The foremost importance of the period is that it constitutes the primary segment of the road from coexistence to disintegration. What makes the period significant within this particular timeframe is the increasing spread of nationalist movements as a result of the French Revolution of 1789, troubles experienced in the Ottoman administrative system, concluding of treaties that almost rendered Russia the protector of the Christians on Ottoman lands and the fact that we can for the first time concretely mention Armenian movements of independence.
Among the numerous actors of this period, Western states can be mentioned alongside the Ottomans and the Armenians. Rising nationalism, imperialism, the missionaries, who had emerged during the previous period and were continuing their activities in this period as well, are other significant actors. In addition, the Industrial Revolution and its consequences, the disruption and weakness in the Ottoman administrative, fiscal and economical system and land losses have also taken on significant roles during the period.
When we look at the debates of the period of 1774-1878, we come across many headings. Some of those headings are the Treaty of Küçük Kaynarca, concluded with Russia; the Treaties of Turkmenchay and Gulistan, concluded between Iran and Russia and the advantages provided to Russia with these treaties, Russian influence on the Armenians, the formation of Armenian vilayets – provinces, the nature of the Armenian existence in Eastern Anatolia, small-scale and secret Armenian organizations. In addition to these points, the fact that England and France – important actors of imperialism other than Russia – took to the stage, and the American missionary activities are among other important topics of the period.
The Ottoman efforts of finding a remedy for the political weakness which it was in, the efforts of centralization occurring in this vein, millet nizamnameleri – regulations for individual millets – and reform efforts such as the Edicts of Tanzimat and Islahat and the Kanun-i Esasî – Ottoman Constitution of 1876 – are other topics of debate which attract attention. Additionally, the period of crisis between 1875-1877 and the movement of independence and uprisings during the time, the land losses that were suffered and the problem of migration and settlement arising from these losses need to be mentioned as well.