Sebastian, Vivek
The Ottoman constitution of 1876 was the first constitution of the Ottoman Empire during the rule of 34th Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdul Hamid II. This constitution was only in effect for two years (1876-1878) but it was the first modern constitution outside of Europe. This shifting in political thought forced many of the Ottoman elite to see the power in a widespread political group which would later pave way for the rise of the Young Turks. The Young Turks was a political reform movement in the early 20th century who wanted to replace the absolute monarchy with a constitutional monarchy. The leaders of the Young Turks lead a rebellion against the Sultan in 1908, this revolution would be called the Young Turk revolution. With this revolution the Young Turks established the Second Constitutional era, which brought an era of multi-party democracy for the first time in the country’s history.
The revolution helped define the struggles in the intra-ethnic power relations in the Ottoman Empire. The most apparent of the struggles took place in the political machinations of Jerusalem. With its Armenian and Greek Patriarchates and the chief Rabbinate, and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire, Jerusalem became a focal point of the power struggle among the Jews, Armenians, and Greeks in the Ottoman Empire. The importance that the ethno-religious and secular leadership in Istanbul gave to the crisis in Jerusalem demonstrates the centrality of Jerusalem in ethnic politics in the Empire. While the revolution aimed at the creation of a new Ottoman identity which entailed that all the ethnic groups be brothers and equal citizens, it also required that all the groups abandon their religious privileges. This caused much anxiety among the ethnic groups whose communities enjoyed the religious privileges that were bestowed on them by the previous regimes. Hence, despite the fact that the revolution attempted to undo ethno-religious representations it nevertheless reinforced religious politics as it was attested in Istanbul and Jerusalem.
Ideologically, one can assume that the individual intellectuals of the Ottoman Empire slowly replaced their ideologies that centered around the glory of the reach of the empire and instead wanted more egalitarian forms of governance. The political unrest in Istanbul, led to many minor splinter rebellions within the empire, the slow conversion of intrests from political might to political ethics exemplified in the slow shift in the individual peoples wants and needed, as well as a self-realization of indivdual values.