Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The provincial administration of Siam from 1892 to 1915 : a study of the creation, the growth, the achievements, and the implications for modern Siam, of the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rachanuphap
Author: Tej Bunnag
ISNI:       0000 0000 8280 3552
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1969
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Kingdom of Siam's territorial integrity and independence were threatened by the great imperial Powers of France and Great Britain. In the course of the century and in the first decade of the twentieth century, Siam conceded extraterritorial rights, gave fiscal concessions, lost some of her territories to the two Great Powers, but maintained her independence. She owed her survival as an independent nation, on the one hand, to her distant position, from the major trade routes of the period and to the rivalry between France and Great Britain, and, on the other hand, to her accommodating diplomacy and to the modernization of her government and administration. This Thesis examines one aspect of Siam's modernization of her government and administration namely the creation, the growth, and the achievements of the Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rachanuphap between 1392 and 1915. The subject of the modernization of the Ministry of the Interior was chosen because it makes a contribution to the knowledge of the history of Siam. It is concerned with Siam's internal politics in both its metropolitan and provincial settings. It also deals with much of Siam's external politics in the nineteenth century and in the first decade of the twentieth century. The main body of the Thesis is a detailed examination of Siam's traditional provincial administration, its gradual reform in the 1870s and 1880s, the creation of the centralized system of provincial administration known as the Thesaphiban system of provincial administration between 1892 and 1899, and its implementation and development between 1899 and 1915. This Thesis is occupied not only with the provincial but also with other branches of the administration. The Ministry of the Interior had during this period subsidiary departments, namely the Forestry, Mines, Provincial Gendarmerie, Provincial Revenue, Health, and Provincial Criminal Investigation Departments. It also helped to extend the work of the Ministries of Education, Defence, and Agriculture into the provinces. The subject of the modernization of the Ministry of the Interior was also chosen because it bears some relation to problems of more general historical interest. The survival of Siam as an independent nation thanks partly to the reform of her government and administration is related to the question of the modernization and westernization of non-European countries in the nineteenth and twentieth century. The Thesis attempts to analyse the internal and external forces which caused Siam to reform her government and administration. At the same time, it tries to detect the traditional western elements in the various schemes of modernization. In this way, the Thesis might ultimately be of some use to comparative studies of modernization and westernization between non-European nations such as between Siam and Japan. The treatment is original inasmuch as it is the first time that archival sources have been used in the study of this subject. Hitherto, the best studies or the subject such as Detchard Vongkomolshet's 'The Administrative, Judicial, and Financial Reforms of King Chulalongkorn 1868-1910' (Cornell Univ. M.A. thesis 1958) and Chakkrit Moranitiphadungkan's Somdet Phrachao Borommawongthoe Krom Phraya Damrong Rachanuphap kap Krasuang Mahatthai, Prince Damrong Rachanuphap and the Ministry of the Interior (Bangkok, 1963) have used only published sources such as printed documents, official journals, and memoirs. These works are also limited 'by a legalistic approach which concentrates on the declaration of intentions rather than on an investigation of the implementation of the edicts and regulations in the field. The Thesis tries to show that there was a great deal of discrepancy between the government's ideals and their practical fulfilment. This disparity existed both before and after the reform of the government and the administration in the 1880s and 1890s. On the one hand, it seems, for instance, that traditional Siamese government and administration worked quite differently in theory and in practice in both their metropolitan and provincial settings. On the other hand, it appears that, as far as the Ministry of the Interior was concerned, the promulgation of reforms in the 1880s and 1890s did not entail their immediate fulfilment. The Ministry faced active opposition and passive resistance to the modernisation of the provincial administration. The government's lacK of money also meant that it suffered from a scarcity of professional civil servants which in turn resulted in a iacK of leadership and efficiency in the implementation of reforms in every sphere and at every level of the provincial administration. The Thesis ends by asking the reader to treat the Siamese government and administration according to their contemporary terms. The traditional government and administration, although they worked quite differently in theory and in practice, were not only capable of managing internal politics but also of executing ambitious external policies. The Ministry or the Interior, in spite of the disparity between the declaration of intentions and the implementation of reforms, did manage to overcome active and passive opposition and to lay the foundation for a centralized system of provincial administration. Although its success did perhaps imply that Siamese administration became somewhat over-centralized and over-bureaucratized, the Ministry did try to forestall and to remove these drawbacks by laying at the same time the foundation for self-government at the village and municipal levels. Finally, the Thesis pays tribute to Prince Damrong Rachanuphap who helped to create, to lead, and to inspire the Siamese Ministry of the Interior froiu 1892 to 1915.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Local government ; History ; Thailand