Faced with the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century, Sultan Mahmud II initiated a set of social changes. Mahmud’s successors followed with the Tanzimat, or “reorganization,” a sweeping set of reforms designed to modernize and Westernize the Ottoman Empire. Efforts to turn back the Tanzimat reforms prompted a rebellion by the Young Turks, proponents of industrialization and Turkish nationalism. Ottoman decline led North African leaders to assert their autonomy. Egypt’s Muhammad Ali set out to transform Egypt’s agriculture and commerce. Fearful of the emergence of a powerful Egypt, the European powers frustrated Muhammad Ali’s political and economic ambitions. The construction of the Suez Canal further cemented Europe’s interest in controlling Egypt. In the face of increased Western intrusions, Arab nationalism began to develop.
At the start of the 19th century, several economic and political patterns prevailed south of the Sahara. Along the coastlines and the desert’s southern edge were urban centers and independent kingdoms, many of whose economies depended on trade. In the interior, most Africans lived by farming and herding. Some of these areas began to change in the 1800s. The slave trade was outlawed, resulting in efforts to replace it with new economic enterprises, as well as efforts to continue it illegally by procuring captives from East Africa. These commercial changes coincided with the rise of new regional states, altering Africa’s political landscape.
Sultan Mahmud II was only one of the many Middle Eastern rulers in the past and the present who have sought to understand the West. Whether they have seen the West as a threat or an ally, one of the most difficult decisions that peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have had to make is what to adopt and what to reject. Much of this hinges on what they judge to be Western and what they judge to be modern.
Modernity is not tied to any single culture. It is multicultural and multi-ethnic. To be modern is to participate in a global community.
Modernity, however, is often confused with being Western. This SLP will focus on the difference between Western Culture and modern culture.
Module 4 – Background
ATTEMPTING MODERNITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 1800–1912
Case Assignment Reading
Sowards, S. W. (2015, March 08). Lecture No. 11: Macedonia and the failure of Ottoman reforms. Twenty-Five Lectures on Modern Balkan History: http://staff.lib.msu.edu/sowards/balkan/lect11.htm
Goodwin, K. (2006). The Tanzimat Reforms and the Problem of Political Authority in the Ottoman Empire: 1839–1876. Rhode Island College. Honors Project.
Module 4 – Case
ATTEMPTING MODERNITY IN THE MIDDLE EAST 1800–1912
By the early 18th century, the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Middle East, was in decline. Weak rulers left the way open for power struggles between officials, religious experts, and Janissaries (Guards). Provincial administrators and landholders colluded to drain revenue from the central treasury. The general economy suffered from competition with the West as imported goods ruined local industry. European rivals took advantage of Ottoman weakness. The Austrian Habsburgs pushed the Ottomans from Hungary and the northern Balkans. The strengthened Russian state expanded into the Caucasus and Crimea. The subject Christian peoples of the Balkans challenged their rulers: the Greeks won independence in 1830, Serbia in 1867. By the 1870s, the Ottomans had lost nearly all of the Balkans, and their capital was often threatened by Balkan or Russian armies.
Faced with difficult challenges and the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Mahmud II initiated a set of reforms. Mahmud’s successors followed with the Tanzimat, or “reorganization,” a sweeping set of reforms designed to modernize the Ottoman Empire.
In this Case Study, we will look at the Tanzimat Reforms and their effectiveness.
Read the information in the background material, look for more information, and then write a 3- to 5-page paper answering the following question:
• What were the Tanzimat Reforms and were they effective in allowing the Middle East to catch up to the West?
In the Module 4 Case Assignment, you are expected to:
• Describe the purpose of the paper and conclusion.
• Answer the Case Assignment questions clearly and provide necessary details.
• Provide a quality argument; that is, use good sentence structure, and avoid run-on sentences and spelling and grammar errors.
• Provide citations to support your argument and references on a separate page. Please use APA format to provide citations and references: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/ ; also, helpful information can be found in the Student Guide to Writing a High-Quality Academic Paper: http://support.trident.edu/files/Well-Written-Paper.pdf].
• Answer all the Case Assignment questions in an essay format instead of point format. Please do not type questions in the paper.
• Double space the paper.