Iran's constitutional revolution

Topics: Persian literature, Liberalism, Iran Pages: 4 (1238 words) Published: January 27, 2014
The establishment of a constitutional regime in Persia was the chief objective of the Revolution of 1323-29/1905-11. Like any other major revolution, the Constitutional Revolution in Persia encompassed a broad spectrum of ideas and objectives, reflecting diverse intellectual trends, social backgrounds, and political demands. At the time even the text of the Constitution itself did not have universal support. Yet, in spite of ideological ambiguities, the Revolution remains an epoch-making episode in the modern history of Persia because of its political achievements and its enduring social and cultural consequences. As a modern revolution, it was aimed at dislodging the old order by means of popular action and by advocacy of the tenets of liberalism, secularism, and nationalism. For the first time in the course of modern Persian history, the revolutionaries sought to replace arbitrary power with law, representative government, and social justice and to resist the encroachment of imperial powers with conscious nationalism, popular activism, and economic independence. Constitutionalists also tried to curb the power of the conservative religious establishment through modern education and judicial reforms. By centralizing the state, they sought to reduce the power of the tribal and urban notables. The greater sense of nationhood that emerged out of the Revolution has remained essential to the modern Persian identity. That the Constitutional Revolution was the first of its kind in the Islamic world, earlier than the revolution of the Young Turks in 1908, can be partly explained by the situation in Persia in the latter half of the 19th century. Between 1264/1848 and 1268/1852 the state and the religious establishment were able to stifle both of the available options for fundamental change. On one hand, the millenarian and revolutionary Babi movement (1260-68/1844-52; see babism) was crushed by military force, though its agenda of opposition to the Qajar monarchy and the...
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