Parliaments and Parties in Egypt

By Jacob M. Landau | Go to book overview

CH. I -- THE SECRET SOCIETIES

The scarcity of published material renders a true estimate of the development of political ideas in Egypt during the nineteenth century difficult. Nor is it any easier to trace the origins of the first political parties.

As in other lands and other periods, the rise of political groups in Egypt was due to three main, closely inter-related, factors: the spread of education, the knowledge that a better state of things was possible, and the suspicion towards foreigners.

The various educational missions sent to Europe, starting from the time of Muhammad 'Alî, the activities of Christian missionaries, and the influence of French scientists, doctors, officers and engineers, could not but leave their imprint on the people. They thus came to feel that a better state of affairs could exist, a belief which was strengthened by the creation of the Assembly of Delegates in 1866. Semi-Europeanized Egyptians ceased to consider the personal rule of the Khedive Ismâ'îl as the ideal one. Naturally enough, the first vague rumblings of political consciousness expressed themselves in suspicion, or even animosity, towards foreigners who were regarded as interfering with Egyptian affairs.

If one may credit the conclusions which the British Consuls in Egypt derived in 1873, this attitude towards foreigners was echoed by the uneducated classes, mainly for two reasons -- religion and economics. Firstly, the large orthodox population attributed the growing religious laxity of the richer class of Muslims to European influence168. Secondly, though aware that certain benefits had accrued from the impact of the West, many poorer-class Egyptians were inclined to blame the Europeans for their own private losses, for the rise in the cost of living, and

____________________
168
F.O. 78/2278, Stanley's Consular No. 47, to Granville, dated Alexandria, Sep. 29, 1873. Contrast F.O. 78/2288, Rogers' No. 34, marked "Conf.", to Granville, dated Cairo, Sep. 24, 1873.

-73-

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Parliaments and Parties in Egypt
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Acknowledgements iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Introduction 1
  • First Part Parliamentary Institutions 5
  • Ch. I -- the 1866-1867 Assembly 7
  • Ch. II -- the Assemblies from 1868 to 1878 16
  • Ch. III -- the 1879 Assembly 23
  • Ch. IV -- the 1881-1882 Assembly 28
  • Ch. V -- Parliamentary Life, 1883-1912 41
  • Ch. VI -- the Legislative Assembly 55
  • Ch. VII -- the 1924 Parliament 59
  • Second Part Political Parties 71
  • Ch. I -- the Secret Societies 73
  • Ch. II -- the National Party 84
  • Ch. III -- Young Egypt 101
  • Ch. IV -- Al-Hizb Al-Watani 104
  • Ch. V -- Minor Parties in the Early 20th Century 136
  • Ch. Vi--The Wafd 169
  • Conlusion -- the Recent Years 175
  • Abbreviations 194
  • Bibliography 195
  • Index of Persons 209
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