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Conference: "Historical Rights and Wrongs: WWI, Turkish Secularism and Religious Conflict"
Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada March 13-14, 2015
Session 2: Historical Legacy - WWI Heroes, Suffering and Diplomacy


“TURKEY AND THE UNITED STATES:
A DEEP HISTORY OF GOOD RELATIONS"

Murat Saatcioglu, Tariq Ismail, Edward Foster, Umut Uzer
Second Session (From left to right): Prof. Murat Saatcioglu (Moderator),
Prof. Tariq Ismael, Prof. Edward Foster and Assoc. Prof. Umut Uzer


Presented by Edward Foster, Professor,
College of Arts & Letters, Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey
(This paper is adapted in part from my introduction to Samuel Retsov, ed., The American in Constantinople [2014].)

It has long been the custom for historians of the Ottoman Empire to argue that Americans, particularly American missionaries, were politically a disruptive presence in the nineteenth century, notably by providing privileges for minorities and thus upsetting what was a finely balanced social and economic structure.

Without denying what I believe is the fundamental truth captured in this conclusion, I would like to contextualize the problem within religious and social beliefs and conflicts with which the United States was then concerned, and suggest why the presence of Americans, including the missionaries, had a strong influence on secularizing Ottoman culture. The American missionaries had certain goals, but those goals could be, and often were, easily separated from their religious justifications.

Secondly I would note that Americans who were in the Empire for political or financial reasons often shared a religious background with the missionaries and were, therefore, sympathetic to the missionaries’ ambitions. These individuals – primarily diplomats and merchants but, on occasion, scientists and engineers as well – were, by and large, like the missionaries natives of the American northeast. Among the missionaries, orthodoxy generally meant that they subscribed to Calvinism of a strain that can be traced back to Jonathan Edwards, the most influential theologian in the latter years of the American colonies, whose works were standard reading, especially in the North, during the antebellum years. “The New Divinity,” as this strain was known, sustained the Calvinist belief that history was providential and that an individual’s salvation had been decided by God long before he or she entered the world. No matter what good works a person might do, that fate was sealed. However — and this is critical to understanding Americans in the Ottoman Empire at the time — Edwards had argued that the chosen would be godly in their character, and one of his chief disciples, Samuel Hopkins, refined that point by defining holiness as “disinterested benevolence.” Sin, he wrote, following arguments put forth by Edwards, was selfishness, the pursuit of self-interest. In antebellum America, “disinterested benevolence” became the foundation for such benevolent movements as abolitionism, women’s rights, temperance, and the missionary movement.

American missionary efforts in the Empire also owed much to the belief, widely held, that the Millennium — the thousand years of peace and prosperity that the Bible indicated would precede the Last Judgment and the end of time — was approaching. Edwards had believed that it would begin around the year 2000, but others in the early nineteenth century placed the date much earlier, citing the 1860s, and even the 1840s. It was widely believed that anyone who had not experienced conversion by that time might be doomed to hellfire. One was not born a Christian nor did one choose to be one, for this could be granted only by God for reasons inscrutable, but it was certain that a candidate for conversion must be prepared for it, and this entailed knowing the Scriptures. To do that, one should be able to read, and this inflamed America’s long seeded belief in education. It is then no surprise that American missionaries began their work in Constantinople by founding schools. Time was short. The Millennium was at hand.

A second point needs to be made. The missionaries embraced the “two books” theory, arguing that the Bible and the natural world were both manifestations of God’s word. The natural world was studied inductively with close attention to observable fact. Conclusions drawn from these observations should correspond to the what one could locate in Biblical texts. If a correspondence could not be found, the “scientific” conclusion was in error. As the famous geologist, Edward Hitchcock, wrote in The Geology of Religion and Its Connected Sciences (1851), “Scientific Truth, Rightly Understood, Is Religious Truth.” Correspondingly American higher education at this time was two-pronged: a theological strain and one that was scientific. Hitchcock, one may note, the president of Amherst College, was both one of the country’s first geologists and, at the same time, an ordained minister.

The values and culture that the missionaries brought with them were heavily inflected with, indeed justified by, religious beliefs, but perfectionism, social reform, and inductive science do not require those beliefs in order to accomplish their work. They can be grafted onto other belief systems or none at all, as history has shown. For Rufus Anderson, the corresponding secretary for the American Board of Foreign Missions and the individual most responsible for policies pursued by missionaries, this was the critical issue. The missionaries focus was to Christianize the culture, not alter it socially, but that was more easily said than done. “The improvement of the social state,” wrote Anderson in 1845, “was but a secondary object,” and yet it was the means through which the first might have an influence. Whatever overlay of religiosity the American presence had, it was the “secondary object” that had the greater effect.

Although in the early years of the Republic the United States had planned to establish diplomatic relations with the Ottoman Empire and had even selected a potential representative, those arrangements were not pursued, and it was not until 1831 that full diplomatic relations were established. In the meantime, the principal bond between the Empire and the United States was mercantile, centered in Smyrna, modern Izmir. David Offley of Philadelphia was appointed the U.S. consul there in1810, and the following year, acting on his own, he went to Constantinople and negotiated a personal treaty, identifying him as the “Sultan’s guest” and giving him privileges in trade between the Empire and the United States. The American presence in the Empire was at first primarily economic rather than religious.

American rum, cotton, and later oil found ready markets in the Empire, and American missionaries traveling in eastern Anatolia in the 1830s, believing themselves to be among the first of their countrymen to be there, discovered that rum distilled in Boston had arrived earlier. One observer noted “that in six months alone of the year 1830, there were shipped from the United States to Turkey twelve million gallons of rum,” indicative of the fact that the United States, while preaching temperance at home, eagerly sought profit abroad. “To the honor of the Turks […],” he added, “little of this is consumed in their own country. It is intended for the Black Sea, where it is distributed over Georgia, Armenia, and Persia. In these countries we regret to add that ‘Boston particular’ is much relished, notwithstanding the praiseworthy efforts of our pious and zealous missionaries.”

During the early nineteenth century, a handful of Americans visited Constantinople and published their impressions. Rev. Josiah Brewer was sent there by “the Boston Female Society for the promotion of Christianity among the Jews.” He left after a few months (returning in 1830 and settling in Smyrna where he opened schools and a printing establishment) and published an account of his visit, A Residence at Constantinople in the Year 1827 in 1830. That same year, Henry A. V. Post published A Visit to Greece and Constantinople in the Year 1827-8. Gradually books and other reports by Americans provided readers at home with first-hand accounts that counteracted traditional legends and myths.

In 1831, political relations between the two countries shifted radically, and religion became a critical factor. In 1810 a group of idealistic young men formed the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, a Protestant benevolent society motivated in part by notions of the coming Millennium. Within two years, the ABCFM raised sufficient funds to send missionaries to Ceylon. In 1819, the Board initiated a mission to Palestine, to which the Rev. William Goodell from western Massachusetts was sent in 1822. Goodell worked in Beirut and Malta until1831, when the American Board decided to send him to Constantinople. His family, he noted, would be the first from the United States to reach that city, and his wife and two other women with whom they were traveling, would be “the first American ladies ever seen here.”

The Goodells left Malta on 21 May 1831. Their journey, unexceptional today, was then arduous and risky if the weather were poor, but although a storm arose as they approached their destination, they reached the city in slightly less than three weeks. Approaching the city, he found that “the morning had all the freshness and coolness of one at this season of the year in New England after a refreshing shower.” From a distance the city seemed ordinary, “[b]ut as we approached […] the prospect became enchanting” and eventually “most beautiful and sublime. It greatly surpassed all that I had ever conceived of it […]. The mosques of St. Sophia and Sultan Ahmet with the palaces and gardens of the present Sultan Mahmud were before us in all their majesty and loveliness.”

Goodell’s rapture was duplicated repeatedly in journals, letters, articles, and travel books as an ever increasing number of American diplomats, merchants, tourists, and missionaries descended on a city that overwhelmed and bewildered them. The city, so unlike anything back home, could also intimidate, and it is revealing that Goodell says that his first morning in Constantinople recalled “New England after a refreshing shower” as if to reassure himself that this exotic city of palaces and mosques was, at least in this way, not altogether unlike the New England of farms and village churches he had left behind. Certainly this fabled city of the East was immeasurably more grand than anything the United States offered, particularly to one like Goodell — and most missionaries — reared on hardscrabble farms in upland New England.

Goodell had been sent to Constantinople specifically to work within the Armenian community, and soon schools blossomed there. A year after Goodell’s arrival, however, the Sultan’s Minister of Defense discussed with him the possibility of creating schools for Turkish officers, and the following year the first such school was opened. No satisfactory geography of the Empire was available for classes, so the missionaries wrote one in English to be translated into Turkish, Armenian, and Greek.

To be sure, not all Americans traveling to Constantinople in the antebellum era shared Goodell’s background and beliefs, particularly the notion of “disinterested benevolence,” but orthodoxy in predominantly Protestant America was ubiquitous, and its precepts were well known and profoundly shaped the culture. Until he returned to America in 1865, Goodell and his missionary associates were the bedrock of the American community. Attendance at the mission’s Sunday services was de rigueur for the American merchant, diplomat, or tourist. “We had divine service this morning in the palace of the American minister, Commodore Porter,” wrote James De Kay in the summer of 1831. “It was the first time that an American congregation had ever been assembled upon the banks of the Bosphorus […]. Old Hundred was chanted with all the fervor of a national anthem, for it was associated with thoughts of that beloved home where thousands of our countrymen were, perhaps, in the very same words offering up their homage of thanksgiving and praise.”

Porter was Goodell’s closest associate outside the mission. The first American chargé d’affaires, Porter had arrived in Constantinople a few weeks after Goodell. When the Goodells’ possessions were destroyed in a massive conflagration that summer, sweeping away much of Pera, he offered to share his home up the Bosphorus in Büyükdere with them. Also living there at the time were De Kay, delegated by the United States to investigate the Asiatic cholera, which American officials feared would soon reach their shores (as, the following year, it did), and De Kay’s father-in-law, Henry Eckford, an eminent American shipbuilder who had constructed a ship eventually sold to the Sultan. With Eckford was a young workman, Foster Rhodes, who assumed Eckford’s task when the former died, likely a victim of cholera, the following year.

It was a odd, but representative, group of Americans who settled in Porter’s home on the Bosphorus. Porter himself knew the Mediterranean well, having fought in the Barbary Wars, but the treaty that led to his appointment as chargé d’affaires was negotiated by three other Americans of whom Charles Rhind, another of Porter’s house guests in 1831, had been the principle and who had sought the appointment for himself. Porter, however, had fought with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, and Jackson, now the President, made the appointment. On his own, while negotiating the treaty, Rhind had added a “secret article” that would have allowed the Ottoman government to build ships in the United States. The Senate rejected the “secret article,” however, which opened the door for Eckford to offer his personal services to the Sultan. Thus Porter’s home was the center of a curious alliance of American diplomatic, mercantile, and missionary interests at the very beginning of American presence in the city. What distinguished them was a shared belief in those values and culture indicated at the beginning of this lecture.

Three members of this coterie recorded in detail their impressions of Constantinople: De Kay in Sketches of Turkey in 1831 and 1832 (1833), Porter in Constantinople and Its Environs (1835), and Goodell initially in dispatches to his employer, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, and later in his memoir, Forty Years in the Turkish Empire (1875). All three spoke quite openly about their impressions, negative as well as positive.

Considering the strong religious affiliations that the Americans shared and the degree to which Islam had traditionally been demonized in the West, one might have expected that negative impressions would dominate. Certainly these individuals had strong reservations, but they also were deeply alienated from the Greek and Armenian communities, which they thought to be no more than “nominally” Christian, contaminated, according to the Protestant view, by centuries of false doctrines and corrupt leadership.

Critical of these communities which they considered to be at best “nominally” Christian, these newly arrived Americans found themselves admiring the realities of Turkish life. “Every person who has been in Turkey,” wrote De Kay, “and is not afraid of speaking out his real sentiments, instead of timidly acquiescing in the loose reports of ignorant or prejudiced travelers who have preceded him, will agree with us when we state that women in Turkey actually enjoy more liberty than in the other countries of Europe or in America.” He found Turks more likely to be honest in business than others in the Levant. He once forgot a bag with valued possessions and was told that if it were found a Turk, it might well be returned, though not if found by another. It was in fact found by a Turk and returned. The Turks were also exceedingly hospitable, and there was much more to praise. In De Kay’s opinion, a new age had recently begun with the establishment of a Turkish newspaper:

...............It will enable the government by means of a generally known language to give their own views on public affairs, to explain their ...............motives, and to defend such acts as are susceptible of misrepresentation. Hitherto the relations of the Turks to the other ...............nations of Europe remind one of the fable of the painter and the lion. All the painting has been on one side, and the character of ...............the Turk and the acts of his government have been uniformly painted in dark and gloomy colors. Now the case is altered, and ...............[…] [he] can make his voice heard to the remotest corners of Europe; he can expose the injustice and violence and counteract ...............the falsehoods of his opponents; he can expose their duplicity and tear aside the flimsy veil of humanity with which they may ...............attempt to conceal their atrocities towards him. In a word, the Turk is now in a situation to assist in forming public opinion, and ...............he will no longer submit in silence to the continual attempts made to impugn his motives or to traduce his character.

Meanwhile, Porter felt that “there is more toleration in religion [in the Empire] than anywhere else; more even than the United States.” All sects were equally beneath the dignity of the Turk, he thought, with the happy consequence that one could believe as one pleased without serious repercussions. Sultan Mahmud, he felt, “is in the daily progress of adapting [his] government and […] institutions in some degree to the progress of intelligence in the rest of the civilized world.” His success would set him beside “Peter the Great, King Alfred, and the most illustrious benefactors and reformers of every age and country.” Goodell, whose religious convictions might have blinded him to any but the most negative Western notions about Turks, wrote in 1832 that

...............As a nation, they are temperate and very frugal […]. They are hospitable but ceremonious, very easy and dignified in their ...............manners […], extremely kind to their domestics and especially to their slaves, exercising unbounded benevolence towards the ...............whole canine race and not unfrequently a moderate degree towards some of their fellow men, but furious in anger and in ...............executing vengeance on their enemies, terrible […].
............... [A]fter all, there is something in the Turkish character which I always admire […]. Their gardens are retired and romantic, their ...............dwellings are distinguished for simplicity and quietness, and the stork loves to come and build his nest on their chimneys. Their ...............children have fine healthy countenances and are in general neatly dressed and well behaved, the girls being modest and retiring ...............and the boys manly but not rude. It is very rare to see them boxing or hooting in the streets. Indeed, I do not recollect to have ...............ever seen an instance of the kind. A stranger to our athletic and boisterous sports, to our more effeminate exercise of dancing, ...............or to the bustle and conviviality of our social circles, the Turk reclines on his soft cushions with all composure, partakes of his ...............pilaf and his, in general, vegetable fare with few words and little ceremony, smokes in silence the mild tobacco of Syria or the ...............still milder tömbecky of Persia, regales himself at short intervals by sipping the superior coffee of Moka, troubles himself little ...............with politics and, if possible, still less about the weather, is easily reconciled by the doctrine of fate to all the calamities that may ...............befall his neighbors or his country, knows nothing of hypochondria, and, if he wishes any excitement, the Jews and Greeks will ...............do anything for money to amuse him or he has only to take a few grains of opium, and he is at once in an ecstasy.

At times Eckford, Porter, and Goodell did make negative assessments, yet their direct experience with what to them was a profoundly different culture wore down prejudices and forced them to see that things were not what they had been led to expect.

Meanwhile, Americans established schools and colleges while providing models of Yankee ingenuity, common sense, and ambition. Over the decades a heterogeneous assortment of Americans made their way to Constantinople. Pliny Earle, investigating European asylums for the insane, arrived in 1838 and reported in A Visit to Thirteen Asylums for the Insane in Europe (1840) that in the asylum attached to the Süleymaniye mosque complex, patients were kept in chains in unheated rooms. Whether his criticisms contributed to reform is unknown, but when Dorothea Dix, remembered for her work reforming American asylums, traveled to Constantinople seventeen years later to pursue her work, she found that the chains had disappeared.

Warren Hidden of New York arrived in Constantinople in 1832 as a member of Eckford’s team of shipbuilders. For fifty-five years, he held various positions for the Ottoman government. Initially he worked as a shipbuilder and then invented a gun that could be fired rapidly several times, much like the later machine gun. It was rejected by one of the Sultan’s chamberlains, however, on the grounds that an infidel could not be trusted in such matters, to which Hidden replied, “If the chamberlain wishes to see an infidel, let him look into the mirror." In the future, the Ottoman government readily adopted Hidden’s inventions. In 1840, he was employed at the Ottoman Mint, where he created a press for printing paper money and a machine for stamping coins. Appointed as the chief machinist for the mint, he remained in that position until shortly before his death in 1888.

Another American who came to Constantinople as part of Eckford’s shipbuilding enterprise was John Reeves, Foster Rhodes’ brother-in-law. Reeves became the Chief Constructor for the Ottoman Navy and was responsible for creating steamships, the first of which was commissioned in 1838. He did, however, have difficulty collecting his pay from the Ottoman government, in part, he alleged, because of American diplomats. Meanwhile, unable to pay the rent on his house, he was briefly jailed. Since the American diplomats had not acted as Reeves thought they should, the American government, he later claimed, should give him the money that he was owed.

In the 1840s, Sultan Abdülmecid, at the recommendation of President James Buchanan, hired Dr. James Bolton Davis, a planter from South Carolina, to create an American-style cotton plantation and agricultural school a few miles south of Constantinople. Davis brought emancipated men to work the plantation, to which he added people from the Armenian, Bulgaria, and Turkish communities. Davis faced many obstacles, including workers who would not work. The area in which the farm was located was rich in mosquitoes. Whether it was malaria that Davis contracted is unknown, but his health failed, and he returned home in three years. The farm and school, however, continued until it was closed during the Crimean War. John P. Brown, an American attaché, wrote in “Culture of Cotton in Turkey,” in 1852, “The Model School established by the Sultan within a few miles of the capital, not being located in a propitious soil nor favored by climate, does not teach the culture of cotton except theoretically. All the advantages, therefore, derived from it thus far are due to the labors of Dr. Davis and to the seed procured by him for the Sultan from South Carolina.”

Abdülmecid hired the noted American chemist J. Lawrence Smith as part of the same project but then retained him to search out mineral deposits that might have economic value, one of which, an emery mine on Naxos, did much in fact to enrich the Empire. Smith also identified minerals that had not been recorded earlier, one of which he named “medijite” for the Sultan. Smith brought with him a telegraph, which he demonstrated to the Sultan. Duly impressed, the Sultan sent the telegraph’s inventor, Samuel F. B. Morse, a document honoring him as “The most learned of the Disciples of Jesus.”

Another inventor useful to the Empire was Cyrus Hamlin, the missionary who became the founder of Robert College, modern Bogazici University. During the Crimean War, he constructed equipment to wash uniforms, no small achievement as the stench from soldiers on ships passing down the Bosphorus from battle overwhelmed those walking along the shore. At the boys’ school he founded in Bebek, particular attention was given to preparing the students for practical and useful work in the Empire.

Americans were surely oddities in the Ottoman world, not least because of their insistence that all men – from the Sultan down to the hamal – were created equal. For example, John Lloyd Stephens, famous later for his Mayan researches, visited Constantinople in the mid-1830s, reporting home that, in typical Yankee fashion, Foster Rhodes, the American shipbuilder who had been hired by the sultan to reconstitute the Ottoman navy after the disaster of Navarino, replaced Eckford, “knows and cares but little for things that do not immediately concern him. His whole thoughts are of his business […].” Visited by the American dilettante and author Henry Wikoff and the actor Edwin Forrest, Rhodes remarked that “if there is anything I really love, it is putting a ship together.”

...............“It is certain,” I [Wikoff] replied, “the Sultan has got a prize in you, for Commodore Porter says that as a naval constructor, you have no superior anywhere.”

...............“‘I am flattered by the Commodore’s commendation, for he under-stands a ship as well as I do.”

...............“Tell me,” I asked, “how you get on with the Sultan. I hear he spends a good deal of his time in your work-yards. Does he interfere with you much?”

...............“I don’t allow him,” said the blunt shipbuilder. “I carry out my own ideas. If he makes a good suggestion, I adopt it; if it is a bad one, I reject it.” “Does he growl at you?” I inquired; “for they say there’s a deal of the tiger in him.”

...............“I think,” said Mr. Rhodes, smiling, “I astonish him sometimes. At others he is amused. At all events, he likes my work, and that is the main point.”

Rhodes was not alone in refusing to submit to Ottoman protocol. William F. Lynch, whose Narrative of the United States’ Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea (1849) was the result of the need felt among American Protestants to map the Holy Land, was told that for an audience with the Sultan he could not wear his sword. Lynch was firm: “no sword, no audience.” This was a rather daring thing to say, for had the sultan so desired, the Americans could have been sent home without having accomplished what they had been sent to do. As it happened, however, the rules were relaxed, and, wearing his sword, Lynch met the Sultan.

Later in the century when Lew Wallace, Civil War general, author of Ben Hur, and the newly appointed American Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Sublime Porte, was presented to Sultan Abdülhamid, he told his dragoman or translator, “And now, say to his imperial majesty that as representative of the American people I desire to take his majesty’s hand.” That went against all custom, and the translator balked. “Say it,” Wallace ordered. “For a second the Sultan appeared equally perplexed. Then suddenly, with the faintest glimmer of a smile on his pallid face, he stepped forward, and the two hands met.”

After steamships shortened the transatlantic voyage, the number of American visitors to the Ottoman capital increased. Descriptions of the city proliferated, many by visitors whose two or three days viewing the monuments left them with little to say that had not been said before. Unlike the Americans that gathered around Porter and the missionaries, many later arrivals such as the journalists J. Ross Browne and Richard Harding Davis had little direct contact with Ottoman culture yet did not hesitate to issue broad criticisms, behind which one senses notions of superiority that fed American imperialist ventures.

Not every commentator took the high road, however, and many are worth reading for their sharp and positive insights into the Ottoman world. Samuel Sullivan Cox, the chief American diplomat from 1885 to 1886, was responsible for A Buckeye Abroad; or, Wanderings in Europe, and in the Orient (1852) and Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey (1893), still useful to the scholar. E[dward] Joy Morris, Cox’s predecessor from 1858-1870, was the author of Notes of a Tour Through Turkey (1842). Bayard Taylor, one of the most widely read authors of his day, devoted a large section of one of his popular travel books, The Lands of the Saracen (1863), to Constantinople.

Many of the well considered and detailed accounts during the latter half of the century were written, as one might expect, by missionaries, including, among others, Goodell (The Old and the New; Or, The Changes of Thirty Years in the East, 1853; Forty Years in the Turkish Empire, 1875), H.G.O. Dwight (A Memoir of Elizabeth B. Dwight, 1840; Christianity Revived in the East, 1850), his son Henry O. Dwight (Turkish Life in War Time, 1881, Constantinople And Its Problems, 1901), Maria A. West (The Romance of Missions, 1875), and Cyrus Hamlin (Among the Turks, 1878; My Life and Times, 1893). Missionaries were among the foremost American intellectuals of the day, well trained as linguists, scientists, theologians, and historians, and their accounts, despite certain religious biases, are among the most perceptive.

However much Americans might pine for what they had left behind and however much their religious persuasions might influence their observations, they were overwhelmingly enchanted and impressed by what they found. As an example, consider this passage from the account of a former minister to the Empire, Samuel S. Cox’s Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey:

...............The Turks have no very marked vices; no catalogue can be made of them. The worst they do is hidden from the other people ...............who reside among them. The Koran forbids them to play cards for money, and they observe the Koran. It commands them not ...............to quarrel and fight, and they are scarcely ever arrested like the burly Englishman for contesting with fist or foot in the street. ...............They never blaspheme. There are few cases of murder among them. They are too honest to be thieves. They do not regard .............. poverty as a reproach, much less as a crime.

...............It is the custom of those who pretend to be the censors of morals to speak of the lack of progressive sagacity of the Ottomans. ...............They are called barbaric and every dastardly act or crime committed by the Christians of the Orient — I mean the Greeks, the ...............Italians, the foreigners who reside in the Turkish dominion — is attributed to the Turk. But I assert that those nations who ...............imagine themselves to be very high in the scale of advancement have much of democratic-republican liberty to learn from a ...............nation which gives every one a fair field of enterprise and opens to the humblest bootblack the office of the Grand Vizier. ...............Moreover, when it is said that the courts of administration tend to cruel oppression, especially upon the peasantry, it will be ...............found that in the main this is not true, and where cases of wrong do occur, they can generally be traced directly to the
............... ill-conduct of the governors, who are often of another race than the Turkish.

Not all Americans were always this enthusiastic, of course. And the problems they encountered were severe: massive fires that wiped out great stretches of the city, epidemics of cholera and the plague, streets that were ankle deep in mud after a heavy rain. The criticisms became strident and fierce as one catastrophe after another marked the coming of World War I and the collapse of the Empire. The political map of the world was being reshaped, and as that happened, American relations with countries abroad were also transformed. As the Empire shattered from within, Americans tended to side with the "nominal Christians." Diplomatic relations between the United States and Turkey were severed in 1917 and not reestablished until 1927. A new relationship between Turks and Americans would take many years to form, and when it did, it would be one in which the world known to Goodell, Porter, and De Kay would seem as strange and peculiar as did Constantinople when the mosques and palaces first presented themselves to Goodell "in all their majesty and loveliness." Nonetheless, decades of good will and an American appreciation of Turkish culture must have played their part in the eventual rapprochement.

. - .

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