Southeast Asia is not an homogeneous region. That is why it can hardly been analysed as a whole and therefore must be divided into several groups. Concerning the issues related to the relations between the state and the peasantry, South East Asia countries belong mainly to two groups. According to Norman G Owen in The Emergence of Modern South East Asia, travelers could find "two main patterns of political and economic life" in the eighteenth century. I will discuss further this point of view in order to emphasize a key aspect of this topic: contrasts among the different countries of the area. The other key point to mention is the role played by the colonial power. Did colonialism impact on the structure of power and the relations between the state and the peasantry? Is it possible to stress differences according to the rulers - mainly France, Holland, Spain and Great Britain -?
[...] Therefore they guaranteed the status of local chiefs by clarifying the rules affecting hereditary and granted them much more power than they ever had. The Europeans made a deep error of judgment in believing that these local chiefs could impose their decision in contradiction to the tradition of compromise shared by these countries. An other reason why rebellions started to occur is due to religious struggles. The traditional beliefs found themselves often at odds with the religion promoted by the invader. [...]
[...] But the nationalist feelings grew up among the upper classes and finally spread over the whole society Although Europeans did not change the core of the political power, the idea of rebellions and later rebellions themselves started to arise amoung the population. Peasants, unanymously described as "submitted" to the political power by the observers of this time, grew wary of the European domination and ended up rebelling against it. In reality, the Europeans made a mistake that definitely turned peasants into rebels. They made local chiefs real "potentas". They became almighty and finally imposed their own decisions on the whole population. [...]
[...] Moreover, they were confronted to invasions and lootings on a regular basis. II) In the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, the European colonisation tended to reinforce the preexisting balance of power between peasantry and political power as long as their own domination ended up stronger The appearant strucure of power remained the same It is no accident that the Europeans firstly settled in the archipels previously ruled by weak sultans. Dutch and Spanish took over the actual Philippinos and Indonesia by putting pressure on the local governors. [...]
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