Comparing the Rise of the Modern State in the Ottoman Empire and Western Europe
The Ottoman Empire was one of great power and splendor. It arose from a small state in Central Asia during the middle ages to conquest Constantinople in 1453. This victory established the Ottoman’s superior power in the Balkans and Mediterranean. The political and religious leaders of the Empire were called Sultans. These absolute monarchs continued to expand outward into Egypt and North Africa through military power and conquest. Making this possible their dominant Navy and a warrior aristocracy which was based on merit and lent soldiers land to raise families. “Slave” soldiers or Janissaries were utilized as well to expand territory. These soldiers were highly trained and utilized gunpowder in battle. Amassing such a large Empire surely had its benefits for the Ottoman’s (increased trade area/access to resources) but ruling over such a vast and diverse area would also prove to present problems. How were the leaders expected to maintain control over all within their territory? In my opinion the Sultans were wise to allow those within the Empire religious freedom and tolerance. Those conquered and of different faith would be made to pay a religious tax for non-Muslims but in other aspects were given an equal footing. This I believe was very forward thinking for the time and especially notable due to the lack of enlightenment thinkers within the Ottoman Empire. This policy in my thinking is a major contributing factor to the length of the Ottoman rule. During the rise of the Ottoman Empire the Western European states held a diminished position of power but in turn were able to go through an ongoing shift in culture and thinking. Following the ideas that birthed from the Enlightenment, the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries the western European states were poised for a shift in power. People had begun to value...
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