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American Missionaries in the Middle East in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

Lecture for JS256, January 14 2013
by

Zoe LeBlanc

on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of American Missionaries in the Middle East in the Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries

THEMES OF THE LECTURE
American Missionaries in the Middle East
in the nineteenth century
POWER AND DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST
1. Religion
2. America Abroad
3. Influence and Power:
Balance of Power and
Clash of Civilizations
Ottoman Empire at the dawn
of the nineteenth century
Golden Age

Makeup of Ottoman Society
Religious identity and Millets
Istanbul and the Caliphate
CosmopolitanDecentralized
Map of the Ottoman Empire at its Zenith
Ruled over 30 million subjects
The Beginning of
Western Encroachment
Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of 1798
Russian victory over the empire in 1792
Ottoman Views of the United States
The USA largely unknown
BUT Morocco first country
to officially recognize the USA
Americans known as 'al-Inkiliz', the Ottoman term for the English
The Rise of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions
Established in 1810
Andover Theological Seminary
"Artillery of Heaven"
First missionaries to British Ceylon and Bombay
THE FIRST MISSIONARIES TO THE MIDDLE EAST
PLINY FISK AND LEVI PARSONS
The Two Pillars of Missionary Work
Education
Proselytization
BUT FIRST YEARS LARGELY A FAILURE, NO CONVERTS IN THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE
The Story of As’ad ibn Yusuf ibn Mansur al-Shidyaq ibn Ja’far ibn Fahd ibn Shahin ibn Ja’far ibn Ra’d ibn Fahd ibn Ra’d al-Hansruni
As’ad Shidyaq born in 1798
First convert in 1826
A New Beginning in 1830
Failure to save As'ad Shidyaq
Shift towards education focus by the missionaries, led by Eli Smith
Recognition by the Ottoman Empire of the United States
“In this perspective, the struggle in Palestine has in it an inevitable element of stark tragedy, not only for the immediate contestants but for the world.
Aristotle taught that the essence of tragedy lay in the inexorable unfolding of a logical train of events, producing in the observer the emotions of pity and of fear: - pity for those caught in the workings of fate, and fear as the onlooker suddenly realizes that he, too, is caught in the same web. […] So one conscious of the depth and intensity of emotions involved in the struggle in the Holy Land today can have no place for rejoicing or for bitterness; but must speak softly, as being in the presence of human tragedy.” – Alford Carleton
Perspective on the Present Situation in Palestine 1954
New losses for the Ottoman Empire
Muhammad Ali Pasha - ruler of Egypt
Decides to attack the empire in 1831
Eventually stopped by the Great Powers

Ottomans loose control over Egypt
GREAT POWERS FORCE THE EMPIRE TO CEDE GREECE, SERBIA, AND ALGERIA
OTTOMAN RESPONSE TO FAILURE
The Tanzimat reforms 1839 – 1876
Rose Chamber Edict on Nov 3 1839
Rescript of Reform Edict of 1856
Nationality Law of 1869
Modernization
SULTAN MAHMUD II 1808-1839
Sultan Abdülmecid I
Architect of Rose Chamber Edict Foreign Minister Mustafa Reshid Pasha
Dolmabahçe Palace
OBSTACLES TO OTTOMAN REFORM
The capitulations
–series of treaties signed in the 16th and 17th century, which are expanded in the 1850s to allow Europeans to operate above the imperial law
International Crisis over the Holy Places
in 1850 – French and Russian fighting over guardianship of the Christian sites of the Holy Land
Tsar Nicholas I – Ottoman Empire the ‘
Sick man of Europe
’ on Jan 9 1853
Crimean War
breaks out on October 4, 1853 – Ottomans gain victory in 1856 but only with significant Anglo-French assistance and Austrian neutrality
Beginning of the end for the Concert of Europe over
'The Eastern Question'
Outbreak of violence in Mount Lebanon in 1860
Between Druzes and Maronites
Thousands killed
France intervenes to protect Maronite Christians
Tensions from foreign involvement
New Generation of Missionaries
Daniel Bliss
Cyrus Hamlin
Cornelius Van Dyck
Butrus al-Bustani
SHIFT TOWARDS EDUCATION
Founding of the Syrian Protestant College in 1866
Founding of Roberts College in Istanbul in 1863
Syrian Protestant College
Roberts College
Constitutional Era and the Ottoman Parliament
Begins with the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II
New constitution and parliament enacted
Lasts from 23 November 1876 until 13 February 1873
Suspended by the Sultan with the outbreak of war
The Russo-Ottoman war of 1877-78 and the San Stefano Treaty of 1978
The Ottoman Public Debt Administration created in 1881
Britain gains defacto control of Egypt in 1881
NEW CRISES FOR THE EMPIRE
Diminished the power of the Sublime Porte
Foreign policy of non-commitment
Shift away from reforming the empire
Pan-Islamic propaganda
Closer to the Germans than the British
Response of Sultan Abdulhamid II
The ‘Mohammedan World’ had a conference in Cairo in April 1906
In Syria, Palestine, Istanbul and Anatolia: dominated by the ABCFM
In Egypt: dominated by the American United Presbyterian Mission
Total Protestant congregations in the Middle East was 395. Also ran 975 primary and secondary schools, 15 colleges.
Missionary success tied to a growing sense of American influence in the world
DAWN OF THE 20TH CENTURY
ZENITH OF AMERICAN PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES WORLDWIDE
The 1908 Young Turk Revolution
End of Sultan Abdulhamid, replaced
Return of the parliamentary system
Changes for the missionaries
Rise of nationalism
Revolutionary organizations emerge in the late 19th century demanding nationalist separation
Results in huge population transfers, deaths of thousands
Armenians tried to form their religious identity into a national one but at that point Ottomans resenting Western encroachment responded fiercely instead of weakly
Hamidian Massacres from 1894-1896 tens of thousands Armenians killed
ARMENIAN CHRISTIANS
Armenian Protestant community much larger than its Arab counterpart
leads to the first genuine humanitarian movement in the United States –ABCFM and Red Cross raised $175,000 in donations
National Armenian Relief Committee
Clara Barton founder of Red Cross travels to the Ottoman Empire to deliver aid
Try to force American intervention but only one gunboat sent
AMERICAN MISSIONARIES SPREAD NEWS OF MASSACRES
American response to the ongoing massacres– formed the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief (ASCAR) raised over $2 million by 1930 that number would climb to $116 million
Convince President Wilson not to declare war on the empire to protect missionary interests
WORLD WAR I AND MISSIONARIES
End of the war - possibility of an American mandate of Armenia
Henry Morgenthau
– American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire – also instrumental in publishing the plight of the Armenians
SHIFTING FACE OF THE UNITED STATES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
THE FATE OF AMERICAN PROTESTANT MISSIONARIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
BOOKS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
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