Disiplinlerarası Çalışmalar Dergisi Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies

Constitutionalism in the Ottoman Empire before Westernization

This work argues that constitutional structures and ideas existed in the Ottoman Empire before the age of Westernization with no direct influence from the modern constitutionalism developed in Europe. Modern constitutionalism of the nineteenth century was thus as much a continuation of the existing constitutional traditions of the Ottoman experience in government as it was a result of Westernization. The paper examines the topic in three principal areas: First, military, financial and religious institutions that developed into autonomous structures and acted against each other as constitutional checks. Second, compactual agreements between the political authority and social groups such as Hüccet-i Şer’iyye and Sened-i İttifak. Third, political and social practices with constitutional import such as consultative assemblies (meclis-i meşveret) that turned into regular decision-making bodies. Hüseyin YILMAZ
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