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

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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
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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 their swords; the carrying of swords had been a symbol of their status for hundreds of years. The outward distinction between samurai and commoners thus disappeared.

Judicial reforms were carried out to make past evils a crime. To achieve this, a French lawyer was employed to head a committee to draft a criminal code for Japan. After some amendments to bring them in line with the West, a modern legal procedure was introduced, including the ban on torture and other evil customs.

The Charter Oath stressed that knowledge should be sought throughout the world. The emphasis on education was thus obvious. One of the measures adopted by Japan was to send students to Europe and the United States to gain first-hand knowledge of the West and to acquire technical information. The government also employed
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