Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire

Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire: The Sublime Porte, 1789-1922

Carter V. Findley
Copyright Date: 1980
Pages: 496
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7rx6j
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    Bureaucratic Reform in the Ottoman Empire
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2009-2
    Subjects: History, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-xii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  4. List of Figures
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xxi-xxiv)
  7. Notes on Usage
    (pp. xxv-xxx)
  8. List of Special Abbreviations
    (pp. xxxi-2)
  9. Chapter One INTRODUCTION: THE SUBLIME PORTE AND THE SCRIBAL SERVICE AS ELEMENTS OF STATE AND SOCIETY
    (pp. 3-40)

    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 rise of Islamic civilization and that drew in notable respects on pre-Islamic roots, as well. The tradition had perhaps passed its classic phase before the Ottoman state emerged, and the Ottomans at their height were not the only contemporary power to preserve it. But preserve it they did, making contributions of sometimes unexcelled...

  10. Chapter Two THE EVOLUTION OF THE RULING CLASS AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE SCRIBAL SERVICE
    (pp. 41-68)

    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 demarcated from one another, of emergence, florescence, decline, and attempted modernization. The component parts of the “center” at the same time followed individual cycles of their own, cycles interrelated in origin but differing in length and often out of phase with one another or with that of the system as a whole. In...

  11. Chapter Three THE IMPACT OF IMPERIAL DECLINE ON THE EMERGENT SCRIBAL SERVICE: THE SUBLIME PORTE AND ITS OFFICIALS ON THE EVE OF REFORM
    (pp. 69-111)

    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 the imperial cultural tradition associated with this branch of the ruling class. The other is the extensive growth of the scribal service in both size and importance, even during a period of overall imperial decline. What implications did this decline of the imperial system have for the emergence of the scribal service?...

  12. Chapter Four REASSERTION OF THE SULTANATE AND FOUNDATION OF THE CIVIL BUREAUCRACY
    (pp. 112-150)

    In 1789, in the midst of war and defeat, Selim III succeeded to the Ottoman sultanate. Almost immediately, he began a series of efforts at reform that, once peace had been concluded, blossomed into what became known as the “New Order” (Nizam-i Cedid). Aimed particularly at the creation of a new and more effective military machine and the establishment of the indispensable support services for it, this ultimately affected countless 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...

  13. Chapter Five THE CIVIL-BUREAUCRATIC HEGEMONY OF THE TANZIMAT
    (pp. 151-220)

    With the death of Mahmud II in 1839, the convergence of three major factors determined the resolution of the power conflict between the sultan and his officials, implicit in the reforms of the 1830s, and thus opened a new political period that lasted until 1871. Most basic of these factors was the character of Mahmud’s successors: Abd ül-Mecid (1839-1861), who came to the throne in a time of unprecedented danger as an ill-prepared sixteenyear-old;⁴ Abd ül-Aziz (1861-1876), who possessed a will to dominate but lacked the comprehension and ultimately the mental stability to do so effectively;⁵ and Murad V (1876),...

  14. Chapter Six RESTORING POLITICAL BALANCE: THE FIRST CONSTITUTIONAL PERIOD AND RETURN TO SULTANIC DOMINANCE
    (pp. 221-290)

    The death of Âli Paşa in 1871 marked not only a shift in the locus of power, and thus the beginning of a new political period, but also the first of a series of unsettling events that within a few years brought the empire to a state of danger and uncertainty even worse than the one in which the Tanzimat had opened almost forty years earlier. Âli’s disappearance contributed to this destabilization by making it easier for the erratic and unbalanced sultan, Abd ül-Aziz, and his favorites to reassert their influence. What this reassertion could mean became apparent rather quickly...

  15. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  16. Chapter Seven ONCE MORE TOWARD REDEFINITION OF THE POLITICAL BALANCE
    (pp. 291-337)

    As the character of the Young Turk movement implied, the development of the civil bureaucracy continued after 1908 in the context of a political process of broader scope than had ever before been known. On occasion, with civil-bureaucratic old-timers like Küçük Said or Kâmil Paşa as grand vezir, the Porte was still to be a contender for political dominance. But the civilbureaucratic elite was now only one group of aspirants to such preeminence. Others included not only the Young Turk leadership, concentrated in the revolutionary Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), but also the restored Parliament and the parties that...

  17. Chapter Eight ONE AND ONE-THIRD CENTURIES OF CIVIL-BUREAUCRATIC REFORM
    (pp. 338-348)

    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 of the eighteenth century, followed by a review of the forces that contributed to the ensuing transformation and an assessment of the contrasts that had appeared by the end of Ottoman imperial history, will bring into view the full extent and significance of the changes that...

  18. Appendix BUDGETARY “ALLOCATIONS” FOR AGENCIES OF THE SUBLIME PORTE IN SELECTED YEARS
    (pp. 349-352)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 353-406)
  20. Bibliography
    (pp. 407-420)
  21. Index
    (pp. 421-455)
  22. Back Matter
    (pp. 456-456)