Figure 6. Siam in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.
Ruins of Khmer city of Phimai (thirteenth century) in
Courtesy Tourism Authority of Thailand
Early in his reign, King Prajadhipok (Rama VII, 1925-35) showed a tendency to share responsibility for political decision making with his ministers. He also appointed an advisory council to study the possibility of providing the country with a constitution, but its royalist members advised against such a measure. The civil bureaucracy, by contrast, considered the time ripe for such a move. Siam faced severe economic problems because of the world depression, which had caused a sharp drop in the price of rice. Discontent among the political elite grew in reaction to retrenchment in government spending, which necessitated severe cutbacks in the numbers of civil servants and military personnel, the demotion in rank of others, and the cancellation of government programs.