachers, and gave a very powerful stimulus to the educational development of the country. In 1844 he decreed the emancipation of the Gypsies. Until then the Gypsies had been treated as slaves and owned by the Church or by private landowners; they had been bought and sold in the open market. He attempted the secularization of monastic establishments, which was carried out by Prince Alexandru Ioan Cuza in 1864, and the utilization of their endowments for national purposes. He quelled the attempted revolution in 1848 without bloodshed by arresting all the conspirators and expelling them from the country.
He vacationed with his family annually at Baden in Germany. When his 16-year-old son died there in 1863, he erected a Greek Orthodox church on Michaelsberg to serve as his crypt.