Change and Reform - Article on the French Revolution Affecting the Arab World

Change and Reform - Article on the French Revolution Affecting the Arab World

In this article it is explored if the Arab world was affected by the French Revolution in other ways than the expansionism that would mark the latter years of the revolution, and to what extent it did affected them if such was the case.

In this article it appears that the Arab world was more affected by France proceeding and during the days of the French revolution, during the time of the revolution new ideas where coming into play trying to distance themselves from the absolute monarchy that they had been since the founding of France. In 1826 Tahtawi was an Egyptian imam sent out on an educational mission for Muhammad Ali the Viceroy of Egypt. Tahtawi in his book Taklis al-ibriz fi discusses many of the daily lives of the French people including the participation of women in the public life, but he spends a great deal more time examining the schools, hospital, and universities describing them in great deal as there were no equivalent in his own country. Another fact that Tahtawi spends a great deal of time on in the French government talking about how the power was divided between several sections so as that no one had absolute power, he describes Europe fondly with the division of power , and compared backwardness with the Asia country for the consolidation of power in one office. Though Tahtawi exploration of the time by the Arab world there were reforms happening in Egypt and Tunisia were agriculture was being rapidly changed of modernization trying to achieve the same levels as the European countries had been able to achieve, to this end the tried to modernize the military but without the necessary funding to train the soldiers this was doomed to fail, to acquire the money necessary for reforms and tax reforms were put in place, and an increase to the economic production. One part that Tahtawi put out was in fact picked up by the people of his country and expand was native land or watan were people of the same land where to help one another, this started the new forms of nation patriotism. Though these reforms would of in fact modernized the country they did not work because of the weakening government with internal squabbling and the threat of border incursions by neighboring states. For Muhammad Ali these were all steps to secure is place in his government, and to increase the trade, and by extension to trade only with him not only as a ruler but as a powerful merchant. Later on Kheireddine a professional statesman would take what Tahtawi had written and try to apply it to his own country trying to get the Alims or the traditional intellectuals on board with the politicians to help quell the hostility of his people towards the new ideas that were coming from Europe. At the time western Europe was seen not as a place of revolution but as a place of expansionism though it had been able to maintain the idea of being the pinnacle of modern, and by in large civilization so there was much hostility to be directed so when Kheireddine tried to adopt a constitution and the rational organization of his country from the said countries of Europe they did in fact fall through leaving Kheireddine jaded.

The writer of this article has been able to make his point well giving many sources, and presented in such a way that it remains accessible to the average ready, but largely his argument appears hard to perceive as the Arab world had tried to make reforms several years before the actual revolution. Seeing that Muhammad Ali had enacted reforms to his military and government before the revolution it seems difficult to perceive that as the likely argument could be made that anything that happened in Egypt and farther beyond in the Arab world could just be other sorted attempts without any connection to the revolution. Though Tahtawi did spent five years in Paris where the revolution was born, and would no doubt of been influenced by the people who he spent time with, it would be hard to say that the entire Arab world was affective as though he did make his ideas widely known with his books, he achieved no real ground and his works would be largely forgotten until Kheireddine who would use his works but also end up nowhere.
Though that the articles was well presented and appear plausible it still seems largely unlikely that the entire Arab world was affected by the French Revolution other the expansionism that would come through Napoleon’s campaign to extend the boarders of the French empire.