Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire
The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922
Publication Year: 2012
From the author's preface: Sublime Porte--there must be few terms more redolent, even today, of the fascination that the Islamic Middle East has long exercised over Western imaginations. Yet there must also be few Western minds that now know what this term refers to, or why it has any claim to attention. One present-day Middle East expert admits to having long interpreted the expression as a reference to Istambul's splendid natural harbor. This individual is probably not unique and could perhaps claim to be relatively well informed. When the Sublime Porte still existed, Westerners who spent time in Istanbul knew the term as a designation for the Ottoman government, but few knew why the name was used, or what aspect of the Ottoman government it properly designated. What was the real Sublime Porte? Was it an organization? A building? No more, literally, than a door or gateway? What about it was important enough to cause the name to be remembered?
In one sense, the purpose of this book is to answer these questions. Of course, it will also do much more and will, in the process, move quickly onto a plane quite different from the exoticism just invoked. For to study the bureaucratic complex properly known as the Sublime Porte, and to analyze its evolution and that of the body of men who staffed it, is to explore a problem of tremendous significance for the development of the administrative institutions of the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic lands in general, and in some senses the entire non-Westerrn world.
Published by: Princeton University Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph
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List of Illustrations
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List of Figures
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...Sublime Porte-there must be few terms more redolent, even today, of the fascination that the Islamic Middle East has long exercised over Western imaginations. Yet there must also be few Western minds that now know what this term refers to, or why it has any claim to attention. One present-day Middle East...
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...To attempt to recall all those who have contributed to this study is to retrace a path that has wound across much of the world during a period of over ten years. Some scholars have contributed through sustained guidance provided throughout a lengthy period of association. Some have contributed...
Notes on Usage
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...Ottoman terms, names, and expressions from the Arabic script into Latin letters, this study follows the practice, now general among historians of the late Ottoman period, of adhering to the orthographical conventions of modern Turkish. In the transcribed items, as in the citation...
List of Special Abbreviations
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ONE: INTRODUCTION: THE SUBLIME PORTE AND THE SCRIBAL SERVICE AS ELEMENTS OF STATE AND SOCIETY
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...In the administrative tradition of the Islamic world, the imperial institutions of the Ottoman Empire hold a place of special importance. The overall continuity of that tradition means that the Ottoman imperial system was the product of a development that had been in progress ever since the...
TWO: THE EVOLUTION OF THE RULING CLASS AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE SCRIBAL SERVICE
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...Even a sketch of the component elements of the Ottoman imperial "center," such as that presented in the last chapter, is enough to suggest the variability of this system over time. The governmental system in fact followed a complex life cycle that included phases, not necessarily well...
THREE: THE IMPACT OF IMPERIAL DECLINE ON THE EMERGENT SCRIBAL SERVICE: THE SUBLIME PORTE AND ITS OFFICIALS ON THE EVE OF REFORM
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...In what has been said thus far about the development of the scribal service of the traditional empire, there are two facts of particular significance. The first is the importance, with reference not just to preexisting tradition, but also to later efforts at reform, of the formulation of...
FOUR: REASSERTION OF THE SULTANATE AND FOUNDATION OF THE CIVIL BUREAUCRACY
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...other phases of Ottoman life. A major reassertion of the initiative of the central government, and especially of the sultan, the "New Order" was in effect the first attempt ever made at a general reform of the governmental system. The extent to which certain of Selim's reforms were culturally innovative is sometimes debated. Different ones were...
FIVE: THE CIVIL-BUREAUCRATIC HEGEMONY OF THE TANZIMAT
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...The second factor in opening this new political period consisted of the changes that the reforms of the 1830S made in the security of tenure in high office. Lowering the rate of bureaucratic mobility, these changes combined with the relative effacement of the sultanate to produce...
SIX: RESTORING POLITICAL BALANCE: THE FIRST CONSTITUTIONAL PERIOD AND RETURN TO SULTANIC DOMINANCE
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...Intellectual ferment and a variety of crises arising outside the irnperial "center" compounded the resulting confusion. Not only was there mounting effervescence surrounding the Young Ottoman movement, but more conservative kinds of opinion, including an Islamicist current opposed...
SEVEN: ONCE MORE TOWARD REDEFINITION OF THE POLITICAL BALANCE
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...Not only were political and bureaucratic life increasingly differentiated, but both were more plagued with crisis in this period than ever before. On the international scene, first, the distraction that the revolution of 1908 created in Istanbul served as a signal to Austria for the annexation of Bosnia...
EIGHT: ONE AND ONE-THIRD CENTURIES OF CIVIL-BUREAUCRATIC REFORM
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...The differences between the Sublime Porte of the early twentieth century and that of the late eighteenth, like those between the civil bureaucracy in its last phases and the earlier scribal service, were all but revolutionary in extent. A look back at the Porte and the scribal service as they were at the end...
APPENDIX: BUDGETARY "ALLOCATIONS" FOR AGENCIES OF THE SUBLIME PORTE IN SELECTED YEARS
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Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
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Page Count: 496
Publication Year: 2012
Edition: Course Book
Series Title: Princeton Studies on the Near East