Equality as a Standard of Civilization: The Opposition Towards Ottoman Tolerance

Part of the Middle East Today book series (MIET)


This chapter explores the application of the principle of equality in modernization reforms in lieu of the customary Ottoman principle of tolerance. Where equality was seen as necessary in relation to the modern state, particularly with regard to state–society relations and the development of citizenship; tolerance was perceived as a customary foundation of governance that inhibited the central authority of the state. The inability to apply reforms concerning the principle of equality in a manner that was considered acceptable was perceived as a marker of difference, evidence of the Ottoman Empire’s ‘self-incurred immaturity’. This evidence was further supported by the failure of sectarian communities to adjust to their altered relations with governance and, ultimately, with each other. This chapter highlights the domestic political and social consequences of the reforms, particularly in relation to the application of equality and its effect on religious communal relations.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2021

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies, School of Languages, Cultures, and SocietiesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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