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These reforms did not fare too well and several reasons can be assigned to this. Scholars have given different descriptions for the Tanzimat reforms. One of the common conclusions drawn by most historians is that it was a complete failure. Several theses are put forward to explain this failure. One of them asserts that: Tanzimat and the nineteenth-century reforms were a tragedy. Turning towards the West was an imposition, not a choice This paper examines Tanzimat into great depth. In doing this, the research will begin by assessing the background of Tanzimat. The research will go further to view the position of Tanzimat in Ottoman history. This will provide the position of the reforms in the history of the Empire and set the framework for the discussion on whether it was a tragedy. It will also assess whether Tanzimat was based on some kind of imposition or a mimicry of Western political structures. Inherent Elements of the Tanzimat In order to examine the successes and failures of Tanzimat, this section of the essay will examine the inherent elements of Tanzimat and show its position in the Ottoman Society. This will give an understanding of important indicators and yardsticks that can be used for further analysis. “The word tanzimat means 'reforms', 'rearrangement' and 'reorganisation' and in Ottoman history, the Tanzimat period refers to a time of Westernizing reforms from 1839 until 1876”1. ...
As a policy, rebellious states defeated by the central Ottoman authority. In investigating the origins of Tanzimat, Kadduri and Liebesny state that “reforms wrere began in the army in the late 18th Century but met strong resistance that led to the assassination of Sultan Selim III in 1807. In 1826, during the reign of Mahmud II, reforms were revived (this time extending beyond the military field) and in the year of 1839 when Abdulmecid was on the throne”2. In the era prior to Tanzimat, power in the Ottoman Empire was centralized and remained in the hands of the Sultan. Sultan Mahmoud II (1800 – 1839) had full and absolute control over state affairs. The conquered territories within the domain of the Ottoman Empire were forcibly integrated into the union and rebellions were not tolerated. “Mahmud II expended considerable efforts to smash the power of local strongmen and in some parts of the empire, including north-eastern Bulgaria, he was successful”3. Tanzimat was meant to move the nation from this military oriented governance that was steeped in the use of force and imposed standards to a more liberal approach that characterised modern nations in that time. Parallels can be drawn from the French Revolution and the American Revolutions which had led to the recognition of civil liberties of individuals and freedoms to citizens. Mustafa Resit Pasa is described as the Father of Tanzimat by many historians. In investigating his rise to power, Shaw identifies that Mustafa Pasa was born in Istambul in 1800 and had began by studying administration, however he cut his service and served his uncle who took him onto an expedition in Moreia4. Pasa witnessed the defeat of the old Ottoman army to Greek rebels who used modern military regimes and due to this, he saw
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