2007 Volume 23 Issue 1 Pages 213-251
This paper presents the first draft of the Armenian millet constitution. The Armenians in the Ottoman Empire began to reform their community administration in 1840s. In 1863, the Ottoman government approved their regulations that were mentioned to as the "constitution" and concerning community administration. Although the Armenians prepared the first draft of the constitution as early as 1857, no one has found its original text so far. In this paper, first I explained the drafting process and the outline of the newly found draft, then considered the reasons for the government's rejection, finally presented the transcription of the draft. The Armenian community began to draft the constitution in 1855. After its acceptance by the millet assembly, the draft was presented to the Ottoman government asking its approval in 1857. The draft already had a systematic structure, however, the Ottoman government did not approve it. By using the documents and comparing the 1857 draft with the approved version, four reasons could be clarified; the order of priority among the non-Muslim communities, the insufficiency in the provisions on the patriarchs, the transgression of the ecclesiastical rights by the civil council, and the reference to the people and places outside the Ottoman territory.