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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Aspects of Bureaucratization in Ashanti in the Nineteenth Century
Author:Wilks, Ivor
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Ghana
Ashanti polity
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:The 19th-century Ashanti bureaucracy owed its structure and character to Osei Kwadwo (1762-77), Osei Kwame (1777-ca. 1801) and Osei Bonsu (ca. 1801-1824). Hereditary offices became appointive. Leading officials were appointed and promoted by the king on merit, without regard to origin. In the course of the 19th century powerful groups grew up which, generation after generation, provided the king with trained officials. An administrative class emerged dependent upon the king for its very existence. Checks were instituted to prevent the bureaucracy transforming itself from a controlled to a ruling one. The effects of bureaucratization were not changes in quantity but in the quality of government. A distinction took shape: the king acting in his private capacity, and in his public capacity. The increasingly efficient Government extended over previously untouched fields. The growth of the bureaucratic process was reflected in the increasingly absolutist nature of the Ashanti state. Notes; figures.