Procreation, family and 'progress': Administrative and economic aspects of Ottoman population policies in the 19th century

The making of the modern Ottoman state in the 19th century was closely interrelated with population issues and policies. 'Population' became an important component of Ottoman history throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. As the state identified the 'population' as a source of income after the Tanzimat, it tried to protect and procreate it through certain institutional arrangements and regulations. These policies consisted of protecting the existing population, controlling population movements, promoting procreation, and giving subsidies and lending money at interest to peasant families. The procreation policies included enforcement of marriages and encouragement of reproduction within marriages while they discouraged traditional birth control methods and practices. As in any other context, Ottoman families resisted the policies of procreation and pressures coming from the central government. This paper will examine the state's policies toward families and individuals as well as the responses of the people to these policies. 1 will attempt to construct a model based on the protection and the procreation policies of the modern Ottoman state, which will be an important springboard toward building a basis for conducting comparative analysis with other European states. By doing this, I will try to challenge some of the established assumptions on the nature of the 'modern state' in the 19th century.


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Citation Formats
S. Dursun, “Procreation, family and ‘progress’: Administrative and economic aspects of Ottoman population policies in the 19th century,” HISTORY OF THE FAMILY, pp. 160–171, 2011, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: