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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: November 2011

2 - The Young Turk Revolution and the Global Wave

from The Ottoman Empire


Can actors assimilate social movements to global revolutionary waves? How do global possibilities on the one hand, and local practical, historical, and cultural constraints on the other shape imaginations? What is the relation between agency and material and ideal structures? Do revolutions influence each other in framing ideologies and demands, forms of action, and timing?

The Young Turks’ framing of local grievances in the language of constitutionalism betrayed a global influence. Constitutionalism was taken as reason for political, economic, and “civilizational” advances in Europe. The French Revolution assumed the status of the first constitutional revolution and the principal event of modern history. By the early twentieth century these ideas did not appear new, thanks to the Young Ottomans and a good number of events around world. For instance, the Russo-Japanese war brought to light Japan’s immense progress since its supposed constitutional revolution. And the ongoing constitutional agitations in neighboring Russia and Iran, and even in the more distant China, served to confirm that the tide of history was in their favor.

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