DBQ essay; Evaluation of the degree of success and failure of self-determination in the Middle East in the early twentieth century

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To what degree of success and failure self-determination had shaped the Middle East in the 20th century all depends on the definition of ‘self-determination’. Self-determination, as I will use it in this essay is the vigor with which nations of the Middle East, or the former Ottoman Empire, attempted to preserve age-old traditions, languages and practices while all the while modernizing their society to match that of Europe and the United States. With the context of ‘self-determination’ established, it’s safe to say the Middle East was overall successful at keeping it’s traditions intact but was ultimately unable to move their civilization forward and in the end, was smothered by foreign influences. The Ottoman Empire originated in 1451 and was at the peak of political and economic power during the century that followed the reign of Mehmed II. New conquests extended its domain well into central Europe and throughout the Arab portion of the old Islamic caliphate, and a new amalgam of political, religious, social, and economic organizations and traditions was institutionalized and developed into a living, working whole. The Empire, sadly, would begin a slow decline into the cesspool of third world countries. One of the primary causes blamed for the fall of the Ottoman Empire was the decline of the Sultanate. Originally the Sultanate was a strong institution, in which the Sultan would select a competent successor from among his often numerous sons. This weakening began late in the reign of Suleyman the Magnificent. Although his reign marked the height of the Ottoman Empire’s Golden Age, in his later years Suleyman became less actively involved in the affairs of state. In addition, his two most qualified successors plotted against him late in his life, and he had them executed. As a result, Selim II (known by some as “Selim the Drunkard”) became the next Sultan. He was
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