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Achievement Of The Goals Set Down In The Charter Oath Of 1868 By 1895

905 words - 4 pages

Achievement of the Goals Set Down in the Charter Oath of 1868 by 1895

Soon after the Restoration, the Meiji leaders drafted an Oath for the
Emperor to take. The Charter Oath gave a general guideline for the new
government and its future policy. It was proclaimed on 6 April 1868.
The Emperor declared that his country was to establish assemblies and
all policies to be based upon wide consultation, to allow people to
choose their occupation without class restriction, to abolish the
uncivilized customs, to learn useful and practical knowledge and the
national interest would override all other interests. After examining
the result of certain reform items, the goals set down in the Charter
Oath were to a large extent achieved by 1895.

The Charter Oath promised an elected assembly to discuss and to decide
state affairs. It was achieved by the creation of a constitutional
government in 1889. The Meiji granted the Japanese people certain
rights never before known in the days of the Shogun: freedom of
speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from arbitrary arrest. The
Constitution provided for a bicameral assembly consisting of two
chambers - the Upper House of Peers and the Lower House was
conducted. A representative government came into being in Japan, for
the government was headed by the Cabinet and the Lower House was given
the power to approve laws and government budget. The Japanese were
represented in government eventually, though to what extent could they
affect the government policies was not known. Nonetheless, the
Constitution did open the way to some popular participation in the
government. To establish a central government, the new government had
to offer pensions to daimyo and induced them to retire. It encouraged
the villages, districts and towns to form consultative assemblies to
transmit government policies more effectively to the people. This was
consistent with the first article of the Charter Oath.

In order to create a modern state and to free labor for a modern
economy, the old class divisions of samurai, peasants, craftsmen and
merchants were abolished in 1869. Individuals were free to take up
any occupation. However, the aim of this measure was to build up the
state and social improvements were only a by-product. In 1876, the
government went one step further and ordered the samurai to discard...

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