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Becoming OttomansSephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era$
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Julia Phillips Cohen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199340408

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199340408.001.0001

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Lessons in Imperial Citizenship

Lessons in Imperial Citizenship

(p.19) 1 Lessons in Imperial Citizenship
Becoming Ottomans

Julia Phillips Cohen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 opens with the proclamation of the Ottoman Constitution of 1876 and concludes with the empire’s dramatic defeat in the Russo-Ottoman War (1877–1878). While the constitution reinforced a vision of civic Ottomanism predicated on the idea that all imperial citizens were equal, the war brought non-Muslims in the empire one of the first opportunities to put their newfound citizenship into practice. Throughout the conflict, Ottoman Jewish leaders encouraged their flock to support the empire’s cause by encouraging Jewish men to sign up for the army. Putting both the interests and the laws of their country above all else, Jewish community leaders initiated a process that—taken to an extreme—had the potential to diminish their hold on the audience they addressed and attempted to lead.

Keywords:   Ottoman Constitution of 1876, Russo-Ottoman War of 1877–1878, civic Ottomanism, Holy War, refugees, Salonica, Izmir, Istanbul, Vienna, Jews

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