The goal of the research is to understand the difference between Egypt as a kingdom in the period of Mohammed Ali and Ismail Pasha and Egypt as a republic in the period of Jamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat. It also examines the political, economic, and military reforms and transformations in the country. Moreover, the analysis describes the government’s actions that played an important role in the history of Egypt and even the whole Middle East. The results of the research show that without the unity of society and the centralization of power, reforms can never be implemented or achieved. The development of the economic and political systems is the main way of increasing the power of the country. The education reforms in the period of Mohammed Ali and Ismail Pasha provided the basis for the sustainable political, and economic development, and renovation of the military sector. As a result of the research, one can conclude that personal dictatorship and external expansion always hamper the positive image of the system of governance.

Egypt as a Kingdom and Republic

Egypt was one of the first countries with rapid political, economic, and military development in the Arab world. Now, it is the major Arab state as well as a well-known ancient civilization, and it plays a key role in Middle Eastern politics in present times. During the governance of Muhammad Ali, Egypt reached unprecedented power and real progress in world policy. According to Russ (2014, p. 42), “1805 Muhammad Ali assumes control of Egypt” which led to the development and transformation of the country. Moreover, it was the golden age of Egypt since the influence and prosperity of the kingdom constantly improved the achievements of the previous rulers. In addition, such a success was largely attributable to the development of the Egyptian army which was one of the robust military forces of the ancient state. In the 20th century, the president of Egypt Gamal Abdul Nasser changed the system of government in Egypt from a monarchy to a republic and became the real leader of the Egyptian revolution. Furthermore, his successor Anwar Sadat made a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt and returned an open policy with the West. Egypt as a kingdom in the period of Mohammed Ali and Ismail Pasha had a strong influence on the development of the state than Egypt as a republic in the period of Jamal Abdul Nasser and Anwar Sadat.

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The Era of Muhammad Ali

In the 19th century, the Ottoman ruler of Egypt, Muhammad Ali, destroyed the traditional military structure and killed the leader of the Mamluks who had the authority in the Ottoman province of Egypt for many years. According to Shoup (2017, p. 172), the Egyptian ruler effectively finished with the Mamluks by killing many of them, and "his control of Egypt was recognized by the Ottoman Sultan." The era of Mohammed Ali, which lasted until 1849, was one of the most important periods in the history of the Arab Kingdom of Egypt. According to Shoup (2017), the development of modern Egypt began with the rise of Muhammad Ali in the history of the country. Moreover, he was a bright political figure of the 19th century as well as was revered by the Egyptians as the founder of modern Egypt. With the help of European military experts and technicians, Ali reorganized the Egyptian army according to the European model, defeated the army of Mamluks, and nationalized most of their lands. Furthermore, following the example of the French and British armies, Muhammad Ali introduced the military sector by building a modern trained, and equipped army. To finish defense by using foreign military equipment, he established the policy of industrialization for Egypt to produce its equipment. The Egyptian ruler conscripted the local peasants to serve in the army and established Western-style schools for the military training of physicians, engineers, and soldiers. Finally, Muhammad Ali built the barrage dam to the north of Cairo and developed a modern naval fleet.

Muhammed Ali succeeded in political reforms by reorganizing the administrative structure of the government and adopting the first constitution. According to Masry (2012), the constitutional experience of the country started under the rule of Muhammed Ali Pasha, and "Egypt had its first constitution laid out in a document called the Siyasitname”. Furthermore, the reforms of Muhammad Ali and his successors contributed to significant structural changes in education. According to Peterson (2011, p. 112), the modern educational system of Egypt was based on "western institutions initiated by Muhammad Ali and Ismail Pasha” as well as established educational institutions and the core of secular public intellectuals. Reform programs that depended on the status and power of the kingdom were aimed at creating a modern Egyptian society historically dominated by the educational field.

To achieve the purpose of establishing a stronger economic system in Egypt, Muhammad Ali provided large-scale economic reforms. Pan (2013, p. 25) stated that the main idea of reforms was "to take a series of measures to promote economic revitalization in Egypt.” Another significant discovery left by Muhammad Ali’s policy was that economic reforms and the development of productive resources became the foundation of the revival of the country. According to Perlmutter (2014, p.75-76), Muhammad Ali saw a great perspective to achieve the high development of the economic system of the empire by gathering into his hands all the productive resources of Egypt and his incredible effort of the country's development. Through the reorganization of the administrative structure of the kingdom, the Egyptian ruler guaranteed tight control of the economy and the state monopoly over trade.

The Era of Ismail Pasha

Ismail Pasha came to power in the 19th century as the first official khedive or king of Egypt after the presentation of generous gifts to the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. According to Scham, (2013, p. 313), Ismail Pasha began to run Egypt in 1863 "as the first officially sanctioned khedive of Egypt and Sudan (a viceroy of the Ottoman Empire).” When the grandson of Muhammad Ali Ismail Pasha became the king of Egypt, he started his unpractical policy of development aimed at Western culture. “In 1863 Ismail Pasha, a grandson of Mohammed Ali the Great, succeeded his uncle Said Pasha as khedive of Egypt, and at once embarked upon a wildly ambitious and unpractical program of expansion and development” (Paul, 2012, p.103). He led a weak military policy in comparison with his predecessors, but he strived to improve the economic and cultural systems of the country. According to Scham (2013, p. 313), the reign of Ismail Pasha set the base for a real cultural invasion of the Egyptian kingdom from the West. Moreover, he dreamed to make Egypt part of Europe through the integration of the European experience into the economic system of Egypt and diplomatic missions in the West.

During the governance of Ismail Pasha, Western culture became translated into effective policies through his ambitious programs in Egyptian public life. He developed the infrastructure of the cities, including the building of docks, harbors, railways, telegraph lines, and new irrigation canals. Furthermore, continuing the policy of his grandfather regarding the system of education, Ismail Pasha sent young Egyptians to study in European higher education institutions and contributed to the creation of the educated middle class in the country. His major achievement was the building of the Suez Canal, which became the occasion to finish the slave trade in the country. Turner (2017, p.1516) claimed that Ismail Pasha enlisted the support of the European leaders to make efficient use of the Suez Canal in exchange for the end of the slave trade. Ismail Pasha accepted his grandfather's obligations to build the Suez Canal and invested substantial funds in this project.

The Era of Gamal Abdel Nasser

In the 20th century, the Arab state remained under British control; however, an army officer named Gamal Abdel Nasser wanted to stop British influence and developed a stronger government. According to Zonis, Lefkovitz, Wilkin, and Yackley (2011, p. 34), Gamal Abdul Nasser and a group of military officers toppled "a British-allied monarch and seized power in Egypt in 1952," and they completely strived to transform the political system in Egypt. Moreover, Gamal Abdel Nasser changed the constitutional regime in Egypt from a monarchy to a republic through revolutionary actions. According to Martin (2011), Gamal Abdel Nasser who served as president of Egypt from 1956 to 1970 helped lead the revolution in 1952, which destroyed the Egyptian monarchy. Egypt became a republic after the revolution and Britain's rejection of absolute control.

Gamal Abdul Nasser began a series of major political events and reforms that modernized the country. Moreover, he transformed the political system, disbanded all political parties, and created a military dictatorship. During Nasser's regime, the government used economic policy to develop the nation and country, but his projects were too costly. Furthermore, the government took control of the bank system and businesses as well as became the largest employer in Egypt. Moreover, Nasser developed public education on the college level financed by the state. In addition, Gamal Abdel Nasser stayed in the eyes of many Egyptians as a heroic figure and strong personality in their struggle against the external enemy, his steps in favor of social equality, unity of Arab countries, and the policy of transformation.

The Egyptian leader appointed himself prime minister and began a struggle with Israel for the return of lost territories through the development of several political reforms. He decreased the influence of politics on the armed forces. According to Sharnoff (2017, p. 86), Gamal Abdul Nasser appealed to all Arab areas occupied by Israel to be returned to Egypt, Syria, and Jordan and called these presses "the final victory" against Israel. Moreover, Nasser wanted to destroy Israel, improve the military system in Egypt, and support socialist revolutions in neighboring countries. Moreover, the leader wanted to unite all Arabs at the head of Egypt and become their leader; however, he was criticized by society for the authoritarianism of his government, human rights violations, populism in dealing with Egyptians, and the inability to manage correctly the state institutions. Furthermore, society accused him of the establishment of a dictatorship in Egypt, which persisted to the present day.

The Era of Anwar Sadat

The successor of Gamal Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat, refused government control of the economy and provided liberal economic reforms. Moreover, he developed closer political and economic relations with the West, especially with the USA, which Nasser's government strived to restrict. According to Testa (2014, p. 132), Nasser and the group of military officers wanted to increase their struggles against the British-allied monarch, which could lead the country to conditions of dependency. Moreover, the president of Egypt from 1970-1981, Anwar Sadat changed Nasser's policies to a large extent through the implementation of different reform initiatives. According to Al-Sharman (2017, p.16), the political regime of A several" was characterized by several f reform initiatives," which have hconsequencesssant and contradictory consequence. Additionally, Anwar Sadat conducted the policy of opening doorstowards the West and concluded the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.

The economic policy of Anwar Sadat that combined Egyptian capital with Western technology and rich Egyptian resources was aimed at the development and progress of the Arab republic. The implementation of this policy made a large gap between consumption and production. Furthermore, the imbalance between these indicators should have been financed through borrowing, which led the country into debt. To pay this debt, Anwar Sadat's government became to print more money, which led to Egypt being in a condition of economic crisis. Moreover, Anwar Sadat's government began to eliminate the large state economy of Nasser and develop an open policy for the country. Thus, he aimed to stimulate foreign investment and private business that raised the middle class and improved economic conditions.

Anwar Sadat succeeded in military reforms by establishing peaceful relations with Israel. After the long history of Egypt's fighting with Israel, Sadat became the first Arab leader who made peace and recognized the State of Israel and its right to exist. Seddon (2013, p. 446) stated that Anwar Sadat had the opportunity to identify himself "as Egypt’s ‘strongman’ and a leader of the Arab World” who changed the military policy of the country. Eventually, the Egyptian leader signed a peace treaty with Israel and put an end to costly wars. In his external policy toward the West, the East, and other Arab countries, Sadat showed flexibility and innovation, which were unfamiliar to the Arab world.

Difference between Egypt as a Kingdom and as Republic

During the governance of kings Muhammad Ali and Ismail Pasha, a kingdom became the basic political structure in the formation of the independent Egyptian national state. The leader of the kingdom strived to monopolize power and made the country virtually autonomous from the Ottoman Empire. Egypt kings' political and economic reforms hardly differed from the reforms of republic state formation. However, in comparison with the political system of Egypt when it was a kingdom, Egypt as a republic achieved more independence from external political interference. The strong leader and Egyptian revolutionist Gamal Abdel Nasser toppled British power in Egypt and transformed the government system of Egypt from a monarchy to a republic. Furthermore, the Egypt leader during the period of the Republican political system made several major political reforms, but his projects were too expensive and less effective. Furthermore, the rulers of republican Egypt through the external debt led the country into a condition of an economic crisis. In opposition the o republican government, the government of kings made significant changes in economic, political, and military systems. Muhammad Ali and Ismail Pasha began the conscious programs of the transformation of the country by European standards. Furthermore, the kings started to implement a long-term reform project under which they sent several research commissions to Europe. Apart from that, they ordered the translation of Western literature on the economy, law, and military skills into Arabic.

The Egyptian leaders of the kingdom selectively borrowed the European models of military reform in the state system. However, these reforms to a large part were perceived by the society of a kingdom as rather acts of reprisal and were not supported by all parts of society. Egypt as a kingdom had a military system that forever changed the character of the state and dominated all aspects of Egyptian life by forcing peasants to serve the king’s interests. In opposition to the governance of kings Muhammad Ali and Ismail Pasha, the republican government restructured the political system of the country and created a military dictatorship. Moreover, the Egypt leader Gamal Abdel Nasser in the period of republic formation was criticized by Egyptians for the authoritarianism of his government, the infringement of human rights, ignorance of the interests of the society, and poor management of public affairs. Additionally, the leaders of the Egypt republic were accused by the society of setting a dictatorship in the state, which persisted until now. Republican Egypt experienced different autocratic governors who subsequently used a military dictatorship and domination in running the country. In comparison with the system of governance in a kingdom, the republic leaders of Egypt began the external expansion and struggle with the neighboring country for the return of lost territories. Furthermore, the republican leaders that supported the socialist revolutions in the Arabic world wanted to improve the military system in Egypt. However, the main difference in the political system of Egypt as a kingdom was the close relationship with the West and Arab countries, which had experienced military reforms. However, the republican leaders wanted to increase their fighting against the Western countries, which could lead Egypt to conditions of dependency.


In the period of governance of the kings Mohammed Ali and Ismail Pasha, Egypt had a strong political and economic development in comparison with the ruling of republic leaders. During the rule of king Muhammad Ali, Egypt reached enormous power in the Arab world. Furthermore, the Egyptian leader transformed the status of Egypt from a simple province of the Ottoman Empire to a strong kingdom where his successors could rule for many years. As a result, Muhammad Ali and Ismail Pasha made significant changes in the military system and began the important reforms of the transformation of the state by European military standards. In opposition to these rulers, the army officer Gamal Abdel Nasser deposed a foreign power and established a republic political system in Egypt. However, this new system which was characterized by a military dictatorship and authoritarianism was criticized in Egypt society. Moreover, in comparison with the system of governance in a kingdom, Egypt as a republic achieved greater independence from the West. Gamal Abdel Nasser during the period republican political system did a set of major political and economic reforms that were too costly and less successful as well as led the country to an economic crisis. Finally, the primary difference in the political systems of Egypt was the development of various relationships with the external world. The leaders of the kingdom developed a close relationship with the Western and Arab countries. However, the republican leaders wanted to decrease their relations with the Western countries, which could result in dependency.

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