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Era of Modern Reform, The Tanzimat

Tanzimat, governmental functions, concentrated effort, reform movement, Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman ruling class responded to these crises with a concentrated effort at reform; it replaced the old ways with new ones imported from the West in a reform movement (1839-1876) known as the Tanzimat (Turkish for “reorganization”). Planned and begun under Mahmud II, and culminating in the highly autocratic reign (1876-1909) of Abd al-Hamid II, the Tanzimat modernized the Ottoman Empire by extending the scope of government into all aspects of life, overshadowing the autonomous millets and guilds that previously had monopolized most governmental functions. A modern administration and army were created along Western lines, with highly centralized bureaucracies. Secular systems of education and justice were created to provide personnel for the new administration. Large-scale programs of public works modernized the physical structure of the empire, with new cities, roads, railroads, and telegraph lines. New agricultural methods also contributed to Ottoman revitalization. Another response was the suppression of minorities. This policy resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Armenians between 1894 and 1923. (The Turkish government disputes that the Ottoman policy toward the Armenians was genocidal, arguing that most of the Armenian deaths resulted from armed conflict, disease, and famine during the chaos of World War I.)

Article key phrases:

Tanzimat, governmental functions, concentrated effort, reform movement, Ottoman Empire, Mahmud, guilds, famine, armed conflict, new cities, physical structure, Hamid, old ways, Abd, railroads, reorganization, army, disease, justice, new administration, personnel, aspects of life, response, class, crises, new ones


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